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FRIDAY, OCT. 22, 2010

Premier urges rejection of Potash takeover

REGINA, Saskatchewan – Saskatchewan’s premier urged Canada’s federal government on Thursday to reject BHP Billiton’s bid for Potash Corp., saying it’s not in the strategic interest of Saskatchewan or Canada.

Australia’s BHP Billiton Ltd. launched a hostile $38.6 billion takeover bid in August for the world’s largest fertilizer company after Potash directors rejected its offer.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall formally rejected the bid in a speech that could prove fatal to what would have been the largest takeover in the world this year.

Canada’s federal government can block a foreign takeover if it’s not a “net benefit” to Canada. The federal government has asked for input from the provincial Saskatchewan government.

Wall said Canadian mining companies are at risk of becoming endangered and he doesn’t see a net benefit to his province or Canada.

Associated Press

Office Depot to pay $1 million fine to SEC

WASHINGTON – Office Depot Inc. has agreed to pay $1 million to settle federal charges that it overstated earnings and shared information with a select group that it failed to include in public filings.

The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement with Office Depot, which neither admitted nor denied the allegations.

The company was accused of overstating earnings in mid-2006 through mid-2007. It was also accused of letting a select group of investors and analysts know that it wouldn’t meet earnings estimates for the second quarter of 2007.

Also, chief executive Stephen Odland and former chief financial officer Patricia McKay agreed to pay civil penalties of $50,000 in connection with the charges for sharing information.

Associated Press

Earnings roundup

Southwest Airlines Co. said Thursday it earned $205 million in the July-through-September quarter. Traffic was up about 5 percent, which along with higher average fares pushed revenue up 20 percent.

• This was United and Continental’s last quarter as independent airlines, and they ended with big profits: $387 million for United, $354 million for Continental. United Continental Holdings Inc. will spend the next year integrating both carriers into one airline. CEO Jeff Smisek is aiming to be done by the end of 2011.

• More shoppers flocked to Inc.’s website during the third quarter, helping the online retailer’s net income climb 16 percent and easily beat analyst expectations.

Caterpillar said it earned $792 million net income, or $1.22 per share, in the third quarter thanks to strong sales in developing nations. That’s 96 percent higher than last year’s $404 million.


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