Ambassadors Group suspends dividend
Spokane travel provider Ambassadors Group Inc. has suspended the company’s longstanding practice of issuing dividends.
A news release Tuesday said the board voted to make the change to “preserve liquidity and enhance the company’s financial flexibility.”
It’s estimated to save about $4 million annually.
The company reported a $10 million loss in fourth quarter of 2012 and total 2012 revenue of $139.9 million, compared with revenue of $155.1 million in 2011.
Directors are conducting a national search for a new CEO, following the resignation earlier this year of Jeffrey Thomas.
IMF predicts continued economic sluggishness
WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund has lowered its outlook for the world economy this year, saying government spending cuts will slow U.S. growth and keep Europe in recession.
The global lending organization has cut its forecast for global growth to 3.3 percent this year, down from its forecast in January of 3.5 percent. It’s keeping its prediction of 4 percent global growth in 2014.
The IMF expects the U.S. economy to expand 1.9 percent this year. That’s below its January estimate of 2.1 percent and last year’s U.S. growth of 2.2 percent. Still, the IMF says the U.S. economy should expand 3 percent in 2014.
The latest forecasts come in advance of spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington this week.
European chief pushes for centralized banking
BRUSSELS – The head of the European Central Bank is urging the 17 European Union countries that use the euro to move swiftly toward forming a full banking union to stabilize the bloc’s financial sector.
Mario Draghi told the EU parliament Tuesday that it is of “utmost importance” to pass the legal prerequisites for centralized banking oversight before the summer.
He says Europe must then move to set up the next “key element” of the new system – a joint resolution mechanism that would restructure or wind down failed banks and minimize costs to taxpayers.
Employee convicted of stealing, reselling toner
NEW YORK – A former law firm employee has been convicted of second-degree grand larceny after stealing more than $376,000 worth of copy machine toner.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said Tuesday that Adrian Rodriguez, 39, ordered toner from vendors and resold it for $10 to $15 per box.
The cartridges were worth $80 to $259 apiece.
Officials called the scheme part of a growing black market for office supplies.