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In brief: Airbus predicts demand will double planes in sky

LONDON – Airbus is predicting that the number of jet planes around the world will double in the next 20 years, largely to satisfy demand in emerging markets, particularly China.

At a press briefing in London, where it unveiled its market forecasts for the period up to 2032, the European plane maker said air traffic will grow 4.7 percent annually.

That will require 29,220 new passenger and freighter aircraft, of which 10,400 will replace existing planes with more efficient ones. The forecast is an increase from last year’s, in which Airbus predicted 28,200 aircraft would need to be built through to 2031.

Airbus values the new aircraft needs at $4.4 trillion. Single-aisle aircraft are expected to account for around two-thirds of the new production, while a little over 1,700 very large aircraft, such as Airbus’ superjumbo A380, will have to be built. By 2032, Airbus says the worldwide fleet will double to nearly 36,560.

GM plans to sell bonds, buy stock to lower debt

DETROIT – General Motors will sell $4.5 billion in bonds to reduce debts owed to union-run trusts that pay health care bills for the company’s U.S. and Canadian retirees.

The company said Tuesday that it will spend $3.2 billion from the bond sale to buy 120 million shares of GM preferred stock from a U.S. trust that provides health care to retired members of the United Auto Workers union. The lower-interest bonds will replace a 9 percent annual dividend on the stock.

It’s buying the U.S. trust’s shares for $27 each, a $2 premium. After the sale closes, the U.S. trust still will hold 140 million preferred shares, which GM can buy back for $25 each at the end of next year.

GM also will use $1.2 billion from the new bonds to pay off 7 percent notes, retiring the debt now held by a trust controlled by the Canadian Auto Workers union, now called Unifor.

Ex-broker pleads guilty in insider trading case

SAN DIEGO – A former stockbroker has pleaded guilty in San Diego to a role in alleged insider trading by a former senior executive at Qualcomm Inc.

Gary Yin pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of conspiracy in an agreement with prosecutors that limits his sentence to a maximum of five years in federal prison. The 54-year-old former Merrill Lynch broker says he set up an account in the British Virgin Islands for Jing Wang, the wireless technology company’s former president of global business operations.

Yin says he arranged for his client to buy stock in Qualcomm and an acquisition target during 2010 and 2011. Prosecutors say Wang profited nearly $250,000 from three purchases based on company news before it became public.

Wang pleaded not guilty Monday to insider trading and other charges.


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