Ford board raises quarterly dividend
DEARBORN, Mich. – Ford Motor Co. is raising the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders for the second time since restoring the payout in 2012.
The second-largest U.S. automaker said Thursday its board declared a first-quarter dividend of 12.5 cents per share, a 25 percent increase from the previous 10-cent payout. The new dividend is payable on March 3 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Jan. 31.
Dearborn-based Ford stopped paying a dividend in 2006, a year in which it lost $12.6 billion. After a restructuring, it returned to profitability in 2009. Ford restored its quarterly dividend at 5 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012 and doubled that dividend a year later.
Ex-Northrop CEO Jones dies at 93 at his home
LOS ANGELES – Thomas Jones, who led Northrop Corp. to the top rank of aerospace companies during the Cold War while weathering serious scandal, has died. He was 93.
His son, Peter, said Jones died Tuesday of pulmonary fibrosis at his Los Angeles estate.
Jones was Northrop’s chief executive for 30 years, beginning in 1960.
His technology investments helped Northrop win the B-2 stealth bomber contract. But the $1 billion F-20 jet fighter program was canceled without a sale after several crashes.
During his tenure, Jones pleaded guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to Richard Nixon and the company was hit with allegations that it paid $30 million in bribes to foreign officials. Northrop also acknowledged falsifying tests on nuclear missile components.
Cockroach discovery closes chicken plant
LIVINGSTON, Calif. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture shut down a Central California chicken plant after federal inspectors found it infested with cockroaches.
The Food Safety and Inspection Service ordered a temporary closure of a Foster Farms facility in Livingston which carried out “enhanced sanitizing” Wednesday.
FSIS deputy district manager Abdalla Amin wrote to Foster Farms CEO Ron Foster that the closure came after that inspectors found cockroaches on five separate occasions in various parts of the plant over the past four months, including at a hand-washing sink early Wednesday. Amin said the action was carried out based on “egregious insanitary conditions” which he said may have tainted products at the facility.
Foster Farms said Wednesday that food safety is “its highest priority” and shut down the Livingston facility immediately for “sanitation and treatment” for the incidents dating back to September.
“No other facilities are affected. No products are affected. Product production has been transferred to the company’s other facilities,” the company said in a statement.
Fixed mortgage rate remains steady
WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages barely changed this week, hovering near historically low levels.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average for the 30-year loan slipped to 4.51 percent from 4.53 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan edged up to 3.56 percent from 3.55 percent.
The average fee for a 30-year mortgage declined to 0.7 point from 0.8 point. The fee for a 15-year loan slipped to 0.6 point from 0.7 point.
The average rate on a one-year adjustable-rate mortgage was unchanged at 2.56 percent. The fee stayed at 0.5 point.