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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

For P&G, batteries won’t be included

CINCINNATI – Procter & Gamble is removing the batteries and making Duracell a stand-alone company.

The world’s largest consumer products maker, which acquired Duracell in 2005, announced earlier this year that it would shed more than half its brands around the globe during the next year or two.

If a split-off occurs, P&G said that its shareholders would have the option of exchanging some, none or all of their P&G shares for shares of the newly formed Duracell company. P&G also makes Tide detergent, Pampers diapers and Olay skin care.

The Procter & Gamble Co., based in Cincinnati, said Friday that it also is considering a spinoff, sale or other options for Duracell.

Looking ahead, P&G stood by its guidance for core earnings per share to grow in the mid-single digit range. But it now expects sales to be flat to up to low-single digits. It previously forecast growth in the low-single digits.

Greeks set to get break on unpaid taxes

ATHENS, Greece – Parliament has approved draft legislation that would give distressed Greeks more than eight years to settle unpaid taxes imposed under the country’s austerity measures.

Lawmakers on Friday backed the measure allowing tax settlements to be extended to a maximum of 100 monthly payments, up from previous rules allowing 48. Two small opposition parties also voted in favor, in a rare display of consensus.

Despite a steep rise in unemployment and extensive wage cuts, Greeks have been hammered with additional taxes, levied under bailout agreements between the country and rescue lenders from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund.

Greece’s governing conservatives have seen a sharp drop in opinion poll ratings in recent months, after announcing that emergency taxes scheduled to end this year would be made permanent or extended through 2016.

U.S. oil, gas rig count increases by nine

HOUSTON – Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. rose by nine this week to 1,927.

The Houston firm said Friday in its weekly report that 1,595 rigs were exploring for oil and 332 for gas. A year ago there were 1,738 active rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained eight rigs; New Mexico, five; West Virginia, three; while Arkansas, California and Ohio gained two apiece. Alaska was up one.

Kansas declined by four, Pennsylvania was down three, Wyoming lost two and Colorado, Louisiana, North Dakota and Utah decreased by one each.

Oklahoma was unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.

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