Thursday, August 5, 2004

Business digest

Lilly wins approval of new anti-depressant

INDIANAPOLIS - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a new anti-depressant for adults that Eli Lilly and Co. has looked to as a potential top-selling drug.

The federal approval allows the use of Cymbalta as a treatment for a broad range of emotional and physical symptoms of depression, Lilly said. It should be on pharmacy shelves by late this month.

Lilly is counting on Cymbalta to help it recover from its 2001 loss of patent protection for Prozac, its former blockbuster-selling anti-depressant.

FAA extends war-risk insurance for airlines

WASHINGTON - American Airlines, United Airlines and other U.S. carriers can keep buying war-risk insurance from the government at below-market costs through Dec. 31, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

The program, which saves airlines as much as $560 million a year, would have expired Aug. 31 without the extension, said FAA spokesman Hank Price said. Congress gave the agency authority to order the four-month extension, he said.

War-risk insurance covers airlines against terrorism and other violent acts. Such policies through regular insurers remain too expensive, costing five times more than they did before the September 2001 terrorist attacks, the Air Transport Association trade group said last month.

Pension fund hires 2 firms to manage bonds

COLUMBUS - Fidelity Investments and Smith Breeden Associates Inc. were each hired to manage about $300 million of U.S. bonds by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System, the 10th-largest public pension fund with $60 billion in assets.

Morgan Stanley was fired from managing the $600 million in bonds because the pension decided it wanted the money solely in investment-grade U.S. bonds, said the fund's investment manager Roger Fox. Morgan Stanley's portfolio included some high-yield and emerging-market bonds.

LCA-Vision opens sites in Florida, St. Louis

LCA-Vision Inc., a Sycamore Township company that operates LasikPlus vision centers, has opened centers in Jacksonville, Fla., and St. Louis. LCA now operates 43 centers - 39 wholly owned LasikPlus sites, three joint ventures in Canada and one joint venture in Europe.

General Cable appoints new member to board

General Cable Corp. announced the election of Craig P. Omtvedt to its board of directors to fill a vacancy. The Highland Heights-based cable maker said Omtvedt, who has no prior relationship with General Cable, was also appointed to the board's audit, compensation and corporate governance committees.

Omtvedt is senior vice president and chief financial officer of Fortune Brands Inc., the $6 billion consumer products company behind leading brands such as Moen, Titleist, Jim Beam, Master Lock and Day-Timer. In addition to his responsibilities for accounting and finance, he oversees the company's internal audit, insurance, tax, real estate, corporate communications and investor relations functions.

Wire/staff reports

Air Tite founder finds new challenge in boxes
SEC complaint costs Bristol-Myers $150M
Union: Delta offer a 'gouge'
Chemed doubles quarterly earnings
Even higher oil prices predicted
Traders ride roller-coaster
Campbell's Soup reconstitutes itself
Toyota plans to boost production of hybrid cars
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