Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Groceries, workers agree on new contracts


Business digest

Wire/staff reports

SEATTLE - Grocery workers have approved three-year contracts with four supermarket chains, including Kroger Co. subsidiaries QFC and Fred Meyer. They accepted higher care payments but avoided a two-tier pay plan sought by employers.

The old contract expired May 2, and strike deadlines were postponed repeatedly as both sides sought to avoid a replay of a five-month supermarket strike and lockout in Southern California.

Fifth Third marks 'Homeownership Week'

Fifth Third Bank's homeownership bus returns to Cincinnati today in the midst of a six-month tour of Midwest cities to encourage home buying. The 40-foot financial classroom on wheels, offering one-on-one mortgage counseling, will be on Fountain Square from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today as the city has dubbed this "Homeownership Week in Cincinnati.'' The bus will be visiting other Tristate community sites and festivals over the next two weeks.

NS Group president plans to diversify

NEWPORT - NS Group Inc. said Rene Robichaud, president and CEO, plans to sell up to 40 percent of his stock options and common shares through 2005 under Rule 10b5-1 of the federal Securities and Exchange Act.

The oil and gas tubing maker said Robichaud was adopting the plan to diversify his assets and provide transparency to NS Group shareholders. Rule 10b5-1 plans allows senior executives with extensive stock holdings to sell shares through a third party and avoid insider trading complications.

After implementation, the executive has no discretion over the shares and options in the plan, and transactions are disclosed in SEC filings.

FDIC votes to raise small bank threshold

WASHINGTON - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. proposed a rule that would make it easier for about 1,500 banks and thrifts to demonstrate that they invest in the cities and towns where they collect deposits.

In a 3-2 vote, the FDIC board recommended raising the threshold for a small bank to $1 billion in assets from $250 million. Small banks undergo a less stringent examination to prove they are complying with the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act.

The vote was a victory for community banks, which have asked for relief from regulations they say cut into profits and stifle innovation.

Bidding may close for Google shares today

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. - Google Inc., the world's most-used Web search engine, may close bidding in its auction-style initial share sale as soon as 5 p.m. today. Google has said it will set the stock price this week.




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Groceries, workers agree on new contracts
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