Thursday, October 28, 2004

Business digest

America West looking over bankrupt ATA

INDIANAPOLIS - The possibility of a bidding war that could absorb all of bankrupt ATA Airlines emerged Wednesday, with America West Airlines signaling it remains interested in acquiring the discount carrier.

A day after ATA filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and said it would raise $87.6 million by, in essence, selling its Chicago hub and other airport slots to AirTran Airways Inc., questions emerged over the Indianapolis-based airline's future.

America West Airlines indicated Tuesday it remained interested in making a bid for most, if not all, of ATA

EU proposes tariff on banana imports

European Union officials Wednesday proposed a tariff of 230 euros about $292.43) per metric ton on banana imports, the first proposal in what are likely to be contentious negotiations over the next several months. Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International Inc., one of the world's biggest banana companies, said it would join with Latin American countries in proposing a tariff of 75 euros (about $95.36) per metric ton.

The EU proposal is widely viewed as an effort to help former colonies in the Caribbean from losing business to larger Latin American growers.

The two sides will negotiate a final amount as part of a 2001 deal in which the EU agreed to institute a tariff-only system for banana imports by 2006.

Anthem third-quarter earnings go up 23%

INDIANAPOLIS - Growing enrollment in its national health insurance plans drove earnings at Anthem Inc. up 23 percent during the third quarter, the company reported Wednesday.

The nation's fourth-largest health insurance company earned $242.1 million, or $1.70 per share, for the three months ending Sept. 30, compared with $196.5 million, or $1.38 per share, for the third quarter of 2003. The latest results beat by five cents the consensus estimate by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Revenues rose 13 percent to $4.8 billion from $4.3 billion for the Indianapolis-based licensee for Blue plans in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Colorado, Nevada and Maine, and part of Virginia.

Anthem's prescription service is based in Mason.

Luxottica eyewear profit increases 3.4%

Luxottica SpA, the world's largest eyewear maker, said third-quarter profit rose 3.4 percent as sales of Prada and Versace brands increased at the company's wholesale business.

Net income increased to 77 million euros ($98 million) from 74 million euros a year earlier, the Milan-based company said. Luxottica owns Mason-based LensCrafters.

Telefonica I + D picks Convergys

Convergys Corp. announced Tuesday that Telefonica I + D, a Telefonica Group company, will install Convergys' Infinys rating and billing software. The move will support the introduction of new, value-added services over Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Lines and Wi-Fi to customers of broadband services provided by wireline operators of Telefonica Group in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

Terms were not disclosed.

The software will let Telefonica customers download content, games, and movies. Telefonica is the leading operator in the world's Spanish and Portuguese-speaking markets.

Steve Mahon elected to management board

Steve Mahon, a partner in the Cincinnati office of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, has been elected to the firm's management committee. The Cleveland-based firm said Mahon, a corporate transactions and securities lawyer, will serve a four-year term.

CompuCom to close call center in Mason

Dallas-based computer services provider CompuCom Systems Inc., has notified state officials it will close its Mason call center on Duke Drive by yearend. The closing will eliminate 66 jobs, the company said. The move was triggered by the recent $254 million acquisition of CompuCom by Platinum Equity, a global investment firm.

Wire/staff reports

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'PayPal' waives fee today for some users
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