Financial
Facebook CEO reaps $3.3 billion gain from stock options PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 06:07

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reaped a $3.3 billion gain last year by exercising stock options in the social networking company that he founded in a Harvard University dorm room.

The windfall saddled Zuckerberg with a huge tax bill, even though he limited his Facebook salary to just $1, according to regulatory documents filed Monday.

It marks the second straight year that Zuckerberg has realized a huge gain on the holding that he has accumulated in Facebook Inc. since he started the company in 2004. In 2012, Zuckerberg made $2.3 billion off his stock options.

Zuckerberg, 29, now has exhausted his supply of stock options after exercising 60 million of them last year a price of 6 cents per share. He then sold 41.35 million shares for $55.05 apiece in December, primarily to pay for his tax bill on the gains.

Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, also donated 18 million Facebook shares to a Silicon Valley nonprofit. The December gift, then valued at nearly $1 billion, landed the couple at the top of The Chronicle of Philanthropy's annual list of the most generous Americans.

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Senator says Caterpillar avoided billions in taxes PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 06:04

WASHINGTON (AP) — Executives from manufacturing giant Caterpillar Inc. are heading to Capitol Hill to explain what one senator calls an aggressive strategy to avoid paying billions of dollars in U.S. taxes.

Caterpillar has avoided paying $2.4 billion in U.S. taxes since 2000 by shifting profits to a wholly-controlled affiliate in Switzerland, according to a report released by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Levin chairs the Senate investigations subcommittee. His subcommittee is holding a hearing on the report Tuesday. Representatives from Caterpillar and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP are scheduled to testify.

The report says Caterpillar paid PricewaterhouseCoopers $55 million to develop its tax strategy.

The committee's Democratic staff compiled the report as part of a nine-month investigation into Caterpillar's taxes. It was released Monday.

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Syrup makers go high tech with wireless monitoring PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press LISA RATHKE, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 01 April 2014 06:05

MILTON, Vt. (AP) — Maple syrup production has come a long way from metal buckets hung on trees, but even high-tech operations have had to rely on old-fashioned foot patrols to fix a common problem — leaks.

The tubes that draw sap from trees straight to sugar houses often get pulled down or bent by falling limbs or chewed by critters, meaning sugar makers spend hours and sometimes days stomping through snowy woods to find and fix problems — a big timewaster in a sugaring season that lasts just a few weeks.

But now sugar makers are harnessing new technology to keep the precious sap flowing.

Meadowbrook Maple Syrup installed a monitoring system in January that is already paying off. Designed to help mid-to-large scale syrup producers keep an electronic eye their sap vacuum lines, the Tap Track system consists of solar battery-powered radio units strapped to trees, with each unit monitoring the pressure on a half-dozen lines. The data is transmitted to a computer or smartphone, where it shows up as a map with green dots indicating lines with good sap flow and red dots indicating leaks. Users even can get text messages alerting them to problems.

"I think it's the thing of the future. I really do," owner Donnie Richards said.

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Fiat Chrysler can make 6 milion cars a year, CEO says PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by COLLEEN BARRY, AP Business Writer   
Monday, 31 March 2014 10:19

TURIN, Italy (AP) — Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday that the automakers will have the capacity to produce 6 million cars a year once they combine their forces.

Marchionne aims to complete the legal merger of Fiat and Chrysler by the end of 2014 to create Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the world's seventh-largest automaker, and will outline a new multi-year business plan in Detroit in May.

"With the initiatives we will announce in May, 6 million is accessible," Marchionne told the last Fiat shareholders' meeting in the Italian company's historic headquarters in Turin.

The carmakers delivered 4.4 million cars last year, and Marchionne said the combined automakers aims to sell 4.5 million to 4.6 million this year, mostly on the strength of the U.S. and Asian markets.

Marchionne had long said that a carmaker needs to hit a production threshold of 6 million vehicles a year to be profitable in the increasingly crowded and competitive global market. But he has shied away in recent years from forecasting that Fiat Chrysler might achieve that level as sales in Europe bottomed out in the economic crisis.

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