Financial
Yellen: Big banks might need to hold more capital PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 14:30

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Tuesday that the largest U.S. banks might need to hold additional capital to withstand periods of financial stress.

Yellen told a banking conference in Atlanta that current rules on how much capital banks must hold to protect against losses don't address all threats. She said the Fed's staff is considering what further measures might be needed.

She said the Fed would review the likely effects of imposing stricter rules on banks. Banks and their advocates have warned that further tightening bank regulation would lead to reduced lending to businesses and financial institutions and could slow economic growth.

Analysts said Yellen's message was similar to remarks that Daniel Tarullo, a Fed governor and the board's point person on bank regulatory issues, has made in the past. They said it could be a sign that the Fed under Yellen will take a more aggressive stance on bank regulation.

In her speech, Yellen said further actions to address risks, such as requiring firms to hold more capital, would likely apply only to the largest, most complex banks. But she suggested that other requirements could be applied more broadly to medium-size banks and non-bank financial institutions.

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New owners offer buyouts to Pittsburgh Heinz staff PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 13:23

PITTSBURGH (AP) — The new owners of H.J. Heinz Co. have offered buyouts to all workers in Pittsburgh, where the ketchup-and-food giant has been based for decades, but insist the offer doesn't signal a plan to move the company's headquarters.

Instead, Heinz officials said the buyout is being offered because the new owners Berkshire Hathaway and Brazilian investment firm 3G Capital recognize the company's new culture might not be "the perfect fit" for longtime Pittsburgh-based employees. Heinz officials said any workers who quit will be replaced, leaving the company with the same number of workers in Pittsburgh.

The buyout offers, which begin at six months' severance pay and increase depending on years of service, were sent out last week to all 775 Pittsburgh employees. The workers have until Monday to decide whether to accept.

"Heinz realizes that its new dynamic and results-driven culture, focused on efficiency and meritocracy, may not be the perfect fit for every employee," according to a statement from Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs. "Consequently, we have decided to provide a generous opportunity for eligible employees to leave Heinz with enhanced severance benefits."

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Firm nears takeover of Indiana Limestone Co. PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 14:28

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — An investment firm is poised to take over a financially troubled southern Indiana company that supplied limestone to the Empire State Building, the Pentagon and other iconic buildings.

A bankruptcy court auction for Indiana Limestone Co. set for Monday was called off after only a subsidiary of suburban Chicago private equity firm Wynnchurch Capital expressed interest in bidding, The Herald-Times reported (http://bit.ly/1m4Qf0j ).

The firm is now in line to buy the limestone company's assets for $26 million. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in February and notified state officials it would lay off 166 workers from its Bloomington operations and Oolitic headquarters.

Indiana Limestone President Duffe Elkins said the business is expected to reopen and rehire workers after the new ownership takes charge.

"The new corporation will go through a rehiring process," he said. "The plan hasn't changed."

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Japan pro-whaling lobby vows to continue hunts PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by MARI YAMAGUCHI, Associated Press   
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:59

TOKYO (AP) — Hundreds of pro-whaling Japanese officials, lawmakers and lobby group members vowed Tuesday to continue whale hunts despite a world court ruling that ordered the country to halt its Antarctic whaling program.

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told the meeting that Japan must protect its whale-eating culture and secure sources of whale meat. Japan as a maritime nation "has a policy of harvesting and sustainably using the protein source from the ocean, and that is unshakable," Hayashi said.

Cutlets, sashimi, steak and other dishes made of whale meat were served at the gathering near Japan's parliament, attracting many participants.

"Whale!" they shouted together in a toast, pledging to continue their fight over the animal.

The International Court of Justice ordered Japan on March 31 to stop granting permits for its Antarctic whaling program, which allowed an annual catch of about 1,000 whales. The court rejected Japan's contention that the program was scientific, not commercial.

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