Friday, 26 October 2007

BP fined for a record amount

Oil giant BP has been fined a total of $373 million (£182 million) by the US Department of Justice for environmental crimes and committing fraud. The fine is the highest fine of its kind levied under the Clean Air Act, which include $50 million (£25 million) relating to a Texas refinery explosion in 2005 that killed 15 people and injured 170 more.

Acting Attorney General, Peter Keisler said "The tragic explosion at the Texas city refinery, and the pipeline leaks in Alaska, were sad reminders that our environmental laws exist both to protect the lives and safety of the public, and also to preserve our natural resources. Businesses that ignore those laws and endanger their workers and communities must be held accountable. Today's announcement shows that they will be."

A fine for $303 million (£150 million) relates to price-fixing charges for manipulating the propane market in 2004. It marks a record fine imposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) for market manipulation.

The four former BP workers accused of "conspiring to manipulate and corner" the US propane markets were named as Mark David Radley, James Warren Summers, Cody Dean Claborn and Carrie Kienenberger. BP polluted a lake and land in Alaska after two oil leaks from the pipeline in March and August 2006.

Prior to Thursday's announcement, BP had already spent $1.6 billion in compensation to victims of the Texas disaster, and has settled more than 1,600 personal injury claims.
Earlier in the week the oil giant announced that quarterly profits slumped by 45% after problems at its production and refinery businesses. Profits at BP fell to $3.88 billion (£1.89 billion) for the three months to the end of September from $6.98 billion (£3.5 billion) a year earlier. (source: BBC News)

Revenues at Boeing were cut for 2008 by an estimate $2.5 billion (£1.2 billion) because of delays to the first deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner. Boeing said yesterday that it would deliver more aircraft in 2009 than in 2008. The first airline scheduled to receive the new aircraft is All Nippon Airways, of Japan.

The world’s second-biggest aircraft-maker has experienced several challenges associated with production of the plane, including out-of-sequence work, problems with integrating software and a shortage of bolts. Despite all the problems experienced with the production, the Dreamliner has become the bestselling aircraft ever, with 710 firm orders to date from 50 customers. Boeing expects to sell between 480 and 490 of the aircraft in 2008, down from its previous estimate of 515 to 520.

Jim McNerney, Boeing’s chief executive, said “I have every confidence that the revised delivery timetable could be achieved. The company is concentrating on a supply chain coordination, which had been one of the big problems behind the 787 delays.”

Commercial aircraft revenues in 2008 will be up to $4 billion (£2 billion) down on expectations, at $35 billion (£17.5 billion) to $36 billion (£18 billion). Revenue guidance for the whole company is expected to be $67.5 billion (£33.7 billion) to $68.5 billion (£34.2 billion), down from previous estimates of $71 billion (£35.5 billion) to $72 billion (£36 billion). However, Boeing said that almost all anticipated 2008 revenues will be taken in 2009. (source: Timesonline)

Arcadia, owned by Sir Philip Green, reported a modest improvement in annual profits yesterday following one of the worst 'non-summers' in many years. Sir Phillip (for the second year) opted against taking a dividend. Arcadia with more than 2000 outlets, whose high-street chains include Topshop, Burton, Miss Selfridges, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis, Evans and Outfit, saw operating profits edge up by 1.6% to £293.3 million in the year to 1 September, with like-for-like sales across the group increased by 2.1% as total sales grew by just over 5% to £1.86 billion.

The figures were released as the supermodel Kate Moss's latest collection for Topshop went on sale. Sir Philip said the previous collection had been selling very well, but added: "You can't just put someone's name on something, the product has got to be right. We are still learning about it." Sir Philip furthermore said he has chosen to put the money back into the business rather than take a dividend, and said "Without being rude, I don't really need any money," The billionaire banked a £1.2 billion windfall from Arcadia in 2005.

The group will open more than 300 000 square feet of retailing space in the UK over the coming year, and open 70 more stores with international franchise partners. The retailer also owns the Bhs department store chain, which this month announced a 3% rise in operating profits to £50 million in the year to 31 March. (source: Independent)

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