Archive for Friday, April 5, 2002

Briefcase

April 5, 2002

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Trade

Companies tell government steel tariffs creating harm

Companies that make products such as oil equipment and plastic moldings have been telling the Bush administration that their businesses will suffer irreparable damage if certain foreign steel products are not exempt from recently imposed tariffs.

The Commerce Department has received 1,500 such requests for exemptions from the tariffs that the Bush administration levied last month. It must decide by July 3 whether to grant any or all exemptions.

Department spokesman Curt Cultice said requests are being reviewed but declined to say what the chances were that the exemptions would be granted.

Accounting

Andersen reaches deal to relocate employees

Signaling the breakup of its U.S. operations, Arthur Andersen LLP announced Thursday that a "significant" number of its U.S. tax partners and professionals will join rival Deloitte & Touche.

Terms were not disclosed.

Andersen's U.S. operations are in jeopardy as a result of the Enron Corp. scandal. The firm hopes to survive as a slimmed-down company focused on auditing.

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker is head of an oversight board attempting to reform Andersen and keep it alive as an independent firm.

Andersen's employees, meanwhile, were bracing for what the company has said would be "inevitable" layoffs among its 28,000 U.S. staffers.

KU Research

CyDex names new leader

Overland Park-based CyDex announced recently that Joseph Lacz, a 25-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, has been named the company's new executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Lacz was appointed to help the company, which uses pharmaceutical research done at Kansas University, commercialize several of its products, CEO Peter Higuchi said.

Before joining CyDex, Lacz was a senior vice president for Quintiles Inc, a contract research organization in Kansas City, Mo. He also has served in the drug development division of Marion Laboratories and Marion Merrell Dow.

Bankruptcy

Auditor chosen to protect shareholders in Enron case

A federal bankruptcy judge Thursday tentatively agreed to let an independent examiner investigate Enron Corp.'s collapse and protect shareholders' interests throughout the bankruptcy process.

Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez also approved a revised employment contract for Enron's acting chief executive, Stephen Cooper, who will be paid $1.32 million a year to help the energy company emerge from bankruptcy. The contract proposed by Enron in January was revised to satisfy concerns raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission and various creditors.

Earnings

Drug company's stock falls

Fallout from Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s bombshell announcement that it was dramatically slashing first-quarter and full-year earnings and revenue expectations pushed the stock down nearly 15 percent Thursday, and analysts expressed little hope of significant near-term improvement.

A rash of bad news from the company combined with sketchy guidance from executives has eroded confidence in management while a weak pipeline offers little hope for improved earnings growth, analysts said. However, the combination of a large sales force, expertise in the cancer, heart and cholesterol markets and beaten-down share price may make it an attractive takeover candidate.

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