Sun | Sep 25, 2016

Business briefs

Published:Sunday | March 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Antigua, US developer partner on new hotel

Antigua and a United States joint venture have signed a deal to build a five-star resort on state-controlled land on the island's east coast.

The deal with Half Moon Bay Developers LLC also calls for the construction of homes and a PGA-level golf course on the 108-acre (44-hectare) property.

The Antigua and Barbuda Investment Authority said the resort would be built over several years.

The government forced the Half Moon Bay hotel's owner to sell the property in recent years because it had been abandoned since a hurricane damaged it in the mid-1990s.

Local company HMB Holdings sought US$60 million in compensation, but last month, an independent arbitrator ordered the government to pay US$24 million plus interest.

HMB has appealed.

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Welsh banker's killer indicted

Bahamas police have charged a 27-year-old man with murder in the execution-style slaying of a Welsh banker.

Hywel Jones was attacked outside his office in April by a gunman who approached on foot, shot him in the head, and fled on a motorcycle.

Jones lay comatose in hospital before dying of his injuries two weeks later.

Franklyn Stubbs of Nassau was arraigned Thursday on murder charges. He had no attorney present and was not required to enter a plea.

Authorities said Friday they could not discuss a possible motive and the investigation is continuing.

The 55-year-old Jones was the former director of The Bankers Association of The Bahamas and The Bahamas Institute of Bankers.

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US Apple iPad launch delayed

The much-anticipated iPad tablet computer from Apple Inc will start hitting United States store shelves on April 3, slightly later than originally planned.

When Apple unveiled the touch-screen device January 27, the company said the first iPads would reach the market in "late March" worldwide, not just in the US.

Now, international releases are planned for later in April.

The company did not specify Friday why the tablet is not coming out until April, and Apple spokeswoman Natalie Harrison would not elaborate.

However, Canaccord Adams analyst Peter Misek had said this week that Apple might have to delay or limit the size of the launch because of an "unspecified production problem".

Misek said Apple's Taiwan-based supplier, Hon Hai Precision, could be facing a production bottleneck or a shortage of components.

The first iPads to go on sale will connect to Wi-Fi networks only and cost US$499, US$599 or US$699, depending on the data-storage capacity.

Versions that also can connect to 3G cellular networks are expected to go on sale in late April for US$629, US$729 or US$829. Apple has not yet disclosed international pricing.

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GM 600 dealerships off chopping block

General Motors Company will reinstate more than half the United States dealerships it targeted to drop from its network.

GM executives said Friday that about 600 dealerships out of the 1,100 seeking to stay with GM will receive letters giving them the option to remain with the automaker.

GM last year told 2,000 dealerships it would revoke their franchise agreements in October 2010 as part of its restructuring. The company has said it needs to shrink the number of showrooms to keep the remaining ones healthy.

The dealerships, who say they have been treated unfairly, have been appealing the decision.

The cuts to GM's 6,000-dealer network were designed to compensate for much lower demand for cars and trucks, but some dealers have argued that lots that are still profitable are at risk, and that the automaker has not offered enough details about how it is choosing which businesses to shutter.

GM and Chrysler, which has slashed 789 dealers, have said they would reconsider the cuts. The decision was a compromise meant to avoid federal legislation that would require that the showrooms be kept open.

Under the revised plans, dealerships would get face-to-face reviews, binding arbitration and faster payments to help dealers slated for shutdown.

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New US$100 bill to be unveiled

Aiming to stay a step ahead of counterfeiters, the government is planning a new design for the US$100 bill that will be unveiled next month, the United States Treasury Department said Friday.

Wraps will come off the facelift for Benjamin Franklin at an April 21 ceremony in the ornate Cash Room at the department, the site of Ulysses Grant's first inaugural ball in 1869.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will do the honours.

The government says its decisions on redesigning currency are guided by assessments of counterfeiting threats from digital technology or old-fashioned printing presses.

The C-note - the highest value of all US bills - circulates widely around the globe.

The unveiling of the new design is the first step in a global campaign by the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve Board and the Secret Service to inform users of the bill of the changes before it starts circulating, Treasury said in a news release.

Training materials on the new US$100 bill for those who handle cash and educational information will be available in 25 languages beginning on April 21 at
www.newmoney.gov
.

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Rates rise upon reassuring jobs report

Interest rates leapt higher in the bond market Friday after the government reported better-than expected February jobs data.

The US Labor Department said the unemployment rate held at 9.7 per cent in February as employers shed 36,000 jobs. That was fewer than the 50,000 cuts analysts expected.

The figures suggest the job market is slowly healing but that significant hiring has yet to occur.

The reassuring news led investors to sell out bonds and buy riskier assets like stocks.

Traders view government bonds as safe assets, and stocks typically provide bigger returns when the economy is growing.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note that matures in February 2020 rose to 3.69 per cent from 3.61 per cent late Thursday. Its price fell 21/32 to 99 15/32.

Bond prices move in the opposite direction of their yields. The 10-year yield is used to determine rates on many consumer loans.

The jobs report gave stocks a lift, after a late-day rally on Thursday. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 84 points, as other major indexes rose more than one per cent.

The yield on the 30-year bond that matures in February 2040 rose to 4.64 per cent from 4.56. Its price fell 1 7/32 to 99 27/32.

The yield on the two-year note that matures in February 2012 rose to 0.91 per cent from 0.86 per cent. Its price fell 3/32 to 99 30/32.

The yield on the three-month T-bill that matures June 3 was 0.15 per cent.

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Grim deficit picture

A new congressional report says the United States' long-term fiscal woes are even worse than predicted by President Barack Obama's grim budget submission last month.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that Obama's budget plans would generate deficits over the upcoming decade that would total US$9.8 trillion. That is US$1.2 trillion more than predicted by the administration.

The agency says its future-year predictions of tax revenues are more pessimistic than the administration's.

For the current budget year, the report predicts a record US$1.5 trillion deficit. That is actually a little better than predicted by the White House.

The deficit picture has turned alarmingly worse since the recession that started at the end of 2007.