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Icahn Nominees Join Motorola's Board; S&P Downgrades Novartis; Chile Copper Boost; Praxair Scores Olympic Contract; Gas Prices Hit Another High; McDonalds Settles Suit; Kapstone Parcels Out $485 Million for SC Mills
- Two of billionaire investor Carl Icahn's nominees have been named to Motorola Inc. (MOT) board of directors. Keith Meister, managing director of Icahn investment funds and whose previous nomination to the board was rejected, will serve on the board immediately. William Hambrecht, chief executive of WR Hambrecht & Co., will be nominated for election to Motorola's board, Reuters reported.
- Standard & Poor's cut its AAA rating on Novartis AG (NVS) to AA- after the firm announced it would finance its acquisition of Alcon Inc. (ACL) with new debt, Bloomberg News reported. "Novartis' lack of commitment to the former AAA rating is demonstrated" by the use of debt to fund the Alcon purchase, S&P credit analyst Olaf Toelke said in the statement announcing the downgrade. "This action is a marked deviation from the group's former conservative financial policy."
- Copper industry association SONAMI announced yesterday (Monday) that it expects Chile's copper output to increase 5.5% in 2008 to about 5.9 million tones, Reuters reported. The association also expects the increase in output will stabilize copper prices, which are currently near record levels of $4 per pound, and projects prices will level out through 2012 to between $2 and $2.50 a pound.
- Industrial-gases specialist, Praxair Inc. (PX), announced its China subsidiary has secured a contract to supply oxygen to Beijing No. 3 Water Works, the company that will provide fresh drinking water for the Beijing Olympic Games, MarketWatch reported. Praxair also said that it's in talks to supply the two other plants from Beijing Waterworks Group Co.
- Crude oil jumped more than $3 a barrel to 109.26 dollars per barrel in New York yesterday (Monday), after member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) rejected calls to increase output. As a result, gasoline rose to a record $3.339 a gallon, AAA, the nation's largest motorist organization, said on its Web site.
- Four former McDonald's (MCD) workers will be paid more than $505,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against the owners of the Durango franchise. Terms of the settlement approved Thursday in federal court included letters of apology from franchise owner John Bronson. Two of the victims and their lawyer will split $450,000, while an additional $55,000 will be split by two other victims who were represented by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which filed the lawsuit, the Associated Press reported.
- Shares of Kapstone Paper and Packaging Corp. (KPPC) surged yesterday (Monday) after the company said it would pay $485 million cash for six mills in South Carolina owned by packing company MeadWestvaco Corp. (MWV). The purchase gives Kapstone four wood chip mills, a paper mill and a lumber mill, which employ about 1,100 people, the . Shares of Kapstone rose 7.85% on the day to close at $7.01.