Business & Finance
A 3 a.m. Sunday deal with its pilots union allowed Air Canada to promise "business as usual." Terms of the six-year agreement on job and pay cuts were not immediately disclosed because they still must be ratified by the union's rank-and-file. The troubled carrier, the world's 11th largest, also has yet to negotiate agreements with creditors on its $12 billion debt. But the deal averted a special hearing later Sunday with an Ontario Superior Court judge who could have ordered Air Canada grounded and its planes seized. The pilots were the last of the carrier's nine unions to agree to help it meet labor cost-reduction targets that were the key to restructuring.
UAL Corp., parent of bankrupt United Airlines, will reapply for a federal loan guarantee (after its $1.8 billion request was rejected last December) and expects to present a restructuring plan to its board and creditors within weeks, the Washington Post reported, citing comments at a news conference by chief executive Glenn Tilton. Tilton also said United is reevaluating controversial plans for a low-fare service, scaling back but not abandoning the idea.
The Williams Companies Inc. used $1.1 billion in proceeds from a market-rate loan and the sales of three assets to pay off a high-interest, $900 million debt to Berkshire Hathaway, the holding company of billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The Tulsa, Okla., producer/ distributor of natural gas has sold more than $7 billion in assets in the past 18 months, with more in the works as it ends costly forays into the oil and energy-trading markets.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting giant, acknowledged criticism for insensitivity after confirming that "some" of the 2,400 former employees at a collapsed insurance company it administers were informed of their termination via a text message left on their cellphones. The carrier, Accident Group of Manchester, England, was Britain's largest in that field. Its assets were put up for sale Friday and the laid-off staffers were instructed to seek compensation for back pay from the government's Department of Trade and Industry. Accident Group's parent, Amulet Group, was ordered into receivership.