Business & Finance
Philip Morris USA asked for a $10.5 billion reduction in the bond it must post with an Illinois court before appealing a penalty for misleading smokers into thinking that "light" cigarettes are less harmful to their health than the "full flavor" variety. The bond was set at $12 billion, more money than the company says it's worth. In a related move Friday, the tobacco giant also sought to block the state from collecting $3 billion in punitive damages in the case. Last month, it was ordered to pay $10 billion in the "light" cigarette judgment. But it also still is paying down its share of the massive 1998 tobacco industry settlement with 46 states, among them Illinois. Its next $2.6 billion installment is due April 15.
United Airlines reached tentative deals on wage concessions with its flight attendants' and dispatchers' unions Friday, leaving machinists as the main holdout. Parent company UAL Corp. has set a May 1 deadline to void labor contracts in bankruptcy court if the negotiations fail. In addition, the carrier said chief executive Glenn Tilton is taking a pay cut - the second since December - reducing his annual salary a further 14 percent to $712,500.
American Airlines announced plans to offer stock to vendors and plane lessors in return for cost concessions, in an ongoing effort to avoid bankruptcy. Stock options are a feature of tentative wage-cut agreements that American, the world's largest carrier, reached with its employee unions last week. Parent company AMR Corp. lost almost $5.3 billion in the past two years.
One of the world's largest makers of recreational vehicles, Monaco Coach Corp., announced it will lay off 850 workers at its plants in Indiana and Coburg, Ore. The company also said it will idle all its plants for a week, beginning Monday. Monaco Coach is based in Coburg.