MF Global: The Cash Shortfall Grows
Derivatives broker MF Global may be missing more than $1.2 billion of its customers’ cash—more than double the amount previously expected—said the trustee overseeing a liquidation of the failed firm run by former New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine. That would mean about 22 percent of the $5.4 billion in customer accounts are missing. The trustee hopes to recover all the customer funds. The brokerage’s parent company filed for bankruptcy after it made a $6.3 billion bad trading bet on European bonds. Regulators are investigating whether the firm moved money from its clients accounts into its own to cover its losses. Corzine has not commented on the situation.
Volvo: Splitting Off Its Airplane Engine Group
Swedish truckmaker Volvo wants to sell its airplane engine component subsidiary to focus on heavy trucks and construction equipment, in the biggest structural shift since the company sold its passenger car division to Ford more than a decade ago. Volvo has been active in aviation systems since the 1940s and makes jet engine components, turbine structures, and fan cases. The unit, which saw its profits fall 54 percent to $15 million in the third quarter, has dragged down corporate earnings. Volvo hopes to close a deal by mid-2012.
Roche: Avastin Nixed for Breast Treatment
U.S. regulators revoked approval of Roche’s Avastin as a treatment for breast cancer, limiting use of the world’s No. 1 cancer drug. The Food and Drug Administration said that Avastin, which had $6.2 billion in sales last year, didn’t extend lives and triggered side effects including high blood pressure and bleeding in breast cancer patients. The medicine will remain on the market as an approved treatment for certain types of colon, lung, kidney, and brain cancer. Roche doesn’t plan to appeal the decision.
Chevron: Repercussions from a Spill in Brazil
Chevron is facing regulatory scrutiny in Brazil after an eight-day oil spill leaked as much as 3,000 barrels off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The country’s environmental agency fined the company $28 million and is considering banning it from deepwater drilling. The oil regulator also says it will fine Chevron for falsifying information and inadequately responding to the spill. Chevron edited videos that should have been made available in their entirety, the agency says. Chevron says it takes full responsibility for the spill and worked fast to halt the flow.
Starr International: A $25 Billion Suit Over AIG
The investment firm run by American International Group’s founder and former CEO Hank Greenberg is suing the U.S. government over the 2008 bailout of the insurer. Greenberg’s firm, Starr International, wants $25 billion for claims that the government destroyed the value of AIG’s stock and took AIG’s property without due process or fair compensation. In 2008 the government got 80 percent of AIG’s stock when it rescued the insurer. The Treasury Dept. says it’s reviewing the lawsuit and expects to defend its actions.