Business

Business Notes

A widening scandal over Firestone tires

September 11 2000
Business

Business Notes

A widening scandal over Firestone tires

September 11 2000

Business Notes

A widening scandal over Firestone tires

Venezuelan officials, toting Bridgestone/Firestone tires used on Ford vehicles, are calling for criminal charges against both companies after a rash of accidents. As a mass recall continued in the United States and Canada, authorities warned that many replacement tires were even more defective than the originals.

A big payoff for the Cisco kids

One of the giants of Silicon Valley, Cisco Systems Inc., paid $544 million for tiny PixStream Inc. of Waterloo, Ont., launched with a $250,000 line of credit in 1996 by three partners. Marc Morin, 37, Steve Basco, 37, and Brad Siim, 32, together held 20 per cent of the firm, which developed a device allowing cable and telephone companies to deliver broadcast-quality TV and video over highspeed Internet lines. Among other big investor winners were Ottawa-based high-tech billionaire Terry Matthews and many of PixStreams employees.

Financial Outlook

Thanks to government infusions of cash, things are looking better on the farm. Total agricultural revenues hit a record $16.2 billion for the first six

months of the year. The biggest boost came from government programs— payments are up 86 per cent from the same period in 1999. Almost twothirds of that increase is due to several one-time assistance programs in the hard-hit Prairies. The initiatives help farmers adjust to the elimination of transportation subsidies at a time of low prices. Crop sales continued to fall for the fourth straight year, largely due to lower grain and oilseed prices caused by a glut on the world market. But strong demand for red meat drove livestock revenues to record levels as prices rose in the hog and catde industries.

Change from Revenue 1999 crop Jucome $6 6b~hon -3~ Livestock income $8 3 bh~on ±14 3 Government payments $1. 3Wtto~ +86~ Total farm income $16 2b~H'on i-9 8 UP ON THE FARM Amount farmers collected in the first six months of this year

Mutual friends

AGF Management Ltd. elevated itself to Canadas seventh-largest mutual fund firm from ninth by buying Global Strategy Holdings for $438 million in cash and stock. AGF CEO Blake Goldring said the merger of the two Toronto-based companies would give AGF the heft to expand globally.

Air Canada keeps Regional

Air Canada will maintain its nearmonopoly on flights to smaller centres after no eligible bidder emerged for Canadian Regional Airlines Ltd., which the flag carrier acquired along with Canadian Airlines. A 60-day blind auction produced only one bid, well below a secret reserve price.

OSC charges Philip

The Ontario Securities Commission accused Philip Services Corp. and seven former top executives of hiding key facts—including fraud allegations— from investors in 1997. The industrial services firm has since been restructured and is moving its operations to Chicago from Hamilton.

Repap sale

Finnish forestry giant UPMKymmene Corp. bought Repap Enterprises Inc. for $160 million plus $1.2 billion in debt. The deal marked the end of the paper company formerly run by high-flying founder George Petty of Montreal. The name is paper spelled backwards.

Bidding for the LSE

The London Stock Exchange became the target of a $ 1.7-billion hostile takeover bid by Stockholm’s bourse, owned by OM Gruppen AB. The move cast doubt on plans by the LSE to merge with Frankfurt’s market to form an exchange called iX.

VCfrll Street clout

Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group said it would buy U.S. investment bank Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Inc. for $17 billion and merge it with its U.S. arm, Credit Suisse First Boston. The deal will give Credit Suisse major clout on Wall Street.