In the Region Black & Decker says battery maker...

BUSINESS DIGEST

July 06, 2002

In the Region

Black & Decker says battery maker infringed on patents

Black & Decker Corp. is suing a Dallas company, alleging that it infringed on two of the Towson company's patents for power supplies for cordless products.

The suit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., accuses Interstate Battery System International Inc. of "importing, manufacturing, using, selling and offering for sale rechargeable replacement batteries for the DeWalt-brand cordless power tool products." The suit also charges that IBSI is using DeWalt's trademarked yellow-and-black packaging to sell its products.

No one at IBSI was available for comment yesterday.

Elsewhere

Reliant Energy trims revenue $7.9 billion for past three years

Reliant Energy Inc., the biggest electric company in Texas, reduced revenue yesterday by $7.9 billion, or 8.7 percent, in the past three years to exclude sham energy trades under investigation by federal regulators.

Reliant Resources, Reliant Energy's trading arm, lowered revenue by 12 percent. "Misguided" traders used so-called wash transactions to inflate revenue by 10 percent from 1999 to 2001, Chief Executive Officer Steve Letbetter said in May. Profit in the period was unchanged, the companies said in regulatory filings.

Reliant Resources' top two trading executives resigned after the disclosures, and the company canceled a bond offering. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began a formal investigation last month.

Canada might impose tariffs on steel imports

Canada may impose tariffs on steel imports after a trade tribunal ruled yesterday that foreign producers are harming the domestic industry by flooding the market with cheap steel.

The decision follows complaints from Canadian steelmakers that controversial U.S. tariffs of up to 30 percent, imposed in March, are diverting to Canada a flood of foreign steel that was originally destined for the United States.

The Canadian International Trade Tribunal said five of nine categories of steel are arriving in Canada at prices below market value. Steel coming from the United States also is causing harm, the tribunal found.

Boeing says it won't sell Spokane plant to workers

The Boeing Co. aircraft parts plant in Spokane, Wash., will not be sold to its employees.

In a letter sent to workers this week, Boeing said that after reviewing its bidders the company had decided against dealing with workers who formed an Employee Stock Ownership Plan committee.

Boeing spokesman John Kvasnosky declined to comment yesterday, noting that there is a confidentiality agreement between the company and all parties that have shown an interest in buying the factory on the West Plains. Employees who led the ESOP campaign also were muzzled by the agreement.

Stockholders are expected to OK AT&T cable TV sale

AT&T Corp. stockholders aiming for higher share prices are expected to vote Wednesday in favor of the planned sale of the company's cable television business to Comcast to form the nation's largest cable company.

And government regulators aren't likely to further rock the struggling cable industry by holding up their approvals of the $45 billion deal expected to be final later this year, analysts predicted yesterday.

Comcast shareholders' approval is assured at a meeting Wednesday in Philadelphia, according to the company's proxy outlining the merger and vote. Company President Brian L. Roberts and his family control 86.7 percent of the voting power in Comcast's stock, and the proxy said those shares will be voted in favor.

AT&T shareholders will vote at the company's annual meeting in Charleston, S.C.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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