Business Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

March 17, 2009

Severstal and USW to resume talks

WHEELING, W.Va.: Severstal North America and the United Steelworkers will resume bargaining on a contract for 6,000 workers in four states, including Maryland. The USW represents employees at former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel plants in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. It also covers the former WCI Steel in Warren, Ohio, and the former Bethlehem Steel-ISG plant in Sparrows Point. Negotiations have been under way in Pittsburgh for six months. The contract expires March 31. Talks are to resume Thursday. On the table is how to fund retiree benefits. In a bulletin Monday, the union told members global steel demand has dropped from record highs last summer to the lowest levels in decades. But it is still pushing for an agreement that models what the USW got for ArcelorMittal factories.

Associated Press

Ritz creditors object to $85 million loan

Ritz Camera Centers Inc., the largest U.S. camera-store chain, should not get final court approval for $85 million in financing from its existing secured lenders, the creditors' committee told a judge. The lenders "do not provide sufficient financing for the debtor's reorganization efforts or a sale of substantially all of the debtor's assets as a going concern," the committee said in papers filed March 13 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. Ritz filed for bankruptcy protection Feb. 22, blaming the deepening U.S. recession and a consumer transition to digital photography. The 91-year-old company, which had sales of almost $1 billion in 2008, has assets and debt of less than $500 million, according to Chapter 11 papers. Ritz has about 800 locations in more than 40 states, under the names Ritz Camera, Wolf Camera, Kits Cameras, Inkley's and the Camera Shops. The Beltsville-based company was also hurt by slumping sales at its 130 Boater's World Marine Centers after last year's surge in oil prices, court papers show.

Bloomberg News

Legg Mason names Nattans, Magleby

Legg Mason Inc. appointed Jeffrey A. Nattans yesterday as a senior vice president in charge of the Baltimore money manager's units catering to wealthy investors. Nattans, who joined Legg in 2006, will oversee the wealth management division, which includes The Permal Group, Private Capital Management and Legg Mason Investment Council and Trust Co., as well as Royce & Associates. In addition, Legg hired Alan F. Magleby as managing director, head of investor relations and corporate communications. Previously, Magleby was senior vice president of investor relations at Washington Mutual.

Hanah Cho

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