Business Notes


Deadline for Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. shareholders to vote on purchase of coal company

Iron ore miner Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. has set the date for shareholders to vote on stock purchase related to its proposal to buy Abingdon, Va.-based coal producer Alpha Natural Resources. Cleveland-Cliffs agreed to acquire Alpha in a deal valued at $10 billion July 16. Hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners, Cleveland-Cliffs’ largest shareholder, has criticized the deal and wants to increase its stake to as much as one-fifth of Cleveland-Cliffs. That requires shareholder approval. Cleveland-Cliffs says in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Friday it has set voting on the proposal for Oct. 3. The proposed deal would create a company with nine iron ore facilities and more than 60 coal mines in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. Alpha Natural Resources has a division in Roxana, Ky.


Federal policy-makers having trouble stabilizing economy

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday the financial crisis that has pounded the country is taking a toll on the economy and poses a major challenge to Fed policy-makers as they try to restore stability. ”Although we have seen improved functioning in some markets, the ­financial storm that reached gale force“ around this time last year ”has not yet subsided, and its effects on the broader economy are becoming apparent in the form of softening economic activity and rising unemployment,“ Bernanke said.

AirTran cutting work force

AirTran Airways said it notified 169 pilots this week that they will be furloughed as the airline shrinks its flight schedule and cuts costs. The pilots will be furloughed effective Sept. 3. AirTran, which is based in Orlando and has its largest hub in Atlanta, has about 8,900 employees. The carrier is cutting its work force as it shrinks its flight schedule by 7 percent to 8 percent during the final four months of the year.

Merrill Lynch makes deal with SEC

Federal regulators say Merrill Lynch & Co. will buy back up to $7 billion in auction-rate securities over its role in selling the risky bonds to retail investors. Merrill’s preliminary agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission comes a day after the largest U.S. brokerage agreed with New York state regulators to hasten its voluntary buyback plan by repurchasing $10 billion to $12 billion of the securities from investors by Jan. 2.

herald-leader wire services