Archive for September, 2008

Boeing to reassess 787 Japan delivery plans (Reuters)

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008 | Finance News

TOKYO (Reuters) -
Boeing Co said on Tuesday it would reassess its 787 Dreamliner delivery schedule for the Japanese market once an ongoing strike ends, raising concern that a prolonged production halt could further push back deliveries.

Japan's two biggest airlines -- Japan Airlines Corp (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA) -- have already announced expected delays in receiving the 787 jets due to a strike by Boeing machinists that came on top of an 18-month delay in the shipment of the planes.

A prolonged strike by 27,000 machinists, who walked off the job on September 6, would seriously hurt 787 development and ripple through a global aerospace industry already strained by project costs, currency volatility and a faltering global economy.

"Frankly, we do not know when the strike will end," Randy J. Tinseth, vice president of Boeing's Commercial Airplanes division, told reporters in Tokyo.

"As soon as the strike does end, our operations will normalize... we then will be able to reassess our production, deliveries and program schedule for the 787 at that time."

Boeing has had a dominant presence in Japan, with the country's airlines having bought almost all their planes from the world's biggest-selling commercial aircraft maker.

Japan's second-largest carrier ANA is also the launch customer for the Dreamliner, a mid-sized long-haul twin-jet designed to save fuel, and will be the first to fly one.

The CEO of ANA got a 5-minute standing ovation from 15,000 Boeing employees when the 787 was rolled out in Seattle last July.

But because of the production delay, ANA is now expecting to receive its first 787 in August 2009 -- 15 months later than originally planned.

To cover its capacity needs until the 787 delivery, ANA is to introduce nine Boeing 767-300ER aircraft in the 2010 and 2011 business years.

JAL, one of Boeing's most loyal customers, also said last week that it agreed with Boeing to postpone the first 787 delivery for 14 months until October 2009 and introduce a total of 11 Boeing 777 and 767 aircraft to meet its capacity needs.

The 787 production delay also means a delay in a pay-back for partners involved in the program.

Boeing has teamed up with some Japanese manufacturers for the 787 project, with Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries involved in the project.

Boeing Japan President Nicole Piasecki told reporters the 787 and other big manufacturing projects are complex and entail risks.

"At the end of the day this program has sold 900 aircraft. So we have every bit of confidence although the pay-back period will be longer," she said.

(Additional reporting by Tim Hepher in PARIS; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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British supermarket Tesco says net profit up 11 percent in first half (AFP)

Monday, September 29th, 2008 | Finance News

LONDON (AFP) -
Britain's biggest retailer Tesco said on Tuesday that its net profit jumped by almost 11 percent during the group's first half to more than one billion pounds as it beat off economic woes.

Tesco said in an earnings statement that profit after tax increased 10.9 percent to 1.038 billion pounds (1.304 billion euros, 1.870 billion dollars) in the six months to August 23, compared with the same period in 2007.

"Tesco is at its best in tough markets -- responding to the changing needs of customers -- and that's why we have been able to make good progress this year, despite facing into powerful economic headwinds," Tesco's chief executive Terry Leahy said in the statement.

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The Association of Settlement Companies Announces Annual Member Compliance Audit : TASC “Secret Shopper” Program and Online Audit Ensures High Standards by Member Companies

Monday, September 29th, 2008 | Financial Press Release

MADISON, Wis. (Business Wire EON/PRWEB ) September 22, 2008 --
The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC), a non-profit
organization that promotes fair business practices, consumer protection
and high industry standards for the debt settlement industry, has
announced it is conducting a complete bylaw compliance audit of its more
than 150 members, which began August 1.

The audit process is investigating and confirming member compliance with
organization bylaws which dictate business practices and ethics
standards. In addition to a review of Web site content, member audits
include secret shopper
calls placed by a third-party acting as potential customers. If a TASC
member is found to be in violation, they risk being removed from the
association in 60 days if the offending behavior is not amended.

In this economy, consumers are increasingly
looking for respected, go-to organizations, like TASC, to guide them to
reputable, trustworthy companies for debt relief assistance,
said Robby Birnbaum, TASC executive board member and attorney with
Greenspoon Marder, P.A. We take consumers
personal debt situations very seriously and expect our members to uphold
the high standards that the TASC seal represents. The TASC internal
audit is an opportunity to ensure strict compliance throughout our
membership.

The audit consists of two elements: first, reviewing the potential
customer experience over the telephone, and second, evaluating the
member companys Web site.

During the phone program, an independent, third-party company will
anonymously call TASC member companies at an unannounced date and time.
Upon reaching the member company, the secret
shopper will ask the debt analyst to
describe the companys debt settlement
offerings. The secret shopper
is tasked with listening to the debt analyst to confirm accuracy,
fairness and risk disclosure of the program. Compliance examples include
disclosing the possibility of lawsuits and appropriately advising
clients that interest and penalty fees will continue to accrue during
the debt settlement program. Possible red flags of non-compliance
include advising clients to stop paying creditors or promising that this
program will halt creditor calls.

The Web site review, conducted internally by TASC, will search for
specific requirements, such as openly available terms and conditions.
Another requirement is the posting of a hyperlinked TASC seal, which
directs potential customers to a privacy policy and the non-profits
educational Web site. The online audit also looks for restrictions, such
as marketing verbiage that misrepresents the debt settlement services
offered.

TASC wants to send a message that we will
not stand for negligent debt settlement companies,
Birnbaum said. Its
our responsibility to consumers and to reputable member companies to
enforce strict compliance across the board.

Should any violations be found, the member company will be provided
notice and 30 days to remedy the issue. If after that period the
violation continues, the member will be placed on 30-day probation with
indication of probationary status on the public TASC Web site. If after
that period the violation remains uncorrected, the member will be
removed from the association and lose membership rights, including the
privilege of displaying the TASC seal online.

About The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC)

The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC) promotes fair business
practices, consumer protection and industry standards for the debt
settlement industry. TASC, founded in 2005, serves to protect consumers
through an organization seal that represents best practices and
standards of reputable companies. The organization also protects its
member companies through lobbying efforts at the state and national
levels, as well as awareness initiatives to educate consumers on debt
settlement as a financial solution. All TASC member companies pledge
compliance to strict association bylaws governing business practices and
ethics. For more information, visit http://www.tascsite.org.

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