Corporations and securities brief ~ Canada, EU retaliate against US Byrd Amendment News
Corporations and securities brief ~ Canada, EU retaliate against US Byrd Amendment

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's corporations and securities law news, Canada has retaliated against several US goods by levying a 15% surtax on cigarettes, oysters, and live swine. The action is a response to the Byrd Amendment [text] which allows American companies to keep the proceeds that Washington collects in anti-dumping disputes. Canada and other countries say that the amendment, which the WTO [official website] found to be illegal [JURIST story], unfairly enriches US rival firms. CTV has more. The European Union [official website] also announced it will impose retaliatory duties on US imports. The EU said the law has given American companies including Timken Co. [corporate website] and US Steel Corp. [corporate website] more than $1 billion in tariffs collected from foreign rivals. The EU will impose an extra 15% duty on some types of paper, clothing and machinery beginning May 1. The new tariffs will total about $28 million. Read the EU press release. Bloomberg has more.

In other news…

  • The European Union has approved the acquisition of the British industrial holding company Novar PLC by Honeywell International Inc. [corporate website] for $1.7 billion. Honeywell still needs to sell Esser Italia, Novar's fire alarm business in Italy, to gain full approval. Read the EU press release. Read the Honeywell press release. AP has more.
  • The Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Cos. [corporate website], which last year reduced the level of its proven reserves after overstating them, announced in an SEC filing [ZIP] that it had reserves of 11.9 billion barrels of oil and gas holdings at the end of 2004. The report indicates the company replaced less than half the oil it pumped last year with new finds. The report worries many investors who feel Shell will not be able to find proven oil reserves. Read the Shell press release. Reuters has more.
  • The SEC's top officer in Boston has announced that the agency and the Food and Drug Administration [official website] will step up cooperation to find drug companies that make misstatements to regulators. The FDA is now referring cases to the SEC [official website] and is willing to be become a witness in some investigations. The Boston Globe has more.
  • Origen Financial Inc. [corporate website], a real estate investment trust, has announced it will restate earnings after discovering an accounting error in a pool of loans it acquired. The company has asked for an extension to file its annual report with the SEC and is expected to finish it before April 15. Read the Origen press release. AP has more.
  • Mark V. Hurd, who takes over tomorrow as chief executive and president of Hewlett-Packard Co. [corporate website], will reportedly receive cash, stock and perks worth at least $20 million at the start of his new job. The Washington Post has more.
  • Continental Airlines [corporate website] flight attendants have rejected a tentative deal to cut wages and benefits. Continental said it would continue to work with the flight attendants saying their current pay is not sustainable. The airline will implement concessions made by other unions including those representing pilots and mechanics. AP has more.
  • Qwest Communications International [corporate website] has reportedly hired the Altman Group, a New York proxy firm, to contact MCI Inc. [corporate website] shareholders about Qwest's $8.5 billion acquisition offer for the company. The hiring indicates Qwest may launch a hostile takeover bid for MCI. MCI's board had accepted rival Verizon's $7.6 billion bid on Tuesday citing better growth prospects. CBSMarketWatch has more.

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