Cadbury hit with tax charge
Government tax authorities have accused the local unit of chocolate giant Cadbury PLC of evading US$46 million in taxes by pretending to produce sweets at a factory that did not exist, a report said yesterday. Cadbury India manipulated invoices and other documents to get a tax exemption for companies that began production in new plants in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh by March 31, 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the Directorate General of Central Excise Intelligence, which conducted the investigation, concluded that the plant could not have existed by 2010 as the company had not received the necessary government approvals, the Wall Street Journal said. Cadbury India, controlled by international snacks maker Mondelez International, said it was “reviewing” the notice from the tax authorities and would respond within the 30-day period granted to it.
Services growth accelerates
Service companies grew last month at the fastest pace in a year, buoyed by higher sales, more new orders and solid job growth. The gain suggests higher taxes have yet to slow consumer spending on services. The US Institute for Supply Management said on Tuesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 56 from 55.2 in January. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The report measures growth in industries that cover 90 percent of the workforce, including retail, construction, healthcare and financial services. Service firms also kept adding jobs last month. A measure of service-sector hiring fell only slightly after reaching a nearly seven-year high in January.
Stewart testifies on contract
Home decor and food guru Martha Stewart testified in court on Tuesday that she did nothing wrong when she signed an agreement to open shops within most of J.C. Penney’s stores across the US. Stewart testified in New York State Supreme Court as part of a legal battle over whether her company breached its contract to sell cookware, bedding and other items exclusively at Macy’s when she inked the deal with Penney in 2011. Stewart said it was Macy’s that did not uphold its end of the agreement to try to maximize the potential of her business. She said her brand had become “static” at the department store chain. The testimony comes as her company just finished its fifth straight year of losses. The company has also seen steep sales declines.
Facebook users ‘confused’
Facebook Inc’s users began sharing more private data after the social network giant revamped its policies and interface, according to a study released on Tuesday. The seven-year study by Carnegie Mellon University researchers said users had been moving toward greater privacy settings from 2005 to 2009, but that the trend reversed with the Facebook changes in 2009 and 2010. The study, appearing in The Journal of Privacy and Confidentiality, profiles data from a panel of 5,076 Facebook users. It is the first study to use data from Facebook’s early days in 2005. Researcher Ralph Gross said Facebook’s public efforts to increase user options “may increase members’ feeling of control,” but that apparent confusion among some led to “increases in disclosures of sensitive information to strangers.” However, Facebook cautioned against reading too much from a single study.