Wal-Mart replaces executive
Wal-Mart Stores Inc promoted Enrique Ostale, head of its Chilean stores, to president and chief executive officer of its Latin American operations as the retailer probes possible bribery in multiple regional markets. Ostale assumes the new role March 1, the Bentonville, Arkansas-based company said on Friday in a statement. Current Latin American chief Eduardo Solorzano will retire from the role and continue to serve on the board of Walmart de Mexico. Solorzano’s retirement is not related to the probe, Wal-Mart spokesman Kevin Gardner said. The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating allegations that the world’s largest retailer systematically bribed Mexican officials to more quickly open stores.
AIG sues to keep rights
American International Group (AIG) Inc sued to preserve its right to seek damages from the originators of devalued residential mortgage-backed securities it had to sell to the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2008. AIG said in a complaint filed on Friday in New York state court in Manhattan that Maiden Lane II, an entity created by the bank to buy US$21 billion of the bonds to shore up the insurer’s liquidity, alleges it owns the litigation claims for the bonds, including claims brought by AIG against Bank of America Corp over Countrywide Financial Corp’s mortgage-backed securities. New York-based AIG on Thursday declined to join its former chief executive officer, Maurice Greenberg, in a lawsuit against the US after lawmakers had said the case was an insult to taxpayer who bailed out the insurer during the 2008 financial crisis.
Hostess happy with Flowers
Hostess Brands Inc, the bankrupt maker of Wonder bread and Twinkies, said Flowers Foods Inc is the lead bidder for most of the assets of its bread-baking operations. “We are pleased with the Flowers offers and look forward to a robust auction process that will allow these iconic brands to continue and to maximize value for all of the company’s stakeholders,” Hostess chief executive officer Gregory Rayburn said in a statement on Friday. The proposed accord with Flowers Foods includes the purchase of the Wonder, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita and Nature’s Pride brands, 20 bakeries, 38 depots and other assets for US$355 million, which may be increased to US$360 million if certain license rights are included in the sale. The remaining bread brands, as well as its snack cake business, will be sold separately, according to the statement.
Jessops to close stores
Jessops, the British camera retailer that went into administration on Wednesday, said it was closing all of its 187 stores on Friday, resulting in about 1,370 job losses. Joint administrator Rob Hunt at PricewaterhouseCoopers said he had held talks with suppliers, but it was apparent that the chain could not continue to trade. “We have had to make the difficult decision to begin the closure of all 187 Jessops stores at the close of business today,” he said in a statement.