Philippine rice tender fails
The Philippine government failed to buy rice yesterday after a tender to increase its buffer stock attracted only one bidder, highlighting global anxiety over the staple. The National Food Authority (NFA), the state-run grain importer, was seeking to buy 612,349 tonnes of rice to shore up its stockpiles. The government said last week it has already secured enough volume to make up for a 10 percent domestic shortfall. Only Vietnam Southern Food Corp, submitted a bid in yesterday’s tender, and even it did not comply with the required documents, NFA Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina said. The Philippines wants respective governments to guarantee that delivery contracts will be met. “We will wait for softer prices before scheduling another tender,” Jarina said.
UAL eyes US Airways
UAL Group, parent company of United Airlines, is looking at a possible merger with US Airways after its advances to Continental Airlines fell flat, the Wall Street Journal online reported on Sunday. The newspaper, citing people close to the affair, said talks have been ongoing for six weeks and a decision could be taken in the next 10 days. UAL and its smaller rival, US Airways, have reportedly identified US$1.5 billion in cost savings and revenue enhancements that could arise from a merger. However, the Journal cites concerns by some people involved about regulatory and labor problems posed by a match-up, which make it far from a done deal. Together, United and US Airways would become the world’s largest airline, slightly bigger than the new Delta-Northwest grouping. United originally planned a merger with Continental but its advances were rejected on April 27.
Deutsche Post hits target
Deutsche Post AG, Europe’s biggest postal service, said operations met forecasts in the first quarter and that it’s making progress in plans to turn around the ailing DHL Express unit in the US. “Business in the first quarter of 2008 was very satisfactory, with underlying profits making progress year on year and being in line with our targets and guidance,” the Bonn-based company said in a statement yesterday. DHL competes with United Parcel Service Inc and FedEx Corp, which have been struggling with an economic slowdown in the US and faltering demand for domestic express deliveries. The German mail carrier reiterated that it intends to announce a turnaround program for the US express-delivery unit by the end of this month. Deutsche Post, which is scheduled to release first-quarter figures on May 14, said the logistics and express units’ volume growth in the period was “similar to the latter part of 2007.” New orders from its largest customers have been “generally encouraging,” it said.
CAW reaches deal with Ford
Union officials say the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) have approved a three-year contract with Ford. CAW spokeswoman Shannon Devine says the membership voted 78 percent in favor on Sunday. The union says the deal keeps Ford’s labor costs essentially the same as they are now. The deal freezes wages and cuts vacation pay but avoids changes to base wages. It also prevents a two-tier wage system used in the US, where new hires would be paid about half the hourly wages of older employees. Negotiations with GM were to start yesterday and talks with Chrysler begin today. CAW expects those automakers to accept similar terms.