U.K. lawmakers rail against Kraft
LONDON (AP) -- A cross-party committee of British lawmakers has accused Kraft Foods Inc. of acting "irresponsibly and unwisely" during its $17.5 billion takeover of Cadbury.
In a highly critical report Tuesday, the Business Select Committee said that the controversy surrounding the deal would have long-term implications for Britain's takeover laws.
The months-long hostile battle by Kraft, based in Northfield, Ill., to win the 195-year-old British chocolate maker dominated headlines in Britain, where Cadbury is a much-loved brand, amid criticism about the U.S. company's tactics.
The Business Select Committee said that Kraft's promise to keep open a British factory -- only to announce its closure after the takeover was completed earlier this year -- had left the company open to charges of either "incompetence" or a "cynical ploy" to win support for its bid.
Australia raises interest rates
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) -- Australia's central bank raised its key interest rate Tuesday for a fifth time in six months and said the economy no longer needs the stimulus of low rates with unemployment lower than expected and housing sales robust.
The quarter-percentage-point rise took the benchmark rate to 4.25 percent and followed a warning last week by the central bank governor that mortgage rates would continue to rise.
"It is appropriate for interest rates to be closer to average" because this year's economic growth and inflation are likely to be near target levels, the Reserve Bank of Australia bank said in a statement.
Australia weathered the global downturn better than most developed countries and the economy grew at its fastest pace in nearly two years in the fourth quarter of 2009.
The central bank cited indications that lenders were more willing to lend, buoyancy in the housing market and lower unemployment than expected.
India courts U.S. companies
NEW DELHI (AP) -- India invited U.S. companies to invest in developing its infrastructure on Tuesday as Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Indian leaders launched an effort to expand economic ties.
Geithner met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and took part in the first meeting of the U.S.-India Economic and Financial Partnership to promote trade and investment. The initiative is part of the Obama administration's efforts to forge closer relations with India, a fast-growing economy, the most populous democracy and a stable ally in a complex region.
Mukherjee said U.S. companies were invited to invest in projects in ports, roads and telecommunications, which he said could absorb up to $600 billion in foreign investment over five years.
AT&T promises more investment
AT&T Inc. said it would invest $1 billion to upgrade its business network, services and products for large companies worldwide as well as for small U.S. firms as network traffic in global economies migrate from voice to video and data.
The investment brings to more than $4 billion the total that AT&T has spent to upgrade its systems and services for over 3.5 million businesses since 2006.
The changes range from increasing U.S. broadband speeds available over copper wires to laying additional undersea cables to boost data flow capacity to Europe, Asia and elsewhere.
AT&T has previously announced plans to boost its mobile broadband capabilities, such as investing more in Wi-Fi and the next generation broadband technology called Long Term Evolution, so wireless users can have smoother, easier online access. It will increase support for wireless devices, such as netbooks and electronic readers, for businesses.