Originally created 11/21/02

Business briefs



Philip Morris asks for new tests

NEW YORK - Philip Morris U.S.A. has asked the Federal Trade Commission to develop new rules governing the measure and disclosure of tar and nicotine yields of cigarette brands.

Last month, the cigarette giant filed a petition with the FTC asking the agency to develop new tests which accurately reflect the tar and nicotine inhaled by a smoker.

Philip Morris spokesman Brendan McCormick said the machines now used to measure tar and nicotine can't always mimic smokers' inhalation patterns adequately.

Testimony starts in Wal-Mart overtime suit

PORTLAND, Ore. - Testimony began Wednesday in a class-action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging that the world's largest retailer cheated employees out of overtime pay.

More than 400 employees from 24 of Wal-Mart's 27 Oregon stores have joined the suit, the first to come to trial of dozens of such suits around the country.

Plaintiffs want backpay, which attorneys say could total several million dollars. The trial is expected to last five weeks.

FedEx to raise rates

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - FedEx Corp., the parent of the world's largest express-delivery company, said Wednesday it will raise delivery rates as much as 3.9 percent, starting Jan. 6.

The increases will push up the price of a FedEx Express shipment by about 3.5 percent and FedEx Ground by 3.9 percent, the company said.

Earlier this month, FedEx's rival, United Parcel Service Inc., also announced it was raising delivery rates beginning next year.

Pfizer review extended

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union's antitrust office on Wednesday extended its review of Pfizer Inc.'s proposed $60 billion purchase of Pharmacia Corp. Pfizer said the drugmakers will provide more requested information shortly.

The EU said the extension would give it more time to negotiate concessions from the companies. EU Commission spokeswoman Amelia Torres wouldn't say how much extra time regulators would take to review the merger.

Although few product overlaps exist in Europe, lawyers anticipated that regulators would require some divestitures.