Originally created 09/22/05

Business briefs



BRIEFLY

Worldcom holders will get payments

NEW YORK - A federal judge wednesday approved a settlement that will return more than $6.1 billion to investors who lost money in the Worldcom Inc. accounting fraud.

The deals will divide payments among about 830,000 people and institutions that held stocks or bonds in the company around the time of its collapse in 2002.

Money for the payouts will come from a list of defendants, including investment banks, auditing firms and former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers, who was convicted of fraud earlier this year and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

FedEx profits on higher volumes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - FedEx Corp. reported Wednesday that first-quarter profits rose modestly after an accounting change, but an increase in daily package volume helped the shipping company exceed analysts' expectations.

FedEx said high fuel prices and Hurricane Katrina's havoc had little effect on its business. It earned $339 million, or $1.10 per share, for the three months ending Aug. 31, up from $330 million, or $1.08 per share, last year. Without a one-time charge from changing its lease accounting, earnings would have been $1.25 per share.

ConAgra earnings benefit from sale

OMAHA, Neb. - Food company ConAgra Foods Inc. said Wednesday that its first-quarter earnings more than doubled, reflecting a large gain from selling its remaining shares in Pilgrim's Pride Corp. and solid performance in several areas of the business.

The producer of Butterball turkeys and Chef Boyardee foods said net income surged to $352.1 million, or 68 cents per share, in the three months ending Aug. 28, from $134.7 million, or 26 cents per share, a year ago.

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