Adelphia Bankruptcy Judge Approves Creditor Plan
reports, and wire, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Adelphia Communications Corp.'s plan to pay creditors and end one of the biggest bankruptcy cases in U.S. history was approved Wednesday by a federal judge in New York. Adelphia, once the fifth- biggest U.S. cable television company, filed for protection from creditors in June 2002, a month before its founder, John Rigas, was arrested for looting the company. In July, Adelphia sold substantially all its cable operations to Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Inc. for $17.6 billion in cash and shares in Time Warner's cable unit. Of that amount, $15 billion will be distributed to creditors in cash and Time Warner Cable shares. After clearing the books, Greenwood Village, Colorado-based Adelphia will cease to do business. John Rigas and his son Timothy Rigas, who was Adelphia's finance chief, were convicted in July 2004 of conspiracy and securities fraud. John Rigas was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison; Timothy to 20. They are free pending the outcome of their appeals.
AE raises profit forecast
American Eagle Outfitters Inc., the Marshall-based teen clothing retailer, raised its fourth-quarter profit forecast after December sales exceeded analysts' estimates. Profit will probably rise to as much as 65 cents a share from a previous forecast of as much as 64 cents, the company said. Twenty-seven analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial forecast an average of 65 cents. American Eagle boosted December sales at stores open at least a year by 13 percent, beating Retail Metrics LLC's average survey estimate of an 8.6 percent gain. The retailer reduced discounts as shoppers bought sweaters, jeans, and its new intimate apparel assortment called aerie.
Foreclosures hit record
A record 4,727 foreclosure actions were filed in the Allegheny County in 2006, according to figures released by the county Sheriff's Office. The total is up from 4,469 actions filed in 2005, and from the previous record of 4,720 actions recorded in 2004. The figures include foreclosures initiated when property owners failed to pay on either mortgages, real estate taxes or utility bills.
Court upholds rail OK
L.B. Foster Co. said a federal appeals court has upheld the U.S. Surface Transportation Board's final approval for a major rail expansion project planned by Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad. The approval is subject to "certain environmental mitigation conditions," said Pittsburgh-based L.B. Foster, which owns a 13.4 percent stake in the railroad. The project involves construction of about 280 miles of new rail line to reach the coal mines of Wyoming's Power River Basin and the upgrade of nearly 600 miles of track in Minnesota and South Dakota. The largest such project in years, estimates in 2002 were that it would cost $1.4 billion and create 6,000 construction jobs and another 2,000 permanent railroad and coal jobs. However, it is being opposed by ranchers and environmentalists.
Kennametal buys plants
Kennametal Inc. on Wednesday said it acquired the industrial cutting tool business of Federal Signal Corp., Oak Brook, Ill., for about $67 million in cash. The sale includes Akron, Ohio-based Manchester Tool Co., On Time Machining Co., headquartered in Wapakoneta, Ohio, and Whitehouse, Ohio-based ClappDiCO Corp. The three companies generate annual sales of about $40 million. Neither Federal Signal or Kennametal could provide the number of workers at the three plants. Kennametal, the Unity-based industrial toolmaker, expects the deal to close later this month or early February.
Judge urges liquidation
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge M. Bruce McCullough Wednesday told attorneys in the LeNature's Inc. case that he believes the Chapter 11 bankruptcy was moving toward liquidation and he would not approve their fees "if you are headed in another direction. …