Business Briefs – March 31, 2016

Eurozone Inflation Rate Remains Below Zero in March

LONDON (AP) – In spite of a modest improvement in inflation that had its roots in the services sector, consumer prices across the 19-country eurozone fell in the year to March for the second month running, official figures showed Thursday.

In its estimate for the month, Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, said the headline inflation rate was minus 0.1 percent against the previous month’s reading of minus 0.2 percent. The modest uptick was in line with market expectations following recent figures showing a solid pick-up in German inflation.

Struggling Steel Industry Sparks Crisis in UK

LONDON (AP) – The British government scrambled Thursday to save the country’s struggling steel industry after Tata Steel announced plans to sell its U.K. plants, which employ almost 20,000 people.

Prime Minister David Cameron held a crisis meeting at 10 Downing St., and said the government would do “everything it can” to keep steelmaking in Britain.

The steel industry in Britain, like many developed economies, has been hit hard by cheap Chinese imports, which have depressed prices, and manufacturers have asked the government and European Union to impose anti-dumping duties.

Ford Recalls 38,000 Vans to Fix Side Curtain Air Bags

DETROIT (AP) – Ford says it’s recalling about 38,000 Transit vans in the U.S. and Canada because the side curtain air bags may not protect people properly in a crash.

The recall covers low-roof Transit vans from the 2015 and 2016 model years. The company says the bags on either side of the vans may have been folded incorrectly. They may not inflate at the proper angles to protect drivers or passengers. Ford says no crashes or injuries have been reported.

The affected vans were built from March 12, 2014 through March 18, 2016.

FTC Accuses Endo, Other Drugmakers Of Antitrust Violations

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) – The Federal Trade Commission has accused several drugmakers of violating antitrust laws, via agreements the commission said delayed the U.S. launches of cheaper generic versions of two popular pain treatments..

The FTC alleges Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., maker of Opana ER pain pills and the Lidoderm pain patch, paid Impax Laboratories Inc. and Watson Laboratories Inc., respectively, to delay selling their approved generic versions.

It’s the first so-called “pay for delay” case brought by the commission in which a drug’s original maker agreed not to sell its own “authorized generic” version until well after a generic drugmaker began selling its product.

Monaco, UK Probe ‘Vast Corruption Scandal’ in Oil Business

PARIS (AP) – Monaco’s government is joining British investigators in unraveling “a vast corruption scandal” implicating an unspecified number of international oil companies, the tiny European principality said in a statement released late Thursday.

The statement said several executives of the Monaco-based company UNAOIL had been questioned over the past few days and that their homes and headquarters had been searched following an urgent request from Britain’s Serious Fraud Office.

Few further details were made available.