Business Briefs – January 22, 2017

China’s Growth in 2016 Slumps as Trump Trade Struggle Looms

BEIJING (AP) – China’s economic growth sank to a three-decade low in 2016 as its struggling exporters brace for a possible trade battle with President-elect Donald Trump.

Growth in the quarter ending in December ticked up to 6.8 percent over 2015, supported by government spending and a real estate boom, a gain from the previous quarter’s 6.7 percent, government data showed Friday. Still, for the full year, growth came in at a lackluster 6.7 percent, down from 6.9 percent in 2015 and the weakest since 1990’s 3.9 percent.

That temporary upturn is unlikely to last, economists said.

Ford Expects $2B Net Income Drop Due to Pension Change

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) – Ford says that a change in the way it values pension obligations will cut its 2016 net income by $2 billion.

Ford will record a pretax pension charge of about $3 billion for the year. It says the loss is a special item so it won’t affect adjusted pretax profit. Ford still expects to meet guidance of about $10.2 billion in adjusted pretax profit for last year.

Ford Motor Co. reports fourth-quarter and full-year earnings on Thursday.

Apple Depicts Qualcomm as a Shady Monopolist in $1b Lawsuit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Apple is suing mobile chip maker Qualcomm for $1 billion in a patent fight pitting the iPhone maker against one of its major suppliers.

The complaint filed Friday in a San Diego federal court depicts Qualcomm as a monopolist abusing its power in a key segment of the mobile chip market to extort royalties for iPhone innovations that have nothing to do with Qualcomm’s technology.

Apple says it has been cooperating with government regulators who have been investigating Qualcomm’s business practices, prompting Qualcomm to retaliate by withholding about $1 billion in scheduled payments.

Court: Indian Lending Companies Subject to Federal Probe

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A federal appeals court says lending companies operated by Native American tribes are subject to investigation by a government regulator.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on Friday rejected a claim by three tribes that their lending companies were protected by tribal sovereignty from investigation by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. At issue were for-profit lending companies created by three tribes — the Chippewa Cree, Tunica Biloxi and Otoe Missouria.

The Chippewa Cree’s lending company, Plain Green, has been accused of predatory loan practices — a claim that company officials deny.

Las Vegas Sands Paying $7M to Settle Corrupt Practices Probe

LAS VEGAS (AP) – Las Vegas Sands Corp. will pay almost $7 million to U.S. authorities to end a more than five-year corrupt practices investigation, company and federal officials said Thursday.

With the agreement, the company resolved twin probes over more than $60 million paid to an unnamed agent retained in 2006 to acquire a Chinese basketball team, plus other business dealings that include a Beijing real estate deal to promote casinos on the Cotai Strip of Macao.

The company wasn’t charged with a crime and did not admit guilt in either case.