Business Briefs – May 2, 2018

Iconic Guitar Maker Gibson Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The maker of the Gibson guitar, omnipresent on the American music stage for decades, is filing for bankruptcy protection after wrestling for years with debt. Gibsons have been esteemed by generations of guitar legends. A pre-negotiated re-organization plan filed Tuesday will allow Gibson Brands Inc. to continue operations with $135 million in financing from lenders.

How U.S. Small Businesses Can Navigate the Trade Wars

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration has so far avoided a trade fight with Europe by temporarily exempting it from hefty steel and aluminum tariffs. Yet the move extends the uncertainty weighing on small businesses that use those materials, a much broader group than you’d think. Amid the uncertainty, here are some of the strategies small businesses can follow to ease the blow of trade fights: Be informed about how your business might be affected. Look for supply alternatives. And work with bigger partners.

California Sues Over Plan to Scrap Car Emission Standards

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California and 16 other states sued the Trump administration on Tuesday over its plans to scrap standards on vehicle greenhouse gas emissions, which help set gas mileage rules. The suit announced by Gov. Jerry Brown and state Attorney General Xavier Becerra takes aim at a plan by the Environmental Protection Agency to roll back and revise emissions standards for vehicles manufactured between 2022 and 2025.

Pace of U.S. Factory Growth Slows Again in April

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. manufacturers say the pace of their expansion continued to slow in April, with many factories saying their output is still growing but is crimped by shortages of workers and skills. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, reported Tuesday that its manufacturing index fell to 57.3 percent last month from March’s reading of 59.3. Any score above 50 signals growth.

Merck Posts Strong First-Quarter Profit, But Revenue Light

(AP) – Drugmaker Merck’s first-quarter revenue rose 6 percent, driven by a huge jump in sales of cancer blockbuster Keytruda, but a $1.4 billion charge for starting a research partnership with Japanese drugmaker Eisai dragged down profits by more than half.

Despite that deal, analysts on a call to discuss Merck’s results Tuesday peppered company executives about plans for major acquisitions or other strategies to diversify, given that Keytruda now accounts for about 15 percent of total revenue.