Business Briefs – December 18, 2019

UK Services Industry Sees Little Joy in Post-Brexit World

LONDON (AP) — Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s victory in the general election has provided little comfort to Britain’s once world-beating financial services industry. The sector has been battered by Brexit for more than three years. And while Johnson’s triumph created optimism that he would end three years of political stalemate, it virtually guarantees the United Kingdom will leave the European Union on January 31. That starts the clock on efforts to negotiate a trade deal with the bloc by the end of 2020. The financial industry is seeking assurances that service businesses like theirs won’t lose the unfettered access to European markets that has underpinned growth for more than four decades.

Calif Consumer Privacy Law Can Affect Businesses Across U.S.

NEW YORK (AP) – Companies across the U.S. may find themselves subject to a new California law starting Jan. 1. The California Consumer Privacy Act gives residents of the state control over personal information companies collect, store and often share with other businesses. Under the law, consumers have the right to know what personal information companies collect from them, and what companies do with it. That includes whether they share, transfer or sell information, and who is the recipient of the information. Under a key provision, companies must give consumers the option to have their information deleted from databases. Companies can be subject to the law even if they’re not located in California.

Shipping Industry Proposes Fund To Tackle Carbon Emissions

BERLIN (AP) – A global shipping industry organization is proposing a research and development program to help cut carbon dioxide emissions. It would be funded by about $5 billion from shipping companies over the span of a decade. The International Chamber of Shipping said Wednesday that it is proposing creating a nongovernmental organization known as the International Maritime Research and Development Board.

Fiat Chrysler-Peugeot Merger Could Bring More Clean Vehicles

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot plan to merge into the world’s fourth-largest automaker, a giant that could produce a wider variety of cleaner vehicles at a faster pace, including more vehicles powered by electricity. The boards of the two companies signed the deal on Wednesday to achieve what neither was good at alone: conquering the challenges of stricter emission rules and navigating the transition to battery-powered and autonomous vehicles. The new company does not yet have a name. It will be led by Peugeot’s cost-cutting CEO Carlos Tavares.

Ailing Former WorldCom CEO Agency Fines Company $26k for Fatal Dallas Crane Collapse

DALLAS (AP) — A federal agency has levied a fine of about $26,000 against the company that owns the crane that slashed through an apartment building near downtown Dallas. The June 9 collapse killed one resident and displaced hundreds. The Dallas Morning News reports Wednesday that the citation issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration against Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. doesn’t explain the cause of the collapse during a windstorm. Randy Smith, the corporate counsel for Bigge, says the company will appeal OSHA’s citations.

New York Life to Spend $6.3B on Cigna Business

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Life is spending more than $6 billion in cash to buy the group life and disability coverage business of the insurer Cigna. The life insurer said Wednesday that the deal will add millions of customers to its business. It also gives Cigna cash to buy back stock and pare its debt. New York Life has been operating for more than 174 years and is among the nation’s oldest life insurers. The company is owned by policy holders and does not trade publicly. The deal is expected to close in next year’s third quarter.

Mercedes Agrees to $13M U.S. Fine for Recall Reporting Flaws

DETROIT (AP) — Mercedes Benz will pay a penalty of $13 million to United States safety regulators for a string of reporting failures involving recalled vehicles. The German automaker agreed to the payment in a settlement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Last year the agency opened an investigation into recall reporting lapses by Mercedes involving more than 1.4 million vehicles.