News Briefs

Enron bankruptcy-investigation fees; HealthSouth asks to suspend statements; Fed funds rate holds steady; International Paper; HSBC; Kraft; CSX; Countrywide Financial.

  • Bankruptcy court examiner Neal Batson said on Monday that he and his law firm, Alston & Bird LLP, will receive about $90 million for his recently concluded 18-month investigation of Enron Corp. Addressing reporters after a speech before the Detroit Economic Club, Batson conceded that the examination was “expensive,” but he maintained that “we brought value, and you will continue to see value brought to the creditors and other parties in interest in the estate,” according to Reuters.
  • HealthSouth Corp asked some debt holders to allow it to suspend furnishing periodic financial statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission and compliance certificates to the indenture trustees. The company, which is working its way through an accounting scandal, said it would pay a consent fee of $10 in cash for each $1,000 principal amount of notes held.
  • Following a unanimous vote by the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve held the overnight interest rate for loans between banks at 1 percent. The rate has held steady since June, and according to Reuters, analysts were surprised by how little the Fed’s analysis had changed since its last meeting, seven weeks ago.
  • International Paper raised $1 billion from a two-part offering in the bond market, led by UBS Investment Bank, Citigroup Global Markets Inc., and Morgan Stanley. The forest-products giant issued $600 million of 6-year notes priced to yield 4.016 percent and $400 million of 12-year notes priced to yield 5.288 percent.
  • HSBC Bank USA issued $1 billion of 10-year global subordinate notes, priced at 90 basis points over comparable treasurys, up from an originally planned $750 million.
  • Kraft Foods Inc. filed to shelf registration to periodically sell up to $4 billion in debt securities and warrants. The company said it plans to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, including debt refinancing.
  • CSX Corp. filed a shelf registration to sell to $1.2 billion in debt, stock, warrants, and trust preferred securities. The company said it will use the net proceeds for general corporate purposes, possibly including reducing or refinancing debt, capital expenditures, working capital, and redemption of securities. It also said net proceeds could be used for the implementation of workforce reductions, improvements in productivity, and other cost reductions at major surface transportation and international terminals.
  • Countrywide Financial Corp. said it will split its common stock 3-for-2. Its stock was recently trading around $90 a share.

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