By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Marion, Ind. — Thomson has cut output at its plant here for 25- and 27-inch picture tubes starting today, resulting in what the it calls an "indefinite layoff" of 335 employees. In addition, the plant's entire large-screen production area will work a 4-day schedule (Tuesday to Friday) for 13 consecutive weeks through mid-May. Thomson, which said is "not exiting the 25- and 27-inch tube business," here, took the actions "in response to market conditions and the need to manage inventories.
New York— Looking to strengthen its balance sheet, Satellite radio service provider Sirius is exchanging shares of common stock for all of its outstanding debt. Holders of about 79 percent in principal amount of Sirius debt securities have already agreed to tender in the offer. In the re-capitalization, debt holders will receive 779.5 shares of common stock for each $1,000 of obligation exchanged, including principal and interest. Completion of the exchange offer is conditioned upon, among other things, receipt of valid tenders from not less than 97 percent, in aggregate, principal amount of Sirius' outstanding debt. This minimum condition may be reduced with the consent of holders of Sirius' debt securities. The offer is set to expire March 4.
Tokyo — Sony and Swedish maker Ericsson each plan to invest an additional $162 million in their mobile phone joint venture, begun last fall. The additional capital is expected to help Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications improve its operations and financial health. The new company has been hurt by product delays and financial losses, but is expected to turn a profit in 2003, according to Sony. The joint venture, split 50-50, recorded a net loss of $74.6 million in the quarter ending Dec. 31, down from a net loss of $150.3 million a year earlier. Sales increased to $1.3 billion during the quarter, when the company shipped 7.1 million handsets, about 4 percent above the same period in 2001. Sony Ericsson expects total market sales of 435 million in 2003, 10 percent above the previous 12 months.
New York — Free-falling profit tied to plummeting stock prices, where share quotes have dropped under $1, has convinced the Nasdaq Stock Market to propose loosening of its $1 minimum listing requirement. With this change, companies would be given more time to lift share prices before disappearing from Nasdaq. Under the proposal, Nasdaq would extend a current pilot program — which allows grace periods to comply — to Dec. 31, 2004. Concerned companies also would have 180 calendar days, instead of 90, to meet the minimum listing requirements.
Washington — XM Satellite Radio has closed on its $475 million funding package, consisting of $225 million in new funds from strategic and financial investors and $250 million in payment deferrals and related credit facilities from General Motors. The company said the completion of this financing and refinancing gives it a clear path to cash flow breakeven in 2004. Previously, XM had increased its financing commitment to $475 million, with an addition of $25 million obtained from investors, in the company's proposed 10 percent Senior Secured Convertible Discount Notes, due in 2009. Even earlier, XM had announced a set of definitive financing agreements totaling $450 million, consisting of $200 million in new funds from investors and $250 million in payment deferrals and related credit facilities from General Motors. The new funds component will be increased to $225 million.
Littleton, Colo. — EchoStar Communications, provider of DISH Network satellite television, said its subsidiary, EchoStar DBS, has completed the repurchase of all of its outstanding 9 1/4 percent Senior Notes, due in 2006. The change comes three years early, and is allowed because of EchoStar's optional early redemption right. In accordance with the terms of the indenture governing the notes, the $375 million principal amount will be repurchased at 104.625 percent, a total of about $392 million.
Liberty Corners, N.J. — Air conditioner maker Fedders said — in announcing the results of its offer to holders of its common stock, to exchange each share of common for shares of Series A Cumulative Preferred Stock — 2.3 million shares of common stock had been validly tendered and not withdrawn. Fedders will exchange .14 shares of its new Series A Cumulative Preferred for each share of common stock tendered and issue a total of about 324,230 shares of Series A. No fractional shares of Series A will be issued, with shareholders receiving cash instead. Series A Cumulative Preferred Stock will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol FJCPrA, when issued.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.