Boeing: Bulking up in South Carolina
Boeing (BA) will invest an additional $1 billion at its South Carolina plant over eight years and create at least 2,000 jobs. The two-year-old facility, the first Boeing has built outside Washington state, produces the 787 Dreamliner, which has been grounded globally since lithium-ion batteries overheated on two aircraft in January. The investment calls for purchasing an additional 320 acres at the facility and creating an information technology center. Boeing will receive state incentives of $120 million if it meets spending targets. The company recently completed testing of a new battery system and is trying to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to clear the Dreamliner for takeoff.
KPMG: A partner gets fired
KPMG said it dismissed the head of its Los Angeles audit practice for giving inside information to someone who used it to trade stocks. Though KPMG didn’t name the partner or the affected clients, Herbalife (HLF) and Skechers USA (SKX) reported that the firm was withdrawing as their auditor. Skechers said that Scott London was its lead auditor from KPMG. Federal officials are investigating, according to people with knowledge of the situation. KPMG said it didn’t believe financial results were materially misstated.
Ford: A global bestseller
It’s official: The Ford (F) Focus was the world’s best-selling car in 2012, according to automotive data firm R. L. Polk. Ford Motor sold 1.02 million Focus cars in 2012, topping 872,774 for Toyota Motor’s (TM) Corolla, Polk estimates. Ford probably hasn’t had a global bestseller since the days of founder Henry Ford’s Model T or its successor, the Model A, says John Wolkonowicz, an independent auto analyst. The Focus is especially popular in China, the world’s largest auto market: Registrations there surged 51 percent last year.
T-Mobile: An iPhone swap plan
When T-Mobile begins offering Apple’s (AAPL) new iPhone on April 12, it will allow customers to trade in old models. A customer who brings in a 4S will get an iPhone 5 without the usual down payment of $99.99 and receive a $120 credit toward future bills. The U.S. wireless unit of Deutsche Telekom (DTE:GR) has been trying to win customers by differentiating itself from other carriers. It offers payment plans for as little as $50 a month, and instead of subsidizing handsets it allows subscribers to pay for phones in monthly installments.
Carnival: Skip the motel and take a cruise
Carnival (CCL) is offering Caribbean cruises for as little as $38 a night, less than a stay at a Motel 6. The low prices come two months after an engine fire on Carnival’s Triumph stranded thousands of passengers at sea for several days. A four-night trip on the Inspiration, leaving Miami on April 22, costs $149 a person, including meals. Deep discounts after negative publicity are not new to the cruise operator. Pricing took a hit last year after its Costa Concordia ran aground off the coast of Italy, killing 32 passengers.