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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Higher Sales Lift Chrysler To $183M 2011 Profit

February 1, 2012 4:03 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Chrysler, propelled by higher sales of Jeeps and other revamped cars and trucks, reported its first annual net income since 1997, capping a pivotal turnaround year that many thought would never come. The U.S. automaker, now privately held and majority owned by Italy's Fiat SpA, earned $183 million last year, reversing a $652 million loss in 2010, its first full year out of bankruptcy protection.

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Russia Blames Radiation For Probe Failure

January 31, 2012 8:31 am | by Jim Heintz, Associated Press

MOSCOW (AP) — The head of Russia's space agency said Tuesday that cosmic radiation was the most likely cause of the failure of a Mars moon probe that crashed to Earth this month, and suggested that a low-quality imported component may have been vulnerable to the radiation. Vladimir Popovkin also said a manned launch to the International Space Station is being postponed from March 30 because of faults found in the Soyuz capsule.

Oshkosh Profit Falls On Slow Defense Sales

January 31, 2012 8:29 am

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) — Truck maker Oshkosh Corp. said Tuesday that its profit fell by nearly two-thirds in its fiscal first quarter on lower sales of some military vehicles and parts. Lower spending by cities, fewer sales to airports and "operational challenges" at a Florida plant hurt sales of fire and other emergency vehicles in the quarter, the company added.

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Salami Plant To Pay $700K For Ammonia Leak

January 31, 2012 8:27 am

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The owners of a South San Francisco salami plant will pay nearly $700,000 and overhaul its refrigeration system as part of a federal judgment stemming from an ammonia leak that sickened almost four dozen people. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Justice say Columbus Foods will pay the penalty for the August 2009 gas release without acknowledging wrongdoing.

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U.S. Steel 4Q Loss Narrows

January 31, 2012 8:25 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — U.S. Steel Corp. said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter loss narrowed as strong demand for pipes from the oil industry boosted revenue. The company was optimistic about the current quarter, and shares jumped 5 percent in morning trading. The steel maker, which is based in Pittsburgh, said that results in the current period will improve from levels in the October-December quarter, which were hurt by a weak steel market.

Judge Upholds $919M Award For DuPont

January 31, 2012 8:21 am

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — A federal judge in Virginia has refused to overturn the jury's decision on a $919 million damage award against a South Korea company that lost a trade secrets lawsuit to the DuPont Co. A jury last year ruled that Kolon Industries had maliciously and willfully misappropriated DuPont technology for high-strength synthetic fibers used in products such as Kevlar body armor.

Japan's Industrial Output Rebounds

January 31, 2012 8:20 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press

TOKYO (AP) — Japan's industrial production rebounded 4 percent in December from November and household spending increased for a second month, suggesting the still-weak economy is gaining some steam after last year's tsunami disaster and flooding in Thailand that disrupted manufacturers' supply chains.

ThyssenKrupp Selling Stainless Steel Unit

January 31, 2012 4:11 am

BERLIN (AP) — German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG said Tuesday it is selling its stainless steel unit Inoxum to Finland's Outokumpu Oyj in a euro2.7 billion ($3.54 billion) deal. The German company said an agreement in principle had been reached between the two companies and that ThyssenKrupp's management board had already approved the deal.

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Indian Air Force To Buy 126 Rafale Jets

January 31, 2012 4:10 am | by Nirmala George, Associated Press

NEW DELHI (AP) — India has decided to buy 126 French-made Rafale combat aircraft for the Indian air force, clinching a massive $11 billion defense deal, a top government official said Tuesday. The French aviation company Dassault snapped up the $11 billion deal after emerging with the lowest bid in a two-way competition against the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, the official said.

Obama Touts Auto Industry Success Story

January 31, 2012 4:07 am | by Ken Thomas, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama wears his decision to rescue General Motors and Chrysler three years ago as a badge of honor, a move to save jobs in an industry that helped create the backbone of the middle class more than a half-century ago. For Obama, the auto bailout is a case study for his efforts to revive the economy and a potential point of contrast with Republican Mitt Romney, who opposed Obama's decision to pour billions of dollars into the auto companies.

EU Probes Samsung, Germany Blocks Its Tablets

January 31, 2012 4:05 am | by David Rising, Gabriele Steinhauser, Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — Samsung took a hit in its battle against arch-rival Apple on Tuesday, when the European Union announced it will investigate whether it is illegally trying to hinder competitors and Germany blocked sales of some of its tablets. Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc. are engaged in a strategic war over patents in many countries across the world as they try to draw market share away from each other.

Analysts: RIM Is Losing Interest

January 31, 2012 4:03 am

MONTREAL — Research In Motion's new marketing campaign to attract more consumers in the United States only calls attention to its lack of new smartphones and its vulnerable position in the marketplace, analysts said Monday. "It's like saying, 'I am wounded, please look at me,'" said Raymond Pirouz, who lectures in marketing and new media at the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University in London, Ont.

Japanese Suppliers To Pay Price-Fixing Fine

January 31, 2012 3:59 am | by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Japanese auto suppliers have agreed to pay more than half a billion dollars in criminal fines for a price-fixing conspiracy in the sale of parts to U.S. automakers, the Justice Department announced Monday. Yazaki Corp. agreed to pay a $470 million fine, the second-largest criminal fine obtained for an antitrust violation.

Boeing Closure Spurs Interest By Job Recruiters

January 30, 2012 8:26 am

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Aerospace companies seeking engineers and other workers have been reaching out to Boeing Co. following its announcement this month that it will close its plant in Wichita. Boeing, which employs 600 engineers at the Wichita plant, plans to move some of the work to its facilities in Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Seattle over the next two years.

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Suit Claims Silicon Valley Anti-Poaching Scheme

January 30, 2012 8:24 am | by Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press

SAN JOSE, California (AP) — In Silicon Valley's white-hot competition for tech talent, programmers can face a daily barrage of calls from recruiters seeking to woo them to rival companies with offers of better pay and perks. But workers for some of the biggest names in the business claim their phones fell silent because of a conspiracy among their employers.

ABB To Buy Thomas & Betts For $3.9B

January 30, 2012 8:20 am | by John Heilprin, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — Swiss engineering group ABB Ltd. said Monday that it has agreed to pay $3.9 billion in cash for Thomas & Betts Corp., a deal that boosts its market presence in North America. The Zurich-based maker of power and automation technology and the Memphis, Tennessee-based supplier of low-voltage products jointly announced that both companies' boards have agreed to ABB paying $72 a share for the U.

Incomes Up, But Consumer Spending Flat

January 30, 2012 8:18 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans' income rose in December by the most in nine months, a hopeful sign for the economy after a year of weak wage gains. But consumers didn't spend any more than they had in November. Americans ended up saving all their additional income. Economists noted that income rose last month largely because of strong hiring.

Gov't Steps Up Jeep Air Bag Probe

January 30, 2012 8:14 am

DETROIT (AP) — Federal safety regulators have stepped up their investigation into the Jeep Liberty SUV after 50 people reported they were hurt when the air bags inflated even though the vehicle wasn't involved in a crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration started investigating Liberty SUVs made by Chrysler Group LLC from the 2002 and 2003 model years in September.

WTO: China Unfairly Limits Raw Materials Exports

January 30, 2012 8:12 am | by John Heilprin, Associated Press

GENEVA (AP) — The World Trade Organization ruled Monday that China unfairly limited exports of nine raw materials to protect domestic manufacturers. A WTO appeals body rejected China's appeal of an earlier ruling in July that concluded the Asian economic powerhouse had violated international trade rules.

BMW Launches Eco-Friendly Sedans

January 30, 2012 4:05 am

TOKYO, Jan. 30 (Kyodo) — BMW Japan Corp. said Monday it began selling in Japan its fully-remodeled series of BMW 3 sedans, which will qualify for tax breaks as well as planned subsidies for environment-friendly vehicles. The new 328i models, equipped with 2.0-liter engines and auto-stop functions, have a fuel economy of 15.

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