News

Boeing reports loss as pandemic, Air Force One problems weigh on it

FAST FOOD

Pizza, tacos, and fried chicken drive profits at Yum Brands

Profit for the company that runs Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC restaurants more than tripled during the first quarter and same-store sales surged as coronavirus restrictions began to lift this year. Yum Brands earned $326 million, or $1.07 per share, for the period ended March 31, which last year was marked by exploding COVID-19 infections in the United States. In that three-month stretch last year, the company’s profit fell to $83 million, compared with $262 million in the same three months in 2019. So the bounce back for the company’s restaurants was better than pre-pandemic levels. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

ELECTRIC VEHICLES

EPA accuses Tesla of skirting rules on car coatings

The US Environmental Protection Agency accused Tesla this month of failing to prove it’s complying with hazardous air-pollutant rules related to the surface coatings of its electric cars. Tesla disclosed the allegations Wednesday in a quarterly filing. The company said it refutes the allegations, is responding to the EPA’s information requests, and doesn’t expect the matter to have a material adverse impact on its business. The EPA’s rules aim to limit emissions from hazardous pollutant materials used in carmakers’ coating operations. The regulator also restricts emissions from volatile organic compounds used in coating activities. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

TAXES

Two senators want Justice, IRS to probe political interference in tax cases

Two Democratic senators are asking the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service if political interference by former president Donald Trump’s administration played any role in the stalled tax investigations of Caterpillar and Renaissance Technologies. In letters sent Wednesday, Senators Ron Wyden and Sheldon Whitehouse ask whether William Barr, who served as attorney general for almost two years under Trump, ever communicated with the White House or Justice Department about the grand jury investigationof Caterpillar. Before serving as attorney general, Barr represented the company in a probe that burst into view with a high-profile US raid on its headquarters in March 2017. Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Whitehouse also asked whether the Trump White House communicated with anyone at the Justice Department or IRS about Renaissance, a hedge fund whose former co-chief executive officer, Robert Mercer was an influential backer of Trump. A bipartisan Senate panel in 2014 estimated that investors in Renaissance’s flagship Medallion fund underpaid their taxes by about $6.8 billion over more than a decade by masking short-term gains as long-term returns. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

INDUSTRY

Bain Capital to buy Hitachi’s metal unit

Hitachi is selling its metal unit to a group led by Bain Capital for $3.5 billion, accelerating the Japanese conglomerate’s plan to restructure its sprawling business. Hitachi, which owns more than half of Hitachi Metals Ltd., will sell its stake at 1,674 yen per share, the Tokyo-based company said Wednesday. Bain, which is part of a consortium that includes Japan Industrial Partners and Japan Industrial Solutions, will also launch a tender offer in November to acquire the shares in Hitachi Metals that the parent doesn’t own. Bain is expanding in Japan, along with Carlyle Group and KKR as competition heats up among the world’s biggest private-equity firms to win deals from businesses undertaking overhauls. The Japanese company, which is more than a century old, has been overhauling its business that extends from kitchen appliances to power grids to boost its margin. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

BANKING

Deutsche Bank sees best quarter in seven years

Deutsche Bank saw its strongest quarterly profits in seven years as the bank’s long-running restructuring achieved lower costs and as the bank suffered fewer loan losses in an economy that is rebounding from the worst of the pandemic recession. The quarterly results showed a distinctly different narrative for the bank, which had struggled for years with high costs and low profits as it faced heavy fines and trouble with regulators over matters such as manipulating interest benchmarks, lax money laundering protections, and selling mortgage-based bonds that went bad. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

INSURANCE

Chubb no longer interested in Hartford

Chubb said it’s no longer interested in pursuing a takeover of Hartford Financial Services. “The chapter with the Hartford is closed,” Chubb chief executive Evan Greenberg said Wednesday on a conference call. “We have moved along.” Hartford rejected three acquisition offers from Chubb, with the largest a proposal to pay $70 a share, or about $25 billion. Hartford said earlier this month that its board unanimously rejected that bid. Hartford has long been considered a takeover candidate for the world’s biggest insurers, including Chubb, Allianz, and Zurich Insurance Group. After Chubb approached Hartford about a deal, Allianz was said to have mulled a counteroffer. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AUTOMOTIVE

Toyota set a global sales record in March

Toyota’s global sales in March rose to a record, as the automaker’s ability to keep churning out vehicles amid a global shortage of chips puts the company in prime position to capitalize on a resurgence in demand for cars. Toyota’s global sales in March rose 44 percent to 982,912 units, a record for a single month, the company said in a statement Wednesday. The world’s largest automaker produced 843,393 units that month, up 32 percent from a year earlier, when the pandemic was forcing global automakers to suspend production in factories. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

DELIVERY

The latest: Thin Mints delivered by drone

Missing out on Thin Mints in the pandemic? A Google affiliate is using drones to deliver Girl Scout cookies to people’s doorsteps in a Virginia community. The town of Christiansburg has been a testing ground for commercial delivery drones operated by Wing, a subsidiary of Google’s corporate parent Alphabet. Now the company is adding the iconic boxed cookies to the more mundane drugstore offerings, FedEx packages, and locally-made pastries, tacos, and cold brew coffees it’s been hauling to a thinly populated area of residential subdivisions since 2019. Wing said it began talking to local Girl Scout troops because they’ve been having a harder time selling cookies during the pandemic, when fewer people are out and about. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

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