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Aramco gains 40-year Saudi concession

Saudi Arabia has granted its state-owned oil company a 40-year concession to exploit the kingdom's hydrocarbon reserves as part of Aramco's preparation for a potential initial public offering, a person familiar with the matter said.

The pact replaces norms dating in some cases from 1933, when the kingdom first agreed to let companies drill for oil there, the source said, asking not to be named discussing internal matters. Saudi Aramco declined to comment.

The legal change may mean little initially since the IPO has been put on hold while Aramco closes a deal to buy a majority stake in a local petrochemical company worth as much as $70 billion. But Khalid al-Falih, the Saudi oil minister, said last week that the kingdom remained "committed to the IPO of Saudi Aramco at a time of its own choosing when conditions are optimum."

As part of the IPO preparations, Riyadh reissued "a long-term exclusive concession" to the state-owned company, al-Falih said.

In 1933, Riyadh signed a concession deal with several American oil companies, and it was extended in 1939 to 60 years. When Saudi Arabia created the current form of Aramco in 1988, the royal decree stated that the company would enjoy the rights and privileges of the original deal.

-- Bloomberg News

Missouri's meat-labeling law draws suit

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- Vegetarian food-maker Tofurky filed a lawsuit in Missouri on Monday seeking to defend its right to describe its products with meat terminology such as "sausage" and "hot dogs," as long as the packaging makes clear what the ingredients are.

The Hood River, Ore.-based company and The Good Food Institute, an advocacy and lobbying group for meat alternatives, say a Missouri law set to take effect today that bars companies from "misrepresenting" products as meat if they're not from "harvested livestock or poultry" is too vague and could be used to go after a range of vegetarian products that use such terminology. Tofurky says if the law is allowed to stand, it would have to change its packaging.

The Missouri Cattlemen's Association, which supported the statute, said its concern isn't with products like Tofurky that make clear they're from plants. Mike Deering, the group's executive vice president, said the worry is the emerging science of meat grown by culturing animal cells in a lab, and whether they'll disclose how they were made once they're on the market.

As companies push newer meat substitutes, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association has also said protecting "beef nomenclature" is a priority. The U.S. Cattlemen's Association, a smaller group, petitioned the U.S. Department of Agriculture in February to enforce that "beef" and "meat" only be used for animals "born, raised and harvested in the traditional manner."

-- The Associated Press

JetBlue raises fees for checked bags

JetBlue Airways Corp., which for years let passengers check luggage at no charge, became the first major U.S. carrier to bump the fee for a first checked bag to $30.

The $5 increase is effective for trips booked starting Monday. JetBlue also raised the charge for a second checked bag by $5 to $40 and for a third piece to $150 from $100, according to the airline's website.

The move marks an effort to offset weaker ancillary revenue, rising fuel prices and other increased costs as the New York-based carrier slows its growth. Executives said in July that they were planning changes to grapple with the squeeze on profit.

"As a matter of good business, we constantly review and adjust our ancillary pricing to ensure a healthy business," said JetBlue spokesman Doug McGraw.

Delta Air Lines Inc., American Airlines Group Inc. and United Continental Holdings Inc. charge $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second. Fees for a third piece of luggage vary. Southwest Airlines Co. is the only large U.S. airline that doesn't charge for a single checked suitcase.

-- Bloomberg News

Disney offer covers raises, part-timers

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The proposed contract Walt Disney World's unionized workers will vote on next week would increase the starting minimum wage by at least 46 percent over three years to $15 an hour, while enabling Disney to use more part-time workers and require new workers to stay in their positions longer before transferring, according to new details released Monday.

The proposed four-year contract would raise wages for existing workers by at least $4.75 an hour by October 2021.

A coalition of six unions representing Disney World workers is recommending that its members approve the deal, which was reached late last week after about a year of negotiations. An earlier proposal was rejected by workers last year. The contract covers costumed characters, bus drivers, launderers, retail workers, monorail drivers, custodians, housekeepers, servers, cooks, florists, makeup artists and lifeguards, among other workers.

If the contract is ratified, each Florida worker will receive a $1,000 bonus that Disney had paid to other employees after last year's tax cut by Congress.

The deal covers more than half of the 70,000 workers at Walt Disney World, which is the largest single-site employer in the United States.

-- The Associated Press

Alabama Power loses license for dams

MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Federal regulators are canceling Alabama Power's license for the Coosa River dams.

The Montgomery Advertiser reported that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission made the decision about a license that had been issued in 2013.

The decision comes after a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the license did not adequately deal with the negative effects that the dam operations have on Coosa River plants and animals.

The Coosa River system provides more than half of Alabama Power's hydroelectric power.

The rejection of the 30-year license means the utility will have to come up with new ways to meet the federal Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act rules.

-- The Associated Press

Ex-Fiat Chrysler exec gets prison term

DETROIT -- A former Fiat Chrysler executive was sentenced to 5½ years in federal prison Monday in a scheme to curry favor with union officials by showering them with cash and gifts.

Former head of labor relations Alphons Iacobelli admitted that he turned the budget of a company-sponsored training center into a slush fund. He's the highest-ranking company official sentenced thus far in a federal probe that includes training centers at General Motors and Ford.

Prosecutors have said in court documents that the goal was to get benefits and concessions for Fiat Chrysler in the negotiation and execution of contracts between the company and the United Auto Workers.

The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press reported that Iacobelli, 58, apologized, accepted responsibility and pledged cooperation in the investigation before U.S. District Judge Paul Borman. He also was ordered to pay $835,523 in restitution.

Iacobelli pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy and tax crimes in a scheme worth more than $1.5 million.

-- The Associated Press

Business on 08/28/2018

Print Headline: Aramco gains 40-year Saudi concession Missouri's meat-labeling law draws suit JetBlue raises fees for checked bags Raises, part-timers in Disney offer Disney offer covers raises, part-timers Alaba...

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