Downgrade hits road-tunnel loans
MOODY'S has downgraded the credit rating for loans backing the Limerick road tunnel under the Shannon. The rating was cut from Baa3 to Ba2.
It follows Moody's earlier downgrade of Irish government debt to Baa3 from Baa1.
Moody's said the rating of the Limerick tunnel loans is underpinned by the State through the National Roads Authority (NRA).
The NRA makes payments to the company under a minimum traffic guarantee.
Traffic was below the agreed minimum, Moody's said. The downgrade affects €243m of debt raised by DirectRoute (Limerick) to finance the project.
Shareholder sues Berkshire board
WARREN Buffett, former top lieutenant David Sokol, and the rest of Berkshire Hathaway's board of directors were sued yesterday by a shareholder over a trading scandal that cost Mr Sokol his job.
Mr Sokol resigned last month after revealing he bought shares of Lubrizol before pitching the company to Mr Buffett as a possible acquisition.
Mr Sokol had chaired Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy unit.
J&J posts sharp decline in profits
US HEALTHCARE giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has reported a sharp fall in first-quarter profits, but the results were still better than forecast.
Net profit for the period was $3.5bn (€2.4bn), down from $4.5bn a year earlier. The company also raised its full-year earnings forecast.
The news sent J&J's share price 3pc higher. Revenues of $16.2bn were up 3.5pc from the same period a year earlier.
Harley-Davidson off to good start in 2011
MOTORCYCLE maker Harley-Davidson has reported a rise in first-quarter profits but says it is cautious about prospects for the year.
Profits were $119m (€83m) for the first quarter of 2011, against $68m a year ago, helped by a big rise in profits generated by its financial services.
But Harley said it expected to ship fewer vehicles to dealers in 2011 than previously projected.