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B&E This Fortnight
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B&E This Fortnight

Issue Date - 18/08/2011
Us debt deal done

After months of political wrangling and partisan posturing by both Republicans and Democrats in the Republican-led House of Representatives, President Barack Obama and his team were finally able to cut a deal that allows the US to trim its bulging deficit and raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion in extra borrowing power, which will last till 2013. The agreement reached paves the way for $2.1 trillion in spending cuts spread over 10 years and creates a congressional committee to recommend a deficit-reduction package by late November. But the deal does not include any tax increases that Obama had pressed hard to include. Had this last-minute deal not come about, it would have led to a historic US default on payments to investors in Treasury bonds, recipients of social security pension checks, those relying on military veterans benefits and businesses that work for the government. Now that an agreement has been sealed, though after much fractious debate, the US and the world can breathe easy. It will help preserve America’s top notch credit rating, reassure investors in financial markets across the globe and possibly reverse the losses that spread across Wall Street in recent days as the threat of a default grew. However rating agencies may still downgrade America’s current AAA debt rating on concerns about the struggling US economy.

The US’s first integrated 4G-LTE wireless broadband and satellite network, LightSquared, has announced a $9-billion network hosting deal with Sprint Nextel. The deal covers spectrum hosting and network services, 4G wholesale, and 3G roaming. LightSquared will pay the deal amount in cash within 11 years even though the time frame for the deal spans 15 years. Moreover, this agreement brings home the opportunity for Sprint to purchase 50% of LightSquared’s expected L-Band 4G capacity. On the other hand, the deal is beneficial for LightSquared for it expects to save $13 billion on network capital & operating expenses. The deal is expected to be a win-win for both, and will enable setting up a separate platform for Sprint Nextel’s hosting opportunities.

ExxonMobil profits
Riding on the high prices of oil and gasoline, the largest oil company in the US - ExxonMobil reported a 53% increase in its fourth quarter profits. ExxonMobil earned $10.7 billion for the quarter, up from $7.56 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. In the second quarter of the current year, ExxonMobil had increased its production by 10% leading to a 41% increase in its quarterly earnings. Earnings were $2.18 per diluted common share, falling short of analysts’ consensus forecast of $2.33, but still much better than last year. ExxonMobil in 2009 had bought natural gas explorer XTO Energy for $25 billion and has recently purchased two companies in the gas rich Marcellus Shale area across Pennsylvania. The acquisition has boosted its production to an equivalent of 4.9 million barrels of oil a day.

lay-offs at cisco
Cisco Systems has unveiled plans to restructure the company and will lay off around 6,500 employees. Earlier in April 2011, Cisco had cut 550 jobs by shutting down its Flip video camera division. The job cuts amount to 9% of the company’s total work force and will affect 15% of employees at the vice president level and above. The aim of the job cuts is to lower expenses and reduce the company’s annual budget. Cisco also announced that the company will sell off its set-top box manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico to Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology. This will help the company bring down the expenses, as it includes the transfer of 5,000 employees from Cisco’s payroll to Foxconn’s.


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