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Coke to plant Florida citrus trees; other business briefs


Coke to plant Fla. citrus trees

The Coca-Cola Co. says it's spending $2 billion to support the planting of 25,000 acres of new orange groves in Florida, a move officials are lauding as a major investment in the Sunshine State's citrus industry. Coca-Cola owns the Minute Maid and Simply juice brands. "It's an investment in a market that's very important to us," said Steve Cahillane, the president of Coca-Cola Americas. Some 5 million new trees will be planted, believed to be the largest citrus addition in the state for at least 15 years. Company officials say the new groves and resulting juice production are expected to add about 4,100 jobs to Florida's economy.

Buffett to kids: Love your job

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett encouraged young workers to find jobs they are passionate about as he offered career advice online Tuesday. Buffett regularly takes time to meet with groups of students and answer their questions on life and business. He likes to compare what he does as chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway to painting a masterpiece on canvas, and says that because he loves what he does, it doesn't feel like work. He responded to questions sent to the Levo League website, which helps young professionals find mentors and jobs. Buffett, 82, figured out he wanted to be an investor early on by reading some of the books around his dad's securities brokerage. Now he's able to enjoy a daily routine of searching for deals at Berkshire that involves five to six hours of reading, talking to a few of his friends and playing bridge online.

Hertz HQ relocating to Florida

Hertz will move its headquarters from New Jersey to Florida, putting the company in the heart of a key travel market and trimming corporate expenses after its $2.3 billion buyout of one-time rival, Dollar Thrifty. Up to 700 jobs will shift to Florida over two years, the company said Tuesday. More than 2,000 Hertz and Dollar Thrifty workers will stay in New Jersey, including about 150 employees from the current headquarters in Park Ridge. Other Park Ridge workers will be able to keep their current positions at the new headquarters in Estero, Fla., just north of Naples on the Gulf Coast. Enterprise Florida, the state's economic development arm, said the state and local communities offered incentives worth more than $19 million to attract Hertz. The move "enables us to be closer to leisure and business customers, as well as many travel and association partners," Hertz chairman and CEO Mark P. Frissora said.

Disney 1Q net income up 32%

Revenue gains at Disney's parks and movie studio led to a 32 percent increase in net income during the January-March quarter. The results, which topped analyst expectations Tuesday, showed the company's record-setting investments in a new cruise ship and multiple theme park upgrades last year are starting to pay off. Net income grew to $1.51 billion, or 83 cents per share. Revenue grew 10 percent to $10.55 billion. Parks and resorts revenue rose 14 percent to $3.30 billion, thanks to higher attendance and guest spending at U.S. parks in Anaheim, Calif., and Orlando, Fla.


IMF boss: U.S. policy too abrupt

International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde criticized the U.S. government's budget policies as too tight Tuesday, in an appearance in Amsterdam that was interrupted by student protesters. Lagarde said the U.S. government's debt reduction plans are too abrupt, including the $85 billion in federal budget cuts known as the sequester. She said the current policies, if maintained, could lead to a contraction of 1.5 percent in the U.S. economy. The U.S. "should consolidate less in the short term, but give . . . economic actors the certainty that there will be fiscal consolidation going forward," she said.-- AP

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