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Biz Buzz







Park reports earnings


Park Electrochemical Corp., a Melville-based maker of computer chips and composite aerospace parts, reported net earnings of $5.4 million for the quarter ended Nov. 27, compared to net earnings before special items of $6.3 million for the year-ago quarter. Company officials attribute the decline to the costs of transferring a composites manufacturing business from Connecticut to new 90,000- square-foot quarters at an expanded plant in Newton, Kan. "That's certainly the largest factor," vice president and chief financial officer David Dahlquist said in an interview. The company, which employs about 600 people worldwide, said sales rose to $47.3 million in the quarter ended Nov. 27, up from $46.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Net earnings in the year-ago period were $5.4 million, but would have been $6.3 million without a special charge for the closing of its Neltec Europe SAS business unit in Mirebeau, France. -- Tom Incantalupo







Ex-Fannie CEO to take leave


Former Fannie Mae chief executive Daniel Mudd announced Wednesday he would take a leave of absence as chief executive of hedge-fund manager Fortress Investment Group Llc, less than a week after being charged by the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the 2008 financial crisis. Mudd is one of six former executives at Fannie -- the Federal National Mortgage Association -- and Freddie Mac facing civil fraud charges from the SEC. The executives are accused of understating the level of high-risk subprime mortgages held by the two mortgage giants. Fannie and Freddie have cost taxpayers more than $150 billion to date, the largest bailout of the financial crisis. Mudd, 53, was leading Fannie in 2007 when the housing market began to disintegrate. The SEC said Mudd's misconduct included knowingly giving false testimony to Congress. -- Combined wire services



Inside trader gets prison term


A former Wall Street hedge fund consultant has been sentenced to 21/2 years in prison for insider trading. A federal court judge in Manhattan announced the sentence for James Fleishman Wednesday, saying there was a need to deter others from insider trading. Fleishman, 42, was an executive at the California-based firm Primary Global Research. He was convicted in September of conspiracy and wire fraud for facilitating the passage of inside information between public-company insiders working as consultants and the firm's clients. -- AP



EU airline emissions cap upheld


U.S. airlines failed Wednesday to block an EU law charging airlines flying to Europe for their carbon pollution. The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg dismissed arguments that imposing the charges on flights to and from European airports infringes on national sovereignty or violates international aviation treaties. U.S. and other non-European airlines had argued they were exempt from the law. Environmentalists hailed the ruling, and EU officials said they expected airlines to comply. The EU estimates the cost to passengers would range up to $15.70 on a one-way trans-Atlantic flight. -- AP



Countrywide bias suit settled


Bank of America Corp.'s Countrywide Financial unit agreed Wednesday to pay a record $335 million to settle civil charges that it discriminated against minority home buyers. As the financial and housing crisis erupted in 2008, Bank of America bought Countrywide, which specialized in so-called subprime mortgages, focusing on loans to those with lower credit ratings and charging them higher interest rates. The settlement covers conduct between 2004 and 2008 before the acquisition by Bank of America, and involved a range of alleged wrongdoing including charging African-Americans and Hispanics higher interest rates and fees than they charged non-minorities. -- Reuters

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