Carrier Plans to Charge
Fees for Carry-On Bags
In a bold move,Spirit Airlines Inc. said Tuesday it would be the first carrier to charge for carry-on luggage, the latest step in unbundling services traditionally included in the price of a ticket.
The low-cost carrier, based in Miramar, Fla., said the new policy would help to cut its fares further.
Starting Aug. 1, Spirit will charge passengers $45 for a carry-on bag, or $30 if they register the bag ahead of time either online or on the phone. Members of the airline's $9 Fare Club will be charged $20. Passengers are allowed just one carry-on bag.
Spirit raised its fee for a second bag checked at the airport to $45 from $25. The fee for a first checked bag is held at $25.
"The real question is, will other airlines follow," said George Hobica , founder of Airfarewatchdog.com.
Since 2008, airlines have been adding checked-bag fees to offset higher fuel costs and declining ticket sales.
Macarthur Coal Rejects
Raised Bid as Inadequate
Australia's Macarthur Coal Ltd. rejected a sweetened US$3.28 billion takeover offer from Peabody Energy (NYS:BTU) Corp. Wednesday, saying it doesn't offer an adequate premium for control of the company.
"Peabody's revised proposal remains highly conditional and does not fully value Macarthur and its significant growth prospects," Macarthur Chairman Keith De Lacy said in a statement.
Macarthur continues to recommend that its shareholders vote in favor of resolutions underpinning its planned takeover of Gloucester Coal Ltd. and associated transactions with Hong Kong's Noble Group Ltd. at a shareholder meeting on set for Monday.
One of the conditions of the Peabody offer was that Macarthur announce by Wednesday afternoon that it would delay this meeting.
Peabody, based in St. Louis, has raised its offer to 14 Australian dollars a share (US$12.89) from an initial offer of A$13 a share, which Macarthur's board had earlier rejected as inadequate.
Firm Settles Patent Suits
With Generic-Drug Makers
Sanofi-Aventis (PAR:FR:SAN) SA said Tuesday it settled more patent-infringement suits with generic drug makers over its cancer drug Eloxatin.
The French drug maker, which last week announced settlements with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (NYS:TEVA) Ltd., Fresenius Kabi Oncology Ltd. and Novartis (NYS:NVS) AG's generics unit Sandoz, said Tuesday it also struck deals with three other companies—Hospira Inc.'s Mayne Pharma Ltd. unit, Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc. and its Turkish partner MN Pharmaceuticals, and Iceland-based Actavis.
As part of the settlements, the six drug makers will stop selling unauthorized versions of Eloxatin, whose generic name is oxaliplatin, in the U.S. between June 30, 2010 and Aug. 9, 2012, after which the companies can sell their products under license.
Copycat versions of Eloxatin were launched in the U.S. last August after a court ruled in June that generic drug makers who had challenged the Eloxatin patent didn't infringe Sanofi's patents. That badly hit Sanofi's sales of the drug, which dropped 35% last year to €957 million ($1.29 billion).
Sanofi said it has also asked a court to prohibit Sun Pharmaceuticals of India from marketing a generic oxaliplatin product over the same period as the other companies.
The settlement agreements are subject to review by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and Michigan's attorney general.
Sanofi didn't give more details or reveal financial terms of the deals.
Daiichi Sankyo (TKS:JP:4568)
Japanese Application Filed
For Blood-Clot Treatment
Daiichi Sankyo (TKS:JP:4658) Co. said it has filed a new drug application in Japan for Edoxaban, an important step in commercializing the treatment to prevent blood clots.
The Tokyo-based company said it is seeking approval of the drug, which is taken orally, for use in the prevention of blood clotting in the veins of patients who have undergone knee- and hip-replacement surgery.
Daiichi Sankyo is also conducting clinical trials on Edoxaban for people at risk of developing clots in veins due to blood coagulation or in arteries due to irregular heartbeats.
When Daiichi Sankyo eventually develops Edoxaban for patients with irregular heartbeats, it would be able to tap into the lucrative market for atrial-fibrillation treatment, which analysts estimate exceeds $15 billion a year globally.
Names Operating Chief
National carrier Air India appointed Gustav Baldauf as its first chief operating officer, and as the first expatriate in the state-owned airline's management, a company executive said Tuesday.
Mr. Baldauf is currently senior director for marketing at Air Canada and his joining date is yet to be decided, said K. Swaminathan, deputy general manager for corporate communications at the unprofitable carrier. He said the appointment was decided during Tuesday's board meeting.
Air India also decided that Chairman and Managing Director Arvind Jadhav and Mr. Baldauf will come up with a turnaround plan for the carrier in the next 30 days.
"The plan will then be presented to the independent directors recently included in the company's board," Mr. Swaminathan said.
Auto Maker Extends
Incentives for Customers
Toyota Motor (NYS:TM) Corp. extended its March customer-incentive program into April and broadened its complimentary maintenance program to all buyers, as the Japanese auto maker seeks to maintain sales momentum in the face of its recall crisis.
Through May 3, Toyota will offer free financing for five years on six models, two-year free maintenance for all customers and low lease rates, the company said in a statement.
Helped by uncharacteristically high incentives in March, Toyota chalked up a 41% increase in U.S. sales from a year earlier.
That made it the second-best-selling auto maker for the month, suggesting that many Toyota buyers were unperturbed by its recall of more than six million vehicles in the U.S. for sticky accelerators and other issues.
While Toyota's March incentives were below those offered by U.S. competitors, they were 44% more than what the company offered in March a year ago, according to the car-shopping Web site Edmunds.com.