Berkshire deal focus of hearing
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s 2010 acquisition of Burlington Northern Santa Fe will be the subject of a hearing on railroad shippers' complaints that they're being asked to cover the deal's costs.
The U.S. Surface Transportation Board on Thursday said it will look at whether Berkshire, controlled by billionaire Warren Buffett, should be allowed to include the deal's $8.1 billion acquisition premium over book value in the railroad's regulatory cost base. The hearing will take place March 22 in Washington.
The Western Coal Traffic League charges that Fort Worth, Texas-based Burlington Northern is trying to make its customers cover Berkshire's acquisition costs through their rates, and make it more difficult for them to challenge rates with the U.S. board.
Cabela's earnings rise 5%
Sporting and outdoor gear retailer Cabela's Inc. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter earnings rose 5 percent on higher sales and fatter profit margins.
The company said its net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was $69.8 million, or 99 cents per share, compared with $66.3 million, or 95 cents per share, a year before.
Adjusted net income, excluding one-time items like costs associated with debt, was $1.06 per share. That topped analysts' average expectations for adjusted earnings of $1.01 per share, according to a survey by FactSet.
Revenue rose 5 percent to $983.7 million from $934.4 million a year earlier. Analysts expected revenue of $962.4 million.
CEO Tommy Millner said that gross profit margins improved, and boosted total retail profitability almost 1 percent to 20.6 percent. It was the 11th consecutive quarter of increases in retail profitability, he said.
Moody's weighs ratings cuts for banks
Moody's Investors Service has put Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, UBS and more than 100 other financial institutions on notice. Citing increasingly challenging market conditions, the credit rating agency said it would review its grades for 114 banks based across Europe, as well as eight other financial institutions based elsewhere, including JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Nomura. Moody's indicated it could cut some credit ratings by as much as three levels as it weighed the risks to the banks' investment banking models and large capital market exposures.
U.P. building earns green certification
Union Pacific's headquarters building in downtown Omaha has been awarded LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. CEO Jim Young says the company tries to improve efficiency in its offices just as it does in its trains. The 1.3 million-square-foot building uses efficient fluorescent lights or LED lighting wherever possible, and the railroad recycles 68 percent of its waste.
Omaha banker named to council
James Landen, president of Security National Bank of Omaha, has been appointed to the Community Depository Institution Advisory Council by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Mo. The 11-member council provides information about the economy to the bank's senior management.
Mortgage rates still steady
The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage held steady at a record low for a third straight week. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the rate on the 30-year home loan was unchanged at 3.87 percent. That's the lowest level since long-term mortgages began in the 1950s. The average on the 15-year fixed mortgage was also unchanged at 3.16 percent.
— From staff and wire reports