Business Highlights

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO


Regional airlines not sharing in majors' success

DALLAS (AP) — For passengers traveling between smaller cities and large hub airports, the ticket may say Delta, American or United, but they're likely flying on a regional airline whose planes are painted in the major carrier's colors.

This arrangement helps the big airlines pack their planes more cheaply and contributes to recent record profits.

It isn't as wonderful for the regional airlines, however. Their profits are shrinking, costs are rising, and they're having trouble finding enough pilots to work for the salaries they pay.

Consumers should be concerned. Fares could rise as regional airlines are forced to raise pilots' pay. Aviation experts predict that some regional airlines may fail, which could lead to reduced service at smaller airports.


Apple's smartwatch: Timely idea or clocked out?

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is a habitual party crasher, but can the company's history of arriving late and making a big splash in various gadget categories continue with the Apple Watch?

The technology company was a late entrant into many of its most prominent product categories: the iPod wasn't the first digital music player and the iPad wasn't the first tablet. But in most cases, the innovation the company infused into its devices ignited previously dormant markets __and Apple products became "must haves."

Smartwatches have been around for a few years, but makers such as Samsung and Sony have failed to make them a runaway hit.

Apple's stated entry into the smartwatch arena this week with a gadget that won't go on sale until early 2015 raises questions: Can the company work its magic as it has in the past and convince people that they really need a smartwatch —or will this time be different?


Making travel quick, safe for cars, bikes, walkers

DETROIT (AP) — Cellphones that warn drivers when people are crossing in front of them. Bicycles and cars that communicate with traffic lights. Sensors in cars that quickly alert other drivers to black ice, potholes or other hazards. A low-priced camera system that brings high-tech automatic braking to the masses.

These life- or time-saving technologies are being shown off this week at the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress in Detroit. Here are five smart things coming to your car in just a few years:


Dollar General goes hostile in bid for rival

Dollar General is going hostile with its $9.1 billion bid for Family Dollar after its rival repeatedly rejected previous offers.

The discount chain has commenced an open offering to investors of Family Dollar Stores Inc. for $80 per share in cash. That offer was rejected last week by the company's board, which has already accepted a deal with another discounter, Dollar Tree.

Family Dollar, based in Matthews, North Carolina, has voiced concerns about Dollar General's deal passing antitrust review. In response, Dollar General has said that it is willing to divest up to 1,500 stores if the Federal Trade Commission requires it. The company also is offering to pay a $500 million reverse breakup fee if antitrust hurdles get in the way.


Capital One banker upbeat on small business

NEW YORK (AP) — Based on what she's seeing among the bank's more than three million small business customers, Capital One's Keri Gohman is upbeat.

Business owners are reporting better earnings and reinvesting in their businesses and that's translating into a rebound in loan demand, says Gohman, the head of small business banking at the McLean, Virginia-based bank, which has But there's still caution out there. When it comes to reinvesting, many small business owners are taking advantage of cash they set aside.

Capital One is more confident about lending to small businesses that many lenders considered a bad bet during and after the recession. But if it can't give a loan to a company, Capital One will help it find alternatives.


UK leader rushes to fend off Scottish independence

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) — The British political establishment descended on Scotland on Wednesday to plead for a united United Kingdom, after polls suggested the once-fanciful notion of Scots voting to break from Britain has become a real possibility in next week's referendum.

The leaders of the three main London-based parties — all of them unpopular in Scotland — wooed skeptical Scottish voters with the fervor of a rejected lover. But some Scots seemed unmoved, and increasingly confident independence leader Alex Salmond accused his opponents of succumbing to panic.

In a rare display of cross-party unity, Prime Minister David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat chief Nick Clegg all pulled out of a weekly House of Commons question session to make a campaign dash to Scotland, as polls indicated the two sides are neck-and-neck ahead of the Sept. 18 referendum.


Wild Turkey maker reaches 60th year in business

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (AP) — Jimmy Russell strolled into a roomful of tourists, and soon the patriarch of Kentucky bourbon was surrounded by fans, posing for pictures and autographing bottles. The man behind Wild Turkey even took a turn as barkeeper, pouring samples of amber whiskey at the distillery's visitors' center.

When Brian Leathers of Hammond, Louisiana, told him he'd been drinking Wild Turkey for years, Russell replied: "I've made every drop."

That was no idle barroom boast. The 79-year-old master distiller known as "Jimmy" to everyone in the bourbon industry has indeed been responsible for every drop of Wild Turkey produced for generations of consumers.

Celebrating his 60th year in the business, Russell has overseen production of about 3 million barrels of bourbon as Wild Turkey's master distiller — enough to fill about 20 million cases, according to the brand's parent company, Italian-based Gruppo Campari.


US airlines improve their on-time performance

DALLAS (AP) — At the height of this summer's travel season, airline flights were more likely to arrive on time and less likely to be canceled than they were last year.

The improvement in airline performance was a welcome break for travelers. Over the first six months of 2014, delays were the highest since 2008 and cancelations the highest since 2000.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said Wednesday that among 14 of the largest airlines, 75.6 percent of flights arrived on time in July, up from 73.1 percent in July 2013 and from June 2014's 71.8 percent rate.

The airlines covered by the report canceled 1.6 percent of their trips, down from 1.7 percent a year earlier and 2 percent in June.


Chiquita to talk with potential buyers

NEW YORK (AP) — Not even a month after flatly rejecting a takeover bid by two Brazilian companies, Chiquita will open its books to them.

Should Chiquita eventually see eye-to-eye with the investment firm Safra Group and Cutrale Group, a juice company, it could scuttle a proposed tie up with the Irish fruit company Fyffes, a merger that is far along in the process.

Chiquita did not elaborate Wednesday on why it had decided to talk with the Brazilian group and sign a confidentiality agreement. It said that it would "allow Cutrale / Safra to conduct due diligence, including access to a data room and its management team."

But Chiquita has been pressured to do so by two proxy advisory firms, and company shares have been depressed.


By The Associated Press=

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 54.84 points, or 0.3 percent, to 17,068.71. The Standard & Poor's 500 index added 7.25 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,995.69. The Nasdaq composite gained 34.24 points, or 0.8 percent, to 4,586.52.

Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.08 to close at $91.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oils used by many U.S. refineries, slipped $1.12 to close at $98.04 on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Wholesale gasoline fell 2.1 cents to close at $2.527 a gallon. Heating oil fell 3.9 cents to close at $2.753 a gallon. Natural gas fell 3 cents to close at $3.954 per 1,000 cubic feet.