Navistar asks for buyouts, GM gets sued and Olympic spirit prompts athletic gear purchases

Business news on Eight Forty-Eight

August 7, 2012

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Navistar, a local company that has received millions of dollars in state incentives to retain jobs, has reached out to 6,300 employees to see if they would like to take voluntary buyouts, the company said Monday. Last week, the company pulled its prior earnings forecast, announced a new Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its accounting and disclosure practices and said it needs to take action to return to profitability.

Navistar - formerly International Harvester - has had trouble with its engine technology complying with federal emissions regulations. The company said it will provide a full-year forecast when it provides its third quarter results next month.

"The company’s results for the first half of 2012 are not where they need to be," Navistar spokeswoman Karen Denning said in an email. "The company must return to profitability and is taking action to control spending across the company."

She added that cost reductions could be achieved in "many ways" and that layoffs were the "last option".

Navistar said about 3,400 of its employees eligible for the buyouts are in Chicago.  

In other news, General Motors says a $3 billion lawsuit that was filed against the auto maker in United States District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan is "baseless". The Dutch sports car maker Spyker is suing GM because of its failed subsidiary Saab, say it deliberately bankrupted the company and prevented a deal with a Chinese investor. Spyker bought Saab from General Motors in 2010 for $74 million. Now it's saying GM deliberately blocked a deal that would have saved Saab because it didn't want that technology in China.

And finally: does watching Olympic athletes make you want to run out and buy athletic gear? NPD Group, a big consumer research company, thinks it will. Its research shows that during big sporting events - like the NBA All Star game - basketball footwear sales increase. Let's see how Team USA does and if it helps even more basketball shoe sales. Back to school should help, too.