Business Highlights

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm •  Published: April 17, 2014
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China factories face new challenge as growth slows

HONG KONG (AP) — Chinese manufacturers are discovering that being an efficient low-cost producer is no longer enough to prosper in the face of the country's slowing growth.

Government priorities are changing, labor costs are rising and global demand is still weak. This puts pressure on manufacturers to move into more advanced production, consolidate into bigger entities or shift to cheaper inland regions to survive.

Growth in the world's second-largest economy eased to 7.4 percent last quarter, the lowest since a mini-downturn in late 2012, government figures showed Wednesday. Last year's expansion of 7.7 percent tied 2012 for the weakest since 1999.

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Wal-Mart jumps into the money transfer biz, loudly

NEW YORK (AP) — Wal-Mart is delving deeper into financial services at its stores and shaking up the money transfer business.

The world's largest retailer introduced a new money transfer service Thursday that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere. The Walmart-2-Walmart service is being rolled out in partnership with Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc.

The service, which will be available starting April 24, allows its customers to transfer up to $900 to and from more than 4,000 Wal-Mart stores in the U.S.

It's a huge footprint that could reshape that industry and is likely to set off a pricing battle.

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Cyber cops: Target hackers may take years to find

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secret Service investigators say they are close to gaining a full understanding of the methods hackers used to breach Target's computer systems last December.

But the agency says it could take years to identify the criminals who stole some 40 million debit and credit card numbers of Target shoppers and other personal information from as many as 70 million people in the pre-Christmas breach.

It may take even longer to bring the offenders to justice. The federal investigation is complicated by the international nature of high-profile digital heists. The perpetrators are likely located overseas, which makes extradition and prosecution difficult.

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Post Holdings to buy Michael Foods for $2.45B

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Post Holdings Inc. is buying fellow packaged food maker Michael Foods Inc. in a $2.45 billion deal that will expand its range of products.

Michael Foods, which is a privately held company based in Minnetonka, Minn., makes a variety of egg, potato and dairy products. Its brands include Papetti's, Crystal Farms and Simply Potatoes The company will keep operating independently under current management.

Post, based in St. Louis, makes cereal, nutrition drinks and a variety of store-brand products including pasta and peanut butter. The company plans to fund the acquisition with debt and cash on hand. It also plans to raise up to $500 million with a stock sale.

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PepsiCo's profit rises on snack sales, price hikes

NEW YORK (AP) — PepsiCo reported a stronger-than-expected quarterly profit as the company sold more snacks and hiked prices.

The company, which makes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Mountain Dew and Tropicana products, said global snack volume rose 2 percent in the period. Global beverage volume was unchanged from a year ago, including in its closely watched North American drinks unit.

Even though beverage volume was flat in North America, PepsiCo managed to push up revenue by raising prices as well as introducing more expensive drinks such as Mountain Dew Kickstart, which is marketed as an energy drink of sorts for younger men.

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UnitedHealth's 1Q profit tumbles 8 percent

UnitedHealth Group's first-quarter net income slid 8 percent as funding cuts to a key product and costs imposed by the health care overhaul dented the health insurer's performance.

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