Sony & Panasonic Downgraded, Cadbury Inquiry in India: Consumer Business Recap

Early Thursday, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SNE) saw its debt rating at Fitch downgraded 3 gradations to BB- while Panasonic Corporation (NYSE:PC) was cut by two to BB. Both ratings are considered to be ‘junk’ status or below investment grade. In making the cuts, Fitch pointed to weakness in the struggling tech companies’ consumer electronics and television operations and the relatively pointed rivalry from Apple and Samsung. The downgrades are the first for the two former giants from a ratings firm. The strong yen and Japan’s ongoing dispute with China have not exactly helped the situation.

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The Federal District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan decided Wednesday that United Airlines (NYSE:UAL) was not responsible for the collapse of the third World Trade Center building on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001. Plaintiff Larry Silverstein, who was leaseholder of the World Trade Center property, blamed the collapse of 7 World Trade Center on airport security lapses which permitted the hijackers access to the American Airlines plane which crashed into the complex. However, Judge Hellerstein concluded that the airline could not have foreseen the events that led to the destruction of the building, writing that, “It was not within United’s range of apprehension that terrorists would slip through the security screening checkpoint, fly to Logan, proceed through another air carrier’s security screening and board that air carrier’s flight, hijack the flight and crash it into 1 World Trade Center, let alone that 1 World Trade Center would therefore collapse and cause Tower 7 to collapse.”

An Indian division of Cadbury (NASDAQ:MDLZ) is being investigated by authorities in that country in regards to claims that the company might have evaded taxes to as much as 2 billion rupees, or $36.29 million, according to a junior finance minister. Currently, India is boosting its attempts to increase its revenues so as to diffuse a widening fiscal deficit. Cadbury got itself into a similar fix in 2011 when a still ongoing inquiry was opened to decide whether Kraft Foods Group (NASDAQ:KRFT) was obligated to pay taxes from its $19 billion acquisition of Cadbury.

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