Business Briefly: EADS president says still no decision on Air Force tanker bid

EADS’ President Louis Gallois said Monday that his company has not decided yet whether it will bid for the U.S. Air Force tanker contract. In an interview with a European television station, Gallois said EADS is in talks with L-3 Communications and Raytheon to see about partnering for the $35 billion tanker contract. The Air Force has said it will extend the May 10 deadline by 60 days, or until July 9, to allow EADS to participate should the European company indicate an interest. EADS’ original partner for the contract to supply the Air Force with 179 aerial refueling tankers was Northrop Grumman, which bowed out of the competition in March saying the contest favors the Boeing Co. After the Air Force’s extension announcement, Boeing said it is reviewing its options regarding the competition. Analysts say Boeing could protest the extension to government auditors or take legal action. The Air Force has made two previous attempts to replace its Eisenhower-era Boeing KC-135 tankers.

Volt battery charge lasts for 40 miles

General Motors says test show the Chevrolet Volt is able to travel 40 miles on battery power, as promised. The automaker is now testing six Volts that recently were built at a Detroit factory. GM plans to start selling the cars in December. Chief engineer Andrew Farah says he has gotten 41.5 and 42.5 miles on the batteries in his last two driving cycles around Detroit. He says the range will depend on weather, terrain and driving habits and can vary 20 percent up and down. The Volt has a lithium-ion battery and a small gasoline engine that generates power when the batteries are depleted. The car is expected to go on sale this fall.

Higher demand helps Alcoa narrow losses

Alcoa Inc. said Monday that it narrowed its first-quarter loss as demand for some aluminum products picked up and prices improved. For the quarter that ended March 31, Alcoa reported a net loss of $201 million or 20 cents per share. That compared with a net loss of $497 million, or 61 cents a share, a year ago, when the company was struggling with the impact of the recession. Alcoa’s most recent results include $295 million, or 29 cents a share, in one-time charges related to the health-care reform law and the closing of two smelters. Revenue rose nearly 20 percent to $4.9 billion.

T-bill rates decline in Monday auction

The Treasury Department auctioned three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.155 percent. That’s down from 0.175 percent last week. Six-month bills were auctioned at a discount rate of 0.24 percent. That’s below last week’s 0.265. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,996.08, while a six-month bill sold for $9,987.87. Separately, the Federal Reserve said Monday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for changing adjustable-rate mortgages, rose to 0.47 percent last week from 0.43 percent.

From Herald news services