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Samsung delays foldable smartphone

Samsung Electronics Co. will delay the planned launch Friday of its first foldable smartphone until at least next month, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Galaxy Fold, priced at almost $2,000, was hit by early reviews that showed several problems with test versions of the device. The new rollout is expected in the coming weeks, though a firm date has yet to be set, the Journal reported. A spokesman for Samsung declined to confirm the report when contacted by Bloomberg.

The problems with the phone, which was meant to rejuvenate a flagging market and showcase the Korean company's technology expertise, stemmed from issues concerning the hinge and display. Some reviewers had unknowingly ripped off part of the phone's display, confusing it with a protective cover.

Pre-orders began earlier this month for a marquee device that's expected to usher in a wave of smartphones that can unfurl into tablets. A delay would mark another setback after the company suffered a black eye with a previous major launch in 2016, when it recalled the Galaxy Note 7 after consumers reported that device's batteries burst into flames.

-- Bloomberg News

Boeing ramps up F-15 line near St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Boeing is preparing to build F-15 fighter planes for the U.S. Air Force at its St. Louis County plant even though the military branch hasn't bought the jet in over a decade.

The Chicago-based company began ramping up its F-15 production line near St. Louis after the Air Force submitted a nearly $8 billion budget request last month that included eight F-15s next year and 72 in the following four years. The request came as a surprise to many since the U.S. military has moved toward stealth fighters, such as Lockheed Martin's F-35, in recent years.

Prat Kumar, Boeing International's vice president, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the company is investing before Congress approves the budget request so it can respond quickly should the Air Force seek rapid field deployment.

Engineers and manufacturing experts recently met at the St. Louis County facility to determine how to efficiently assemble the fighter jet with its modern defense, radar and operating systems.

The F-15 was first developed in the early 1970s, and foreign orders from Singapore, South Korea and Saudi Arabia have kept the Missouri manufacturing line running in recent years.

The line is equipped to build about one F-15 a month, but Boeing officials believe that minimal modifications can increase production to up to three of the jets each month.

-- The Associated Press

Bed Bath & Beyond overhauls its board

Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. yielded to some demands of a trio of activist investors, naming an independent chairman and replacing five independent directors as the home goods company struggles to turn around sales.

Lead independent Director Patrick Gaston was named independent chairman, while Harriet Edelman, Harsha Ramalingam, Andrea Weiss, Mary Winston and Ann Yerger join as new independent directors, the company said Monday. Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein will retire from the board as of May 1.

Legion Partners Asset Management LLC, Macellum Advisors and Ancora Advisors LLC started a proxy fight in March to remove Chief Executive Officer Steven Temares and replace the entire 12-person board. The company on Monday said it has had multiple discussions with the investor group and invited its members it to participate in the board transformation process, which the group has so far declined.

A representative for the activist group wasn't immediately available for comment.

"The changes announced today reflect significant shareholder input and underscore our commitment to ensuring we have best-in-class governance," Gaston said in the statement.

-- Bloomberg News

Cambodia, Thailand mark rail reopening

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- The leaders of Cambodia and Thailand met to mark the ceremonial reopening of a rail link that will restore train service between the two countries after more than four decades.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart, Prayuth Chan-ocha, took a brief train ride Monday across the border from Thailand's Aranyaprathet to Cambodia's Poipet to celebrate the occasion. Each also shoveled some cement to mark the completion of a nearby cross-border bridge for automotive traffic.

Thai officials said regular cross-border rail service is expected to be restored soon. The two leaders signed an agreement on operating the cross-border rail link.

Service between the two countries was suspended in the early 1970s when the track was destroyed during Cambodia's civil war.

-- The Associated Press

Chinese hog farmers said to be in panic

Most Chinese hog farms are choosing not to replenish herds as a deadly swine virus continues to spread across the world's top pork market.

More than 80 percent of farms are deciding not to restock, according to China's Agriculture Ministry. Outbreaks of African swine fever were confirmed Sunday on six farms in Hainan, the island province in the far south. The virus has spread across virtually the entire country since it was first reported in August, with more than a million hogs culled.

"There has never been such panic among farms," Wang Junxun, deputy director at the Agriculture Ministry's bureau of animal husbandry and veterinary services, said at a conference in Beijing over the weekend.

China, which produces about half the world's pork, has seen its biggest ever drop in the number of hogs over the past few months, said Wang. The country's productive sow herds slumped 21 percent in March after a 19 percent drop in February, ministry data showed. As well as leading to a surge in pork prices, the epidemic could also cut demand for soybeans, an animal feed ingredient, where China is the world's largest importer.

Lack of biosecurity measures at many of small farms, coupled with a large number of live hogs being transported long distances, are to blame for the spread of the disease, said Wang.

-- Bloomberg News

Boeing denies problems at 787 factory

Boeing's factory in North Charleston, S.C., one of two plants that produces the 787 Dreamliner, has faced problems with production and oversight that create a safety threat, The New York Times reported.

The Times cited a review of internal emails, corporate documents and federal records, as well as interviews with more than a dozen current and former employees.

Faulty parts have been installed in some of the planes, and metal shavings were often left inside the jets. A technician at the plant, Joseph Clayton, said he routinely found debris dangerously close to wiring beneath cockpits.

Brad Zaback, Boeing South Carolina's site leader, disputed the report in an email to his team, saying the manufacturing operations are healthy and performing strongly based on quality metrics. The newspaper also declined Boeing's invitation to visit that site, he said.

The report "paints a skewed and inaccurate picture of the program and of our team here at Boeing South Carolina," he said. "This article features distorted information, rehashing old stories and rumors that have long ago been put to rest."

John Barnett, a former quality manager who retired in 2017 after almost three decades at Boeing, said he found clusters of metal slivers hanging over the wiring that commands flight controls. A U.S. Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, Lynn Lunsford, said the agency inspected several planes that Boeing had certified as free of such debris and found the same metal slivers.

-- Bloomberg News

Business on 04/23/2019

Print Headline: Samsung delays foldable smartphone Boeing ramps up F-15 line near St. Louis Bed Bath & Beyond overhauls its board Cambodia, Thailand mark rail reopening Chinese hog farmers said to be in panic...

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