The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, December 10, 2019 1:00 am


GM to lend millions to electric truck firm

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General Motors has agreed to lend $40 million to a newly formed company that wants to make electric pickup trucks at a massive Ohio assembly plant GM shut down this year.

The agreement between the two companies also would allow GM to buy back the plant up until next May, documents filed last week show. The amount available would be more than enough to cover the $20 million price tag for the plant.

Lordstown Motors Corp. announced a month ago that it had bought the once-bustling factory near Youngstown that made the Chevrolet Cruze up until last March. The new company wants to begin making electric trucks by late 2020, but it also said it still needs more investors before manufacturing can begin.

GM's decision to end production in Lordstown, where it employed 4,500 two years ago, came into the political spotlight after President Donald Trump criticized the plan last year and pushed GM executives to either reopen or sell the plant. At one time, he threatened to cut off all federal subsidies to the automaker.

Guilty plea from ex-Outcome exec

Former Outcome Health executive Ashik Desai pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud charges for his alleged role in a nearly $1 billion fraud scheme at the Chicago company.

Desai, 26, was released on condition of bond and surrendered his passport.

He was Outcome's executive vice president of business growth and analytics.

Outcome, once a beacon in Chicago's tech scene, installs screens in doctor's offices and waiting rooms that combine health information with drug advertising.

The company gained widespread attention in 2017 when it secured funding from big-name investors and rose to a valuation of about $5.5 billion, a number unmatched among Chicago tech companies.

Desai, along with former executives Rishi Shah, Shradha Agarwal and Brad Purdy, face a combined 26 counts of fraud. The most serious charges carry up to 30 years in prison if convicted.

EU boosts battery development plan

The European Union has approved $3.5 billion in subsidies from seven member countries that want to develop the electric battery industry and challenge China's supremacy.

The EU said Monday that the plan subsidized by Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden will support research and innovation in a crucial sector where Europe is lagging behind Asian competitors and largely relies on imports.

According to the EU, the member states' funding should unlock an additional 5 billion euros in private investment.

Airline's catering sold to Swiss group

Lufthansa is selling the European business of its catering and services subsidiary LSG Group to gategroup, an airline catering company in Switzerland, for an undisclosed amount, the German airline said Monday.

The deal covers LSG's European catering operations as well as its lounge and equipment businesses, packaged food provider Evertaste and retail operator Ringeltaube, Lufthansa said. Between them, those businesses have 7,100 employees and had revenue of some $1.2 billion last year. Lufthansa said that the sale won't have any major impact on its profit this year or next.

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