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In the news: UnitedHealth drops individual plans in California, Zoetis expands and HSBC settles

Wednesday headlines include UnitedHealthcare ending its individual plan business in California, Zoetis expand its plant in Lincoln Nebraska, Avon selling Silpada for $85 million, Toyota recalls 185,000 vehicles, and HSBC agrees to a $1.9 billion settlement.

Health insurer UnitedHealthcare (UNH) has notified California regulators that it will stop selling individual policies in California. UnitedHealthcare joins Aetna in deciding to stop selling individual plans in California. UnitedHeath said it currently serves fewer than 8,000 individual customers in the state. The company will continue to sell group plans for large and small employers.

Zoetis (ZTS) plans to expand its animal healthcare plant in Lincoln, Neb. so it can take over production of a drug currently made by another company. The expansion could add up to 30 jobs once it completes a 19,000-square-foot addition in 2014.

Avon Products
Beauty-supply company Avon Products (AVP) is selling Silpada, a jewelry company, back to its founders for $85 million. Avon purchased the company, which sells sterling silver jewelry at home parties, in July 2010 for $650 million. The deal includes an additional $15 million in payments that could be made is Silpada hits certain earnings targets over the next two years. Avon said it will take about $80 million in pre-tax charges in the second quarter as a result of the sale.

Toyota Motors
Automaker Toyota (TM) is recalling 185,000 vehicles for problems with the power steering, although no accidents related to the problem have been reported. The recall applies to vehicles sold in Japan and Europe, mostly Vitz and Yaris compact cars produced between August 2010 and March 2012. The recall also applies to 11,000 Subaru Trezia's that Toyota produced under and OEM deal. About 100 affected vehicles were sold in North America.

A federal judge approved a settlement that will allow HSBC (HBC) to pay a $1.9 billion penalty to settle charges that it helped Mexican drug traffickers, Iran, Libya and others move money around in violation of anti-money laundering laws. The settlement is the largest penalty ever imposed on a bank.


Bobby Raines

Bobby Raines is the Managing Editor of the Market Intelligence Center. He has degrees in Mass Communications and History from Emory & Henry College. Bobby worked at a mid-sized daily newspaper before making a switch to covering the financial industry full time in the years leading up to the financial crisis. He has been a member of the Fresh Brewed Media team since 2011 and has served as a writer and analyst. You can write to him at braines@marketintelligencecenter.com or follow him on Twitter: @BRatMICenter.