Chattanooga hosts VW settlement hearing

Tennessee officials will hold a public meeting in Chattanooga on Friday to take suggestions on how to spend $45.7 million, the state's share of the national Volkswagen diesel emissions settlement.

The meeting will be from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the downtown Chattanooga Public Library, 1001 Broad St.

An online webinar will be Dec. 19 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. CST.

There are 10 categories on which the funds, part of a $2.9 billion settlement, may be spent.


Unum expands dental coverage nationwide

Unum Corp. said Tuesday that Unum Dental plans will be available in all regions of the country in January.

Unum launched new Unum Dental group insurance plans in the South and Midwest regions in January 2017 — within five months of acquiring dental and vision benefits carrier Starmount Life Insurance Co. At the same time, Unum also successfully launched Unum Vision insurance plans nationally.

Starmount CEO Erich Sternberg said the market response to Unum's dental plans "has exceeded our expectations" and he called 2017 "a phenomenal year."

"We will continue to expand our national provider networks and enhance our products in the year ahead," Sternberg said.


Westfield mall chain sold for $16 billion

Westfield Corp., operator of upscale shopping malls in Los Angeles and dozens of other locations in the U.S. and Britain, is being sold to French commercial real estate giant Unibail-Rodamco in a $16 billion deal, the two companies announced Tuesday.

The cash-and-stock deal values shares of Australia-based Westfield at $7.55 a share, an 18 percent premium over Monday's closing price.

Westfield's 16 California locations include its Century City shopping center, which recently completed a $1 billion makeover.

Christophe Cuvillier, chief executive of Unibail-Rodamco, said his company was attracted to Westfield's "iconic collection of world-class shopping destinations."

The deal enables Unibail-Rodamco — which is Europe's largest publicly traded commercial real estate company — to expand its presence into "a number of new attractive real estate markets," including London and wealthy areas in the U.S., Cuvillier said in a statement.


Budget deficit grows by $138.5 billion

The federal government collected a record amount of tax income for the month of November and also had a record level of spending for the month, producing a budget deficit of $138.5 billion, up slightly from a year ago.

The November deficit was 1.4 percent higher than a year ago, reflecting in part higher spending to deal with disaster relief and also higher spending by the Treasury Department on interest payments on the national debt, the Treasury Department reported Tuesday.

For the first two months of this budget year, the budget deficit totals $201.8 billion, up 10.6 percent from the same period a year ago.