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Pacific Northwest

Boeing

Air Canada finalized an order Wednesday for 18 Boeing 777 jets and 14 787s. The deal includes options to buy an additional 18 777s and 46 787s — with the expectation of eventually replacing the airline’s entire existing fleet of older 767s along with newer Airbus A330s and A340s.

The deal represents an important defection to Boeing, as Air Canada had bought only Airbus jets since 1989. The firm orders alone are worth almost $6 billion at list prices, though large discounts are typical.

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First announced in April, the order was later canceled after the airline’s pilots failed to agree on terms for flying the new jets. Those terms were finally sorted out last week.

Starbucks

Company cuts ’06 earnings forecast

Starbucks cut its fiscal 2006 earnings forecast by 9 cents a share because the largest U.S. coffee-shop chain will begin expensing stock options.

Starbucks reduced its forecast for profit next year to 63 cents to 65 cents a share from a range of 72 cents to 74 cents. The average quarterly impact will be 2 cents a share, the Seattle-based company said Wednesday.

Starbucks will begin accounting for the cost of stock options in the first fiscal quarter of 2006, which ends Jan. 1.

Liquor Control Board

Wineries denied New York shipping

The Liquor Control Board on Wednesday rejected a request by Washington wineries that would have allowed them to ship directly to consumers in New York, the country’s second-biggest wine market.

The board, acting on a request by the Washington Wine Institute, ruled that New York’s licensing requirements for out-of-state wineries was incompatible with Washington law.

Following a May Supreme Court ruling, New York amended its liquor laws to allow the direct shipment of wine from out-of-state vintners. States must grant reciprocal access to their wine markets. To date, more than 100 wineries in California and Oregon have been licensed to ship to New York.

“While we denied the request to expedite rulemaking, we have drafted a proposal for new legislation and have every intention of pushing it through the legislature when they convene in January,” said Rick Garza, deputy director of the Liquor Control Board.

Weyerhaeuser

Port of Tacoma to pay $12.5 million

Weyerhaeuser said it will get $12.5 million from the Port of Tacoma in compensation for vacating a site along the Blair Waterway.

The lease with the port on property for a 25-acre woodchip-export facility had been set to expire in 2017, Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser said Wednesday.

The company will leave the site in May, and the Port of Tacoma will start widening a section of the waterway in July to accommodate larger ships.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Bloomberg News

Pacific Northwest

Global Partnerships

Fund to aid poor in Central America

Global Partnerships, a Seattle nonprofit organization that funds microloan programs in Central America, announced a $2 million investment fund aimed at increasing lending to the working poor.

The fund consists of $1.8 million from 22 investors, plus a $200,000 contribution from Global Partnerships. It represents a sixfold increase in the money the group has to lend to local microfinance organizations in Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The $1.8 million contribution was raised through the law firm Orrick, Herrrington & Sutcliffe. After five years, the original investors are expected to receive their contributions back with a return of 5 or 6 percent.

ASG Consolidated

Seafood company reverses loss

ASG Consolidated, the parent of American Seafoods, reported a third-quarter profit of $5.9 million, compared with a loss of $16.3 million a year ago. Net sales rose 8 percent to $100.4 million.

The Seattle-based company, which harvests, processes and distributes seafood, reported third-quarter 2004 costs of $26 million for goodwill impairment and the write-off of recapitalization costs.

ASG’s profit for the first nine months of the year was $46.2 million, up from $8.7 million a year ago.

Nation / World

FCC

Bush wants Copps, Tennessee regulator

President Bush intends to nominate a Republican regulator from Tennessee and to renominate Democrat Michael Copps to serve on the Federal Communications Commission.

The White House announced late Wednesday that Deborah Tate would be nominated to fill a vacant Republican seat.

Copps, whose term expired June 30, will be renominated for a five-year term.

Both must be confirmed by the Senate.

Tate is a director on the Tennessee Regulatory Authority and served as chairwoman from 2003-04.

If the Senate moves quickly, Tate would give FCC Chairman Kevin Martin a Republican majority. The panel is currently split between two Republicans and two Democrats.

But any majority could be short-lived. GOP Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy, whose term expired last year, must leave when the current Senate session expires this year, putting another Republican seat up for grabs.

Credit-card issuers

2 big banks facing flood of bad loans

Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, two of the largest U.S. credit-card companies, said Wednesday they expect to face hundreds of millions of dollars of bad loans in the fourth quarter because of October’s surge in bankruptcy filings.

Bank of America, the No. 2 U.S. bank, said it expects a $400 million to $500 million increase in net charge-offs, or loans it doesn’t expect to be paid back. Third-quarter net charge-offs totaled $1.15 billion, including $772 million from credit cards.

JPMorgan, the No. 3 bank, said it expects fourth-quarter total managed credit-card net charge-offs of $2.3 billion, up from $1.6 billion in the third quarter. The $700 million increase is $200 million more than it had forecast last month.

Some analysts have estimated there were more than 500,000 bankruptcy filings in the week prior to Oct. 17, when bankruptcy-law changes long championed by the credit-card industry took effect. The changes made it tougher for many individuals to have their debts excused.

Amgen

Patent suit filed against Roche

Amgen sued Roche Holding, alleging that the Swiss company’s experimental anemia drug CERA infringes patents behind Amgen’s top-selling medicines.

The suit says CERA contains erythropoietin, a human protein that forms the basis for Amgen’s Epogen, also an anemia drug. Amgen seeks to prevent Roche from making or selling CERA in the U.S.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Reuters