Pacific Northwest NeoRx said yesterday its auditor had concluded the company's financial track record raises "substantial doubt about its...

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NeoRx said yesterday its auditor had concluded the company’s financial track record raises “substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”


The warning, included in the Seattle biotechnology company’s annual 10-K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, reflects NeoRx’s recurring losses, significant negative cash flows and accumulated deficit, according to auditor KPMG.


The SEC filing also noted that NeoRx raised $3.9 million last month, bringing its available cash to $17.8 million. The company said that will likely be enough to maintain operations through December. It is also looking at ways to raise more capital or cut expenses.


RCI Construction Group



Light-rail contractor sold to Calif. firm

RCI Construction Group, a construction company working on Sound Transit’s light-rail project in South Seattle, was sold to California-based Parsons for an undisclosed amount of cash yesterday.


RCI, one of the largest contractors in the state, has more than $300 million in contracts. The Sumner company has more than 625 employees in Washington, Oregon and Hawaii.


Payroll Online



KeyCorp acquires Bellevue concern

Cleveland-based KeyCorp has acquired Payroll Online in Bellevue, a payroll-processing firm that the banking company plans to use in serving commercial clients.


The business will be renamed Key Payroll Online and will remain in Bellevue with its 11 existing employees, KeyCorp said. The payroll company has more than 600 clients, some of which might overlap with existing KeyCorp customers.


Hollywood Entertainment



Meeting rescues listing on Nasdaq

Hollywood Entertainment narrowly avoided being kicked off the Nasdaq Stock Market, after the nation’s second-largest video-rental company succeeded in holding its shareholder meeting March 30.


The Wilsonville, Ore.-based company was threatened with being removed from the stock exchange after it failed to hold its annual meeting last year. Officials say the rental chain’s calendar was disrupted by the hostile-takeover bid by Dallas-based Blockbuster.


Blockbuster dropped its offer last month after it became clear that regulators would strike it down. Hollywood shareholders are expected to vote on Movie Gallery’s $850 million takeover offer April 22.Lennox Hearth Products



Production facility to leave country

Lennox Hearth Products is moving its pellet stove and cast iron production from Burlington, Skagit County, to Juarez, Mexico, in early June to reduce expenses and boost its bottom line. Lennox is also closing its steel wood stove line and has no plans to reopen it.


Lennox employs around 70 people in Burlington. The Orange, Calif.-based company, which makes fireplaces, stoves and log sets, expects to incur $3.5 million in moving expenses.


Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and The Associated Press


Nation/World


Portland General Electric



Enron CEO to visit for utility discussions

Enron CEO Stephen Cooper plans to visit Oregon this month to discuss Portland General Electric (PGE) now that a Texas buyout group has terminated its 18-month effort to buy Oregon’s largest utility from Enron.


The Texas Pacific Group said Wednesday it had decided not to continue seeking state regulatory approval for its proposed acquisition of PGE, nearly a month after Oregon’s Public Utility Commission rejected the group’s bid saying it was not in the public’s interest.


The Oregon Legislature is considering a bill to create a public corporation to buy and operate PGE as a government-owned power provider.


The city of Portland also has its eye on PGE.


DaimlerChrysler



Investor Kerkorian loses federal ruling

A federal court ruled yesterday in favor of U.S.-German automaker DaimlerChrysler in a high-profile securities lawsuit that pitted billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian against the company.


Kerkorian sued DaimlerChrysler for more than $1 billion, claiming DaimlerBenz engineered a takeover of Chrysler in 1998, then cheated him out of an acquisition fee by claiming it was a merger of equals.


DaimlerChrysler insisted that the merger was one of equals and that Kerkorian, whose holding company, Tracinda, was Chrysler’s largest shareholder at the time, grew disgruntled when his stock price fell. A takeover would have cost DaimlerBenz far more, Kerkorian contended.


AIG



Court order granted to protect documents

Federal regulators investigating accounting lapses at American International Group (AIG) yesterday secured a court order compelling the insurance titan, its recently ousted CEO Maurice Greenberg and a private company with ties to AIG to preserve documents and provide them to investigators.


An official of the Securities and Exchange Commission said the agency sought the protective order from the U.S. District Court in Manhattan in response to reports of documents having been removed from an AIG building in Bermuda, where the company has a subsidiary, or destroyed.


MCI



CEO says company open to Qwest talks

MCI’s chief executive told employees yesterday that the long-distance phone company remains open to further merger talks with Qwest despite its decision to stick with a lower-priced buyout from Verizon.


“MCI has the right to engage in further discussions with Qwest and remains open to the possibility of further discussions. We should have a better idea of their next steps in the near future,” CEO Michael Capellas said in a communication filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Capellas said MCI accepted a sweetened $7.5 billion deal with Verizon because it provides more certainty to the company than an $8.9 billion bid from Qwest, a financially and strategically weaker company.


Investors appear convinced that the bidding will continue, however. Shares of MCI rose again yesterday to $25.65, closer to the $27.50 per share Qwest has offered and even further above from the $23.10 in cash and stock Verizon has agreed to pay.


American Airlines



Kansas City base to lose up to 600 jobs

American Airlines, the world’s largest carrier, will cut as many as 600 jobs at a Kansas City, Mo., maintenance base as the company’s losses extend to a fifth year.


The reduction of up to 43 percent of the center’s workers will occur in June, American told employees in a letter yesterday.


The airline expects to eliminate 500 to 600 jobs, spokeswoman Sonja Whitemon said. As part of the cuts, an undetermined number of workers may accept transfers, leave voluntarily or take early retirement, she said.


American had losses of $7.26 billion in the past four years.


The carrier said fare competition and record fuel prices forced it to alter aircraft-fleet plans, reducing work for the Kansas City base.


Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News.