Other items: Deliveries increase at Boeing, but Airbus still leads; Gen-Probe gets rights to testing; Olympia brewery buys cider brand.

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Eddie Bauer said yesterday that it would close 23 stores nationwide by the end of the month, including one at the Bellis Fair Mall in Bellingham.

The Redmond-based retailer didn’t say how many employees would be cut, but each store averages 20 workers. The company will have 418 remaining stores.

Eddie Bauer spokeswoman Lisa Erickson said the store closures are not related to the bankruptcy proceedings of its parent company, Spiegel Group.

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Erickson said the 23 stores either underperformed, were coming up for lease negotiations or in an area where there are multiple locations.

Employees were notified Dec. 30. The stores will close Jan. 23, Erickson said.


Boeing


Deliveries increase, but Airbus still leads

Boeing delivered 285 jetliners last year, its first annual increase since 2002, as a recovery in air travel helped sales.

Still, Airbus beat Boeing for the second straight year with 320 deliveries in 2004, up 5 percent from 2003, according to a person familiar with the company.

Boeing said yesterday that it delivered 67 planes in the fourth quarter, down from 71 a year earlier. The company delivered 281 commercial aircraft in 2003.

The fourth-quarter deliveries were dominated by 48 single-aisle 737s and included nine wide-body 777s, four 747s, three 767s and three 717s.


Corixa


Gen-Probe gets rights to testing

Corixa said yesterday it has signed licenses giving Gen-Probe the rights to develop molecular diagnostic tests for about 50 potential genetic markers for a number of cancers, including prostate, ovarian, cervical, kidney, lung and colon cancer.

Gen-Probe will pay Corixa a $1.6 million initial fee and $3.2 million in two more payments in 2006 and 2007 unless it terminates the agreement.

Gen-Probe, a San Diego company that makes diagnostic blood tests, will also pay Corixa royalties if it develops any products with the technology, and $2 million on a product-by-product basis if certain milestones are reached.


Fish Brewing


Olympia brewery buys cider brand

Washington Wine & Beverage, which owns Silver Lake Winery, Glen Fiona winery and Spire Mountain Ciders, sold its cider brand to Fish Brewing. Terms of the deal, which closed Saturday, were not disclosed.

Fish Brewing, an Olympia brewery that makes Fish Tale Ales and Leavenworth Beers, will sell, market and produce Spire Mountain Cider. Retailers and distributors of the cider will remain the same.

Washington Wine & Beverage will become the second-largest shareholder in Fish Brewing under the deal.

“While we have had great success with Spire Mountain over the years, we think that the sales and marketing of these products is much more closely aligned with the malt-beverage industry,” said Sal Leone, president and chief executive officer of Washington Wine & Beverage.

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


Nation/World


APEC


Port exec tapped for economic group

Mic Dinsmore, chief executive of the Port of Seattle, was named co-chair of the National Center for APEC (NCAPEC), the Seattle-based organization that forms part of the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, the organization said yesterday.

Dinsmore will share the chairmanship with Troy Clarke, president of General Motors Asia Pacific, a unit of the U.S. automaker based in Shanghai.

Dinsmore is the first Seattleite to chair the organization since 1998, said Monica Whaley, NCAPEC executive director. The center, which serves as the secretariat for the three U.S. members of the APEC Business Advisory Council, is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.


U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Business leader criticizes Spitzer

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donohue issued a blistering broadside against New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer yesterday, charging he is abusing his power as a law-enforcement official.

“Spitzer’s approach is to walk in and say, ‘Well, we’re going to make a deal, and you’re going to pay 600 million dollars to the state and you’re going to get rid of this person and that person and if you don’t do it by tonight then I’m going to indict the company.’ What does indict the company mean? It means they’re going to put you out of business,” Donohue said.

“It’s the most egregious and unacceptable form of intimidation that we have seen in this country in modern time,” he said.

Spitzer gained national attention in recent years with investigations of the brokerage firm Merrill Lynch, insurance broker Marsh & McLennan and former New York Stock Exchange chairman Richard Grasso.

The criticism comes about a month after Spitzer, a Democrat, announced he will run for governor of New York in 2006.

“The chamber should be a proponent of high standards,” responded Spitzer’s spokesman, Darren Dopp. “Instead, Mr. Donohue is attacking the one person who has done the most to level the playing field for honest business. His comments are misinformed and unfortunate.”


Intel


Silicon laser could carry data via light

Working with the basic material of computer chips, Intel researchers have constructed an all-silicon laser that could lead to computers one day harnessing light waves rather than electrical currents to shuttle data swiftly.

Today, lasers that power fast optical networks require exotic — and expensive — materials and are mainly used in vast communications networks. With everyday silicon, the capacity and efficiency of light waves could be used cheaply in much smaller environments.

As a result, the movement of data within computers would keep up with the ever-increasing speed of microprocessors, breaking through an increasing bottleneck that exists for users of complex programs, such as video editors, large businesses and governments.

Silicon lasers also could be mass-produced, using the same equipment on which standard chips are made.

The Intel research, co-authored by Paniccia and posted on the journal Nature’s Web site yesterday, involved creating a laser with a single silicon chip. Like all lasers, it emitted a focused stream of light that could be manipulated to carry vast amounts of data at high speeds.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and The Associated Press.