Pacific Northwest Concur Technologies reported that third-quarter profit more than doubled on higher subscription revenue. The Redmond software maker...

Share story

Software

Concur Technologies reported that third-quarter profit more than doubled on higher subscription revenue.

The Redmond software maker that helps companies manage travel costs said profit increased to $4.46 million, or 9 cents a share, from $1.76 million, or 4 cents, a year earlier. Per-share earnings, excluding some items, was 24 cents, beating the 12-cent average estimate of 15 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Concur is benefiting from companies’ attempts to reduce travel costs as fuel prices soar. American Express bought a 13 percent stake in Concur and agreed to market its products, the companies said Tuesday.

Concur’s sales jumped 65 percent to $54.9 million, above the company’s April forecast of $53 million. Subscription revenue climbed 76 percent.

The company raised its forecast for 2008 sales to $214 million from $211 million and profit before some items to 84 cents a share from 79 cents. For the fourth quarter, Concur forecast $56 million in sales and 22 cents in profit.

Alternative energy

Imperium trims corporate office

Imperium Renewables has reduced the size of its corporate work force, the company said Wednesday, without saying how many employees were affected.

The fortunes of Seattle-based Imperium, which operates one of the largest biodiesel plants in the country, have declined along with those of the national renewable fuels industry. The skyrocketing price of raw materials for biodiesel — — mostly made from vegetable oil — has crushed the industry’s profit margins. A significant portion of U.S. biodiesel production capacity lies idle as a result.

Last June, Imperium said it exported the majority of its production to Europe, where its biodiesel can fetch higher prices.

Marketing

Local Marketers raises $4.1 million

Bellevue startup Local Marketers said Wednesday it had raised $4.1 million from local investors.

The money, provided by Madrona Venture Group, brings the total raised by the company to $5.1 million since 2006.

The company, which specializes in online marketing, also said it has selected Walter Boos as new chief executive officer. The company said Boos, 55, is a veteran of IBM’s sales force and has served as president of educational software maker SchoolKiT.

Mitch Brandow, the founder and former CEO, remains the chairman and vice president of business development.

Utilities

PSE eyes wind, gas for surge in power

Puget Sound Energy said Wednesday that it is eyeing the long-term purchase of 560 megawatts of new electricity from three outside sources within the next 12 to 18 months.

Two of the potential sources are wind farms in the Pacific Northwest. The Bellevue-based company, Washington’s largest utility, said it is also studying the purchase of an existing natural gas-fired power plant.

Separately on Wednesday, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission scheduled an Aug. 25-27 settlement hearing on the proposed takeover of Puget Sound Energy by an international consortium. The UTC said it will hold a final hearing in Olympia on Aug. 26 to collect public comment.

Nation and World

Aviation

Hawaiian to add $15 luggage fee

Hawaiian Airlines says it will soon begin charging $15 for a first checked bag on flights between the mainland and Hawaii.

The carrier will also adjust its frequent-flier program by increasing the mileage needed to redeem award tickets. The $15 baggage fee will be added for tickets purchased after Aug. 1 for travel starting Oct. 1.

The Honolulu-based airline says there will be no charge for the first piece of checked luggage on interisland flights.

Hawaiian already charges $25 for a second bag on mainland flights and $17 on interisland flights.

Aviation

United accuses pilots of illegal job actions

United Airlines on Wednesday asked a federal judge to stop four pilots and their union from abusing sick time and refusing to fly extra hours, saying illegal job actions have caused hundreds of cancellations.

The injunction request accuses the Air Line Pilots Association of encouraging a sick-out, and said pilots were refusing to pick up extra flying.

United said the first officers on its Boeing 737s and Airbus A320s called in sick the most.

Electronics

Dell to get back into music-player arena

Dell may introduce a range of portable devices, including a music player, as part of a strategy to link consumers with music, movies and other digital content.

Dell, the second-largest personal-computer maker, is testing products based on digital-content software developed by Zing Systems, said Michael Tatelman, head of global consumer sales and marketing. Dell bought Zing last year.

“Whether Dell will make Dell-branded music players or other small-screen devices has not been determined,” Tatelman said Wednesday. “We will be announcing some new products, possibly including other small-screen devices, this year.”

Dell abandoned its previous effort to crack the Apple iPod’s lead in the digital music market, scrapping a player called the DJ Ditty in 2006. Microsoft’s Zune and products from Sony also haven’t curbed the popularity of the iPod.

Automotive

GM plans job cuts in U.S. and Canada

General Motors plans to cut 15 percent of its U.S. and Canadian salaried work force — or about 5,100 jobs — by Nov. 1 as part of a plan to slash billions of dollars and help the automaker ride out a slump in U.S. sales.

A GM official declined to confirm the specific numbers but indicated they were generally accurate. The official asked not to be named because GM had not planned to release the numbers until later.

Word of the cuts came two days before GM plans to release its second-quarter results. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are predicting a loss of $2.63 per share amid plummeting truck and sport-utility vehicle sales.

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