Pacific Northwest Boeing said it will provide a long-awaited update on its 787 Dreamliner jet program on Wednesday. Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief...

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Boeing said it will provide a long-awaited update on its 787 Dreamliner jet program on Wednesday. Boeing Commercial Airplanes Chief Executive Scott Carson is expected to announce a further delay of around six months to the jet’s delivery schedule.

That would mean launch customer All Nippon Airways of Japan won’t get its first Dreamliner until fall 2009, about 16 months late.

The Dreamliner, built from carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, has been plagued with production problems blamed largely on the jet’s globe-spanning supply chain. In two previous delay announcements, executives said work that should have been performed by the suppliers was incomplete.

Late last month, in a sign of dissatisfaction with one supplier’s performance, Boeing bought out the half share owned by major partner Vought Aircraft Industries in the 787 rear fuselage assembly plant in Charleston, S.C.

Boeing also admitted in March that it has had to strengthen the design of the center wing-box, a key structural part of the airframe made in Japan.

Pyramid Breweries

Company will pay $1.3M to settle suit

Pyramid Breweries agreed to pay $1.3 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that employees of its alehouses in Sacramento, Berkeley and Walnut Creek, Calif., were denied adequate opportunity for meal and rest breaks, according to a securities filing Monday.

The lawsuit was filed as a potential class action, but it had not received that status. The Seattle brewery agreed to class certification as part of the settlement. The class includes certain people who worked at the alehouses between April 30, 2003, and Sept. 30, 2007.

Pyramid will take a roughly $1.1 million charge to earnings for the quarter ended March 31. The settlement is subject to court approval.

Greenbrier

Roller bearing plant acquired

Railcar manufacturer Greenbrier said Monday that it purchased Roller Bearing Industries from SKF USA. Terms were not disclosed.

Greenbrier Rail Services President Tim Stuckey said the acquisition of the Kentucky plant will enhance the company’s replacement parts business and boost its presence in the wheel services market.

Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Greenbrier builds railroad freight cars and marine barges. It also repairs and refurbishes freight cars and provides wheels and railcar parts.

Economy

Consumer borrowing slowed

Consumers, battered by a credit crunch and prolonged housing slump, significantly slowed their pace of borrowing in February.

The Federal Reserve reported Monday that consumer borrowing rose at an annual rate of 2.4 percent in February, just half of the 4.9 percent increase in January.

The slowdown reflected much weaker demand for auto loans and other type of nonrevolving credit, which rose at a rate of 0.4 percent in February, lower than the 3.6 percent growth rate in January. Credit card debt rose at a 5.9 percent rate.

Consumers have been moving to put more of their purchases on their credit cards as banks have tightened up on lending standards for home equity loans in response to the deepening credit crisis.

Retailers

Online spending expected to rise

Online spending is expected to rise a robust 17 percent this year, despite a sluggish economy that has bruised many brick-based retailers, according to an annual survey to be released today.

Retail sales online, excluding travel purchases, are set to grow to $204 billion in 2008 from $174.5 billion last year, fueled by sales of apparel, computers and autos, according to a survey by Internet analysis firm Forrester Research for Shop.org, the online arm of the National Retail Federation trade group. That projection is below the 21 percent increase seen in the prior year, but industry officials attribute it to the maturing of the business, not the sluggish economy.

The upbeat report contrasts with the outlook for many traditional retailers, which have been paring down store growth and closing shops as they struggle with consumers who don’t feel like spending amid higher gas and food costs, a housing slump and a weaker job market.

Motorola

4 Icahn nominees will get board seats

Motorola made peace with Carl Icahn on Monday, heading off a proxy battle with the billionaire investor by agreeing to seat four of his nominees on its board of directors.

While the mobile phone maker remains in steep descent, the move avoids a second annual meeting showdown with Icahn and silences — for now — his attacks in the media and in court on its managers and their decisions.

Motorola named Keith Meister, a managing director of Icahn investment funds, to its board and said it will nominate him and fellow Icahn nominee William Hambrecht for director slots. That virtually assures both will be elected at the company’s May 5 shareholder meeting.

Schaumburg, Ill.-based Motorola also pledged to seek input from Icahn on the planned separation of its mobile devices operations and search for a chief executive for that business under the terms of the agreement.

Alcon

Novartis to buy majority of Alcon

Swiss drugmaker Novartis agreed to pay Nestle $39 billion for 77 percent of eye-care leader Alcon in a two-step deal that would make Novartis the world’s biggest maker of eye-care products.

The purchase, to be completed in 2010 or 2011, is the biggest ever in the eye-care sector and one of the largest deals involving a drugmaker in six years, says financial services firm Thomson.

The deal, announced Monday, also underscores the move by many drugmakers to diversify, given pressures on drug prices, increasing competition from generic drugs and a dearth of new blockbusters.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, The Associated Press and USA Today