Pacific Northwest Airbus on Tuesday announced new delays on deliveries of the superjumbo A380, already almost two years late, saying the...

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Airbus on Tuesday announced new delays on deliveries of the superjumbo A380, already almost two years late, saying the company is behind schedule in switching to automated production.

Airbus said it will deliver 12 planes in 2008 instead of 13, and 21 planes in 2009 instead of 25. Executives will talk to customers about deliveries for 2010 — originally foreseen at 45 — in the coming weeks.

Airbus CEO Tom Enders said the switch from individual production of the planes to serial production is about two to three months delayed. He declined to say when Airbus will meet its goal of delivering four A380s per month, a pace the plane maker had hoped to meet in 2010.


Britain complains about file system

A British watchdog agency said Tuesday it had complained to European Union regulators that Microsoft’s new file format for storing documents discouraged competition.

The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency said it wanted to help the EU with an investigation it launched in January into whether Microsoft deliberately withheld information from rivals.

The controversy centers on the ability of other companies to create products compatible with Microsoft’s new file format, Office Open XML, which stores Word, Excel and PowerPoint files.

The watchdog group said it told the European Commission that barriers to interoperability hurt students and teachers.

Microsoft spokeswoman Anne-Sophie de Brancion said the company would cooperate with the British agency and the European Commission and that “Microsoft is deeply committed to education and interoperability.”

Saltchuk Resources

Judge approves cargo-unit deal

Aloha Airlines, the bankrupt Hawaiian carrier that ceased passenger flights March 30, won court approval to sell its profitable cargo unit to Seattle-based shipping firm Saltchuk Resources.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Lloyd King in Honolulu approved the deal Monday. Saltchuk agreed to pay $10.5 million for the unit, according to court papers.

Aloha’s pilots union objected to the sale because it didn’t require Saltchuk to adopt the carrier’s employee contracts and hire pilots based on their years of service. Aloha Trustee Dane Field argued the contracts could be legally rejected because the proposed reorganization was converted to Chapter 7 liquidation.


Warning issued on mortgage fraud

The sinking housing market is fertile ground for mortgage fraud, the FBI warns in a new report.

The agency said Tuesday that reports of suspected mortgage fraud rose 31 percent to 46,717 in fiscal 2007, which ended Sept. 30, 2007, up from 35,617 in the previous fiscal year, an FBI spokesman said.

The FBI said that mortgage-fraud losses in fiscal 2007 totaled more than $813 million, though only 7 percent of “suspicious activity” reports detailed the loss in dollars.

Common types of mortgage fraud are misrepresentation of income or assets, forged documents, misrepresentation of a borrowers’ intent to occupy a property and inflated appraisals.

The depressed housing market provides an “ideal climate” for perpetrators of fraud, the FBI report said, adding that identify theft, particularly targeting borrowers with good credit, is likely to increase. It also warned of other scams, promoted as foreclosure rescues.

Earlier this year, the industry-funded Mortgage Asset Research Institute said Florida led the led the nation in mortgage fraud in 2007 for the second straight year, followed by Nevada, Michigan, California, Utah and Georgia.

Apple / Time Warner

HBO programs on iTunes store

Apple has scooped up Time Warner’s HBO to feed television shows to its online iTunes store, reeling in one of the last holdouts among major channels and agreeing to a rare pricing concession to land hit such shows as “The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City” and “The Wire.”

Apple said HBO programming began appearing on iTunes Tuesday and the shows cost either $1.99 or $2.99 per episode, making HBO the only channel allowed to charge above the standard $1.99 for their episodes on iTunes.

Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, said the higher prices for some of HBO’s shows — in particular “Deadwood,” “Rome” and “The Sopranos” — are still cheaper than buying the DVD sets of the full seasons of those shows, which translates into prices two or three times higher per episode.

Whole Foods

Wild Oats deal hurts 2Q profit

Whole Foods Market said Tuesday that sales surged in the second quarter but absorbing the Wild Oats chain it bought last year caused profit to sag by 13 percent.

Company executives said the weakening economy and tougher competition might have curbed their sales growth.

The retailer of organic and natural foods said net income in the quarter ended April 13 fell to $40 million, or 29 cents per share, from $46 million, or 32 cents, a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial had predicted a profit of 30 cents per share.

Whole Foods said last year’s acquisition of Wild Oats Markets cost $8.6 million, or 6 cents per share, in the quarter.

Revenue rose 28 percent to $1.87 billion, but fell short of analysts’ forecast of $1.89 billion.

Before the report was issued, Whole Foods shares fell 11 cents to close at $33.64. In after-hours trading, they dropped $2.86, or 8.5 percent, to $30.78.

Wal-Mart / TJX

Bargain hunters boost discounters

Solid first-quarter profits from discounters Wal-Mart and TJX show that more Americans are hunting for bargains as they struggle to cover their monthly credit-card payments, put food on the table and gas in the family car.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, posted a 6.9 percent increase in first-quarter profits, helped by improved customer service, better inventory control and strong international sales.

The results beat Wall Street’s projections by a penny, but the company issued a cautious outlook for the current quarter and warned that the economy would be a “critical factor” in 2008.

TJX, which operates stores under the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls names, said its first-quarter profits rose almost 20 percent, meeting analysts’ projections. But lower investment income and costs from European expansion left TJX’s profit margin slightly below the company’s expectations.

IAC / Liberty Media

Legal skirmish on spinoff resolved

IAC/InterActiveCorp and Liberty Media say they resolved a legal skirmish regarding IAC’s plans to break into several parts.

Liberty is dropping an appeal it filed disputing a March ruling by a Delaware judge who sided with IAC head Barry Diller on the breakup plans.

Liberty owns about 30 percent of IAC’s equity and was fighting with IAC for months over the breakups.

The companies agreed on various arrangements regarding operations of the spun-off companies. These include Liberty’s right to board representation at each company and a limitation on Liberty’s ability to raise its ownership stakes.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News