Pacific Northwest Boeing CEO Jim McNerney on Wednesday defended the company's reliance on overseas suppliers in building its 787 jetliner...

Share story

Pacific Northwest

Boeing

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney on Wednesday defended the company’s reliance on overseas suppliers in building its 787 jetliner despite admittedly “big stutter steps,” saying the new plane’s innovations give the company a five-year lead over rival Airbus.

McNerney said Boeing’s new strategy of using outside contractors for the bulk of its airplane manufacturing needs refinement but will continue for future aircraft.

His remarks came as Boeing executives provided assurances to investors that the 787 program is sticking to the latest timetable after numerous delays over the past year.

Despite the reassurances, Boeing shares tumbled $3.95, or 4.6 percent, to $81.19 on Wednesday, hurt by the steep drop of stocks of its airline customers amid ever-rising oil prices.

Contract loss spurs California job cuts

Boeing will lay off 750 Southern California employees after losing a lucrative military-satellite contract and seeing a dip in demand for the technology, the company said Wednesday.

The cuts involving engineers at plants in El Segundo and Seal Beach will take the staff of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems, the company’s satellite division, from 7,200 employees to about 6,450. The company said it will help the laidoff employees find jobs at other Boeing locations.

The Pentagon announced last week that it selected Lockheed Martin over Boeing for an Air Force contract worth as much as $3.57 billion to build as many as 12 next-generation global-positioning satellites.

The cuts mark the latest blow to Boeing’s Southern California operations. In 2006, the company began shutting down production of C-17 military cargo planes at its Long Beach plant.

Dendreon

Prostate-drug trial pleases company

Dendreon said Wednesday that preclinical tests of its new drug D-3263 showed promise in the treatment of prostate ailments.

The drug successfully targeted Trp-p8, a protein expressed by cancer cells and present in prostates suffering from benign enlargement, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia. BPH affects a “substantial” number of men between 50 and 60, the Seattle biotech firm said. Prostates treated with the drug showed a reduction in weight and size.

Dendreon’s lead product candidate, Provenge, is aimed at treating prostate cancer.

Glacier Fish

Japanese company buys stake in firm

Nippon Suisan Kaisha of Tokyo, the second-largest marine-products company in Japan, has taken a 25 percent stake in Glacier Fish of Seattle, which in turn is acquiring a smaller company.

In a joint news release, the companies said Wednesday that Glacier is acquiring Alaska Ocean Seafood of Anacortes, owned partly by the Japanese company’s subsidiary, Nippon Suisan (USA). Nippon Suisan is contributing its share in Alaska Ocean to Glacier Fish along with an equity investment to reach the 25 percent stake. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Nippon Suisan’s U.S. holdings include Gorton’s, King & Prince Seafood, FW Bryce and UniSea.

The deal will make Glacier Fish the third-largest at-sea harvester-processor of Alaska pollock and U.S. West Coast whiting, the companies said.

Starbucks

40 stores acquired in eastern Canada

Starbucks Coffee Canada has acquired 40 stores in Quebec and Atlantic Canada from its licensee, Coffee Vision.

As part of the agreement announced Wednesday, Starbucks also acquires development rights for retail stores in the provinces. Starbucks expects to retain about 740 employees and managers at the existing stores.

The Seattle coffee company has a total of 900 stores throughout Canada.

Nation / World

Time Warner

Splitting off cable will bring $9.25B

Time Warner said Wednesday it would formally split off its cable-TV business, giving the media conglomerate a $9.25 billion windfall and allowing it to focus on cable network, entertainment and publishing operations.

The separation of Time Warner Cable gets Time Warner out of the media-distribution business altogether, something investors had been clamoring for.

The company announced its decision to split up last month and said Wednesday the boards of the two companies had agreed to financial terms.

General Motors

Striking workers vote on contract

Union members at General Motors’ Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan., began voting Wednesday on a deal that would end a three-week-old strike.

About 2,500 members of United Auto Workers Local 31 walked off the job May 5 after failing to reach an agreement on a local contract with management at the plant, which makes the hot-selling Chevrolet Malibu as well as the Saturn Aura.

The two sides bridged their differences Tuesday evening. While the union approved a national contract with GM last fall, local contracts that govern work rules, overtime and other items are negotiated separately at each location.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Seattle Times staff