Pacific Northwest Boeing said yesterday it had delivered 70 commercial airplanes in the first quarter, six fewer than a year earlier and...

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Pacific Northwest


Boeing said yesterday it had delivered 70 commercial airplanes in the first quarter, six fewer than a year earlier and behind the average pace it needs to meet its 2005 target.

The aerospace company now needs to average just over 83 deliveries in the remaining three quarters to reach its projected total of 320 for the year.

The bulk of first-quarter deliveries — 54 — were for the single-aisle 737. The company also delivered eight wide-body 777s, three 747s, three 717s and one 757 and 767 each.

Meanwhile, Mike Bair, head of Boeing’s 787 program, said 57 additional deposits have come in for the new jet from potential buyers. The deposit secure limited-time offers while negotiations occur.

The 787, due to enter service in 2008, has 193 firm orders and commitments.

Hollywood Entertainment

Former CEO sells remaining stock

Mark Wattles, ex-CEO of Hollywood Entertainment, has sold his remaining stake in the Wilsonville, Ore., company for $52.6 million, cutting his final ties with the video-rental chain he founded.

Wattles, who quit Feb. 2, had hoped to buy back the company from investors but failed when a bidding war for Hollywood’s ownership ensued. He sold his remaining 3.98 million shares, or over 6 percent of the company’s shares.

Dallas-based Blockbuster and Dothan, Ala.-based Movie Gallery both tried to woo Hollywood shareholders. Facing regulatory hurdles, Blockbuster has since dropped its bid.

Hollywood shareholders are to vote April 22 on the $13.25-a-share Movie Gallery offer.


Company ordered to pay Paragon

Weyerhaeuser said yesterday a bankruptcy judge in Georgia ordered it to pay $460 million in a case over Paragon Trade Brands, a diaper business it sold in 1993.

Weyerhaeuser hasn’t recorded a charge against earnings because “it believes the bankruptcy decision will ultimately be reversed” on appeal, the Federal Way-based company said in a statement.

The bankruptcy estate of Paragon sued Weyerhaeuser in May 1999 claiming the company failed to have licenses to certain patents at the time of the sale, the statement said. In June 2002 a court ruled in favor of the Paragon estate.

Weyerhaeuser said its sales pact with Paragon transferred all liabilities of the infant-diaper business, including any liabilities relating to the patents.

Nation / World

Morgan Stanley

Dissidents push for CEO’s ouster

A day after Morgan Stanley said it would spin off its Discover Card division, dissident investors demanded yesterday that its chief executive, Philip Purcell, be dismissed and replaced by one of their own.

In a statement, the so-called “group of eight” former executives and current shareholders said Purcell should be replaced by former President Robert Scott, and that a separate non-executive chairman be named. Purcell holds both positions.

Scott said that, as CEO, he would contact former Morgan Stanley executives who left after last week’s management shake-up and ask them back.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Bloomberg News


Cable company bids for Adelphia assets

Cablevision Systems, the biggest cable-television company in the New York area, bid $16.5 billion for Adelphia Communications’ assets, challenging a joint offer from Comcast and Time Warner, a person familiar with the matter said.

Cablevision’s addition to the auction may give Adelphia Chief Executive Officer William Schleyer leverage to demand more for the assets. The cash offer, although lower than the $17 billion bid from Time Warner and Comcast, may be attractive because it carries no risk of a falling-out between partners. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Providence Equity Partners also made an offer.

The entrance of Cablevision comes toward the end of the auction process. Adelphia began an auction in January for the assets to repay creditors seeking more than $3 trillion after its June 2002 bankruptcy. The company had expected to wrap the sale up by March.

Cablevision may still join KKR and Providence in their offer, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier yesterday.


Automaker to offer voluntary buyouts

Ford, the nation’s second-biggest automaker, will try to eliminate about 1,000 salaried jobs by this summer as part of a voluntary buyout program, the company said yesterday.

Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans said the buyout packages will be offered to employees who are eligible to retire as well as some employees who aren’t yet eligible.

Evans said eligible employees will be notified by the end of this month. Employees who take the offer will leave by June 30, she said.

The program will affect employees at both Ford and Ford Motor Credit.


Same-store sales up; first time in 3 years

Safeway, the No. 3 U.S. grocer, said quarterly same-store sales rose for the first time in three years as shoppers bought more produce and prepared foods.

Excluding fuel sales and strike-affected locations, sales at stores open at least a year climbed 3.2 percent, spurred by higher-quality foods, Safeway said yesterday in a statement. The company also unveiled a $100 million advertising campaign, its largest ever, that aims to recast its image and attract wealthier shoppers.

Sales rose to $8.6 billion in the first quarter ended March 26, a 12 percent gain from a year earlier, when a California strike hurt sales.

Shares of Safeway rose 74 cents, or 4 percent, to $19.39 yesterday.

Beverage industry

Pernod considers bid for Allied Domecq

French beverage group Pernod Ricard is in talks about a possible buyout of its larger British rival Allied Domecq, possibly with assistance from U.S. liquor and consumer products company Fortune Brands.

Yesterday’s announcement of the talks drove up by nearly 18 percent the shares of Allied Domecq, which makes Ballantine’s whiskey and Beefeater gin. Pernod brands include Martell cognac and Jacob’s Creek wine. Fortune distributes Jim Beam whiskey and Absolut vodka.

Investors have long expected consolidation among second-tier drinks companies such as Allied and Pernod, whose combined sales amount to two-thirds of those of Diageo — the British-based world No.1 with brands such as Smirnoff vodka, Guinness stout and Johnnie Walker scotch — and say a deal would put the combined company on a stronger footing to compete with Diageo.


China assails U.S. over textile quotas

China yesterday criticized a U.S. plan to try to re-impose textile quotas in order to protect American manufacturers, calling it unfair and a violation of free trade.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said the Bush administration was trying to blame its trading partners for the problems of U.S. business.

“This is not reasonable,” Qin said at a regular news briefing. “This is unfair. This is protectionist.”

The U.S. Commerce Department said Monday it would bring trade cases to determine whether quotas should be re-imposed to protect U.S. textile makers from a surge in Chinese imports. At the beginning of this year, a global quota system that had limited the amount of textile shipments into the United States expired after more than three decades.

The U.S. government released data Friday showing that shipments of knit shirts from China had increased by 1,258 percent in the first three months of this year, compared to the same period last year, while shipments of cotton trousers were up by 1,521 percent.


Scrushy trial resumes as analyst testifies

The on-again, off-again fraud trial of former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy resumed briefly yesterday with testimony from an analyst who lowered his rating on the stock after an announcement that prosecutors say was linked to the wrongdoing.

The judge then postponed the trial, now in its 11th week, until yesterday, saying attorneys were working outside the courtroom to make the process go smoother.

The trial, which took numerous breaks in March, hadn’t been in session since last Wednesday.

Free on $10 million bail, Scrushy is accused of false corporate reporting in the first test of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act against a chief executive. Neal Seiden, an enforcement official with the Securities and Exchange Commission, testified yesterday that Scrushy signed HealthSouth’s Sarbanes-Oxley certifications in 2002, the year the law was passed.


Revenue forecast raised for 2nd time

Shares of Napster soared yesterday after the online music distributor raised its fourth-quarter revenue guidance, citing strong subscriber growth and better-than-expected sales of downloads.

Napster said yesterday it now expects revenue of between $16.5 million and $17.5 million for its recently ended fiscal fourth quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are looking for the company to post a fourth-quarter loss of 63 cents per share on sales of about $14.5 million.

This marks the second time in about five weeks that Napster has raised its forecast for fourth-quarter revenue.

Apple Computer

Best Buy stores sell Apple’s Mac minis

Apple Computer has started selling its Mac mini computer at Best Buy stores, the second large electronics retailer to carry the slim, $499 PC, Apple said yesterday.

Apple rolled out the Mac mini, which is sold without a monitor, keyboard or computer mouse, in January, taking solid aim at making its products more affordable for the masses. It’s the cheapest Macintosh to date.

CompUSA also sells the Mac mini. Best Buy also sells iPods and iPod accessories in its stores, but no other Macintosh computers than the mini, said Best Buy spokesman Kevin Cockett. The mini is now available at the retailer’s 671 U.S. stores.

Compiled from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and Reuters