Everett-based Frontier Financial, which operates Frontier Bank, agreed to buy NorthStar Financial, owner of NorthStar Bank, for $48.2 million in stock to add branches in Seattle.

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Everett-based Frontier Financial, which operates Frontier Bank, agreed to buy NorthStar Financial, owner of NorthStar Bank, for $48.2 million in stock to add branches in Seattle.

NorthStar has branches in Ballard and Fremont and a loan-production office in Pierce County. Frontier has 40 branches in eight counties in Washington.

The purchase, expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2006, would add to Frontier’s earnings immediately, the company said in the statement. The deal requires shareholder and regulatory approval.


Analyst says cash starting to pile up

Microsoft may increase dividend payments or buy back more stock because its cash is starting to pile up again, according to analyst Charles Di Bona.

Microsoft’s cash and investments will rise to about $73.4 billion by the end of fiscal 2008 from $49.9 billion in 2005, Di Bona, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., in New York, wrote in a note to clients yesterday.

In July 2004, Microsoft announced a four-year plan to return $75 billion to shareholders that included a $32 billion, one-time dividend, $30 billion of stock repurchases and a doubling of its quarterly payout. Those moves won’t be enough to keep cash balances at levels where investors believe they’re getting their fair share, according to Di Bona.


Redirection, new name: Intermec

Unova, an Everett-based company that produces supply-chain automation equipment, will change its name to Intermec Inc. effective Jan. 1. The change reflects the company’s move away from industrial automation machines and toward automated data systems.

Intermec will include Intermec Technologies, which specializes in wireless networking, mobile computing and radio frequency identification, and a smaller business unit focused on intellectual property.

The company also announced that Chief Operating Officer Steve Winter will become president of Intermec Technologies, replacing Tom Miller, who will become vice president of corporate development for Intermec Inc. Robert Smith, president of Unova’s Industrial Automation Systems unit, will leave the company at the end of the year. Rick Andersen was named acting chief financial officer.


India carrier inks 777-300ER deal

Jet Airways, India’s biggest domestic carrier, has signed a previously announced agreement to buy 10 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, a deal worth $2.53 billion at list prices.

Separately yesterday, Boeing said it sold one of its large business jets to a Hong Kong customer it did not name, marking the plane maker’s first business-jet sale in China’s rapidly growing private economy.

Northwest Airlines

Union leader scoffs at replacement hires

The leader of striking mechanics at Northwest Airlines said yesterday he isn’t worried that the hiring of permanent replacement employees will scare his members into going back to work.

The carrier said it would begin hiring replacements today, but that has only strengthened the mechanics’ resolve, said O.V. Delle-Femine, president of the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Organization.

“It’s a sign of their desperation,” he said.

Talks between the union and the airline broke down Sunday over the company’s demands for deeper cuts than had been requested before the strike began Aug. 20.


Airlines’ ’05 losses linked to fuel costs

Airlines worldwide will likely lose $7.4 billion this year because of high oil prices, an industry trade group forecast yesterday — far worse results than expected.

The grim report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) came as airline customers, investors and employees prepared for Delta Air Lines’ long-anticipated bankruptcy filing, which reportedly could come sometime this week.

In its report, the association said U.S. carriers will lose a combined $8 billion, while European airlines should break even and Asian airlines might earn a profit.

Office Depot

Retailer to close 27 stores worldwide

Office Depot said yesterday it would close 16 stores in North America and 11 more in its international division in hopes of boosting future performance.

The company, the nation’s second-largest office products retailer, said it would also eliminate the Viking brand in the United States and close two warehouses.

In a brief statement, Office Depot said the changes are “designed to focus the company on profitable growth, improve efficiency and enhance the company’s performance.”

Krispy Kreme

Doughnut maker predicts lower sales

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts will delay the earnings report for its most recent fiscal quarter as the troubled doughnut maker continues evaluating its accounting practices, the company told the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday.

When it does eventually post earnings, the company expects to report quarterly revenues of about $140 million, down 21 percent from the $177.4 million it reported in the same quarter last year. The company also said sales declined about 18 percent systemwide and 20 percent for factory stores for the second quarter of fiscal 2006, which ended July 31.

The company has not filed earnings reports since the January ouster of CEO Scott Livengood.

Ford Canada

Tentative contract settlement reached

The Canadian Auto Workers union yesterday reached a tentative contract settlement with Ford Canada that will result in some layoffs and “modest” wage and pension increases over the next three years, union President Buzz Hargrove said.

The deal with Ford sets a pattern that its Big Three competitors, General Motors and DaimlerChrysler, will be expected to accept in subsequent talks that begin Monday.

Compiled from The Associated Press, The Chicago Tribune, Knight Ridder Newspapers, Bloomberg News, Seattle Times staff and Reuters