As a REIT, the Longview company would pay a much richer dividend — about $1 a share, compared with the 11 cents it's paid out over the past 12 months.

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After 79 years as a corporation, Longview Fibre plans to convert into a real-estate investment trust, or REIT, by January.

As a REIT, the Longview company would pay a much richer dividend — about $1 a share, compared with the 11 cents it’s paid out over the past 12 months. REITs must distribute at least 90 percent of their ordinary taxable income to investors and can only operate in certain lines of business; however, they don’t pay corporate income taxes.

Converting to a REIT should make Longview’s stock more attractive and in a better position to add to its timberland holdings, CEO Rick Wollenberg said in a statement. Longview owns and manages 585,000 acres of softwood timberlands, mostly in Western Washington and Oregon.



being acquired

Marchex said yesterday that it has acquired IndustryBrains, a New York online advertising company, for $15.6 million in cash and $15 million in stock.

IndustryBrains focuses on selling targeted advertising on Web sites.

Marchex said IndustryBrains will add at least $4 million to its revenue for the rest of 2005, and raised its revenue forecast for the year to $90 million from $86 million.

Puget Sound Energy

Governor OKs

wind-power plan

Gov. Christine Gregoire has approved the first large-scale wind-power project for Central Washington’s Kittitas County.

The Wild Horse Wind Power Project is planned for a remote 5,000-acre tract of land atop Whiskey Dick Mountain, east of the Cascade Mountain range.

Zilkha Renewable Energy began developing the Wild Horse project two years ago. Puget Sound Energy intends to buy the $350 million project from Zilkha.

Puget Sound Energy plans to install about 127 turbines to produce 230 megawatts initially. That’s enough power to supply more than 70,000 homes.

The wind farm is expected to be operating by the end of 2006.


Plan to sell

rocket unit OK’d

U.S. antitrust authorities said yesterday that they had approved plans by United Technologies to acquire a Boeing rocket-engine unit.

Officials have finished their investigation of the $700 million sale of Boeing’s Rocketdyne Propulsion & Power without taking action, the Federal Trade Commission said.

The companies announced the deal in February.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, The Associated Press and Reuters



Energy prices

pump up results

Higher crude-oil and natural-gas prices, as well as strong gains in refining and exploration, boosted ConocoPhillips’ second-quarter profit 51 percent, the company reported yesterday.

Profit surged to $3.14 billion, or $2.21 a share, in the April-June period compared with $2.08 billion, or $1.48 a share, in 2004. Income from continuing operations was $3.13 billion, or $2.21 a share, compared with $2.01 billion, or $1.44 a share, a year ago.

Total sales climbed 34 percent, to $42.6 billion from $31.9 billion.

The earnings results topped Wall Street’s consensus forecast of $2.02 a share, the average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Shares of ConocoPhillips rose 84 cents to $62.26 yesterday.


Merger improves

health of profit

The marriage that produced the nation’s largest health insurer pushed WellPoint’s earnings above expectations and boosted enrollment by 6 percent in the second quarter.

Profit rose to $559.4 million, or 90 cents a share, for the three months ended June 30 as the company benefited from higher prices and a larger customer base. Indianapolis-based Anthem and Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based WellPoint Health Networks merged in November.

Earnings for the latest quarter were cut 10 cents a share by costs related to a $135 million settlement of two national lawsuits with physicians.

Excluding those costs, the results topped the 97-cent estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

WellPoint shares fell $1.19 to close at $67.10 yesterday.


Golden Arches

to enfold Shrek

Ronald McDonald is getting a new sidekick: Shrek.

McDonald’s said yesterday it has signed a two-year, nonexclusive deal to promote DreamWorks Animation SKG films beginning with the release of “Shrek 3” in 2007.

McDonald’s previously said it wanted to try a new approach to marketing partnerships when its exclusive 10-year deal with the Walt Disney Co. expires next year.

The announcement was expected by Disney, which has yet to say which fast-food promotional partner it might work with in the future.


Suit seeks to cancel

retirement deal

Wal-Mart sued former Vice Chairman Tom Coughlin yesterday, seeking to void his multimillion-dollar retirement package amid company allegations of misspending before he resigned from the Wal-Mart board.

The world’s largest retailer had previously disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it was firing Coughlin retroactively for “gross misconduct.” The lawsuit, filed in Bentonville, Ark., home to Wal-Mart headquarters, seeks to formally sever the pact.

Coughlin was Wal-Mart’s second-in-command before retiring last year. He left his board seat when the company disclosed in March that it was handing documents over to the Justice Department showing that $500,000 had been misspent.

A federal grand jury is investigating.

Coughlin has denied wrongdoing.

Compiled from The Associated Press