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Pacific Northwest


Nordstrom shares soared yesterday in the first day of trading after the Seattle upscale clothing chain posted results that surpassed Wall Street’s expectations.

The shares rose $3.18, or 10.2 percent, to $34.30.


Bank to sell plane-leasing unit

Investment bank Morgan Stanley yesterday announced it will sell Bellevue’s AWAS, the one remaining aircraft-leasing company based in the region.

The bank acquired AWAS, formerly Ansett Worldwide Aviation Services, in 2000 and planned to sell the unit early on. Resale plans were postponed after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States depressed aviation-industry prices.

In a statement, new Morgan Stanley Chief Executive John Mack said it is an opportune time to sell AWAS, “in light of several other recent transactions and expressions of interest.”

In April, Aviation Capital Group acquired aircraft lessor Boullioun Aviation Services of Bellevue for more than $2.5 billion. The local Boullioun operation will be closed.

AWAS, with offices in New York, Miami, London, Singapore and Sydney, Australia, has about 30 staff members in Bellevue and 119 worldwide. It owns 155 commercial jets, all leased.


Union recertified at ex-Boeing plant

Technical and professional employees at Spirit Aerosystems, the former Boeing commercial plant in Wichita, Kan., voted yesterday to recertify the union, by a vote of 829 to 602.

This unit of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) survived a recertification vote in 2004 by a smaller margin. After the Boeing sale in June of the Wichita plant, union members ratified a new contract with the buyer, Canadian investment firm Onex.

SPEEA negotiates for 4,660 employees at Spirit and at Boeing’s defense unit in Wichita, though only about 43 percent are union members.

SPEEA’s largest bargaining unit, representing more than 17,500 employees in Puget Sound — more than 15,000 of them members — will negotiate a new Boeing contract this fall.


Shunned suitor pursues company

Public Storage said yesterday that it had hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise on its proposal to buy Shurgard Storage Centers, the Seattle self-storage company.

Public Storage of Glendale, Calif., said earlier this month that it had made an unsolicited offer for Shurgard.

Despite rebuffs from Shurgard management, Public Storage said the combination “is clearly in the best interests of all Shurgard shareholders.” Hiring Goldman Sachs would “help us effect this transaction.”

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff and Dow Jones Newswires

Pacific Northwest

Northwest Business Bank

Bank to be acquired by Oregon company

An Oregon banking company yesterday said it has agreed to acquire the parent company of Northwest Business Bank for approximately $39 million in cash and stock.

Pacific Continental, based in Eugene, will use the two locations — in Seattle and Bellevue — as a foothold for expanding into the Washington market.

The Oregon bank holding company had $553.8 million in assets June 30, while Northwest Business Bank’s parent company had assets totaling $143.4 million.

The deal, structured as a merger, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.


Former CFO at Corixa is hired

Dendreon said yesterday that it has hired Michelle Burris, the former chief financial officer of Corixa, as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

The Seattle-based biotech company said Burris will replace Martin Simonetti, who announced his resignation in June.

Burris joined Corixa in 1994. She left the company last month when it was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline for $300 million.

Nation and world


Earnings report a boost to shares

Shares of Hewlett-Packard surged to a new 52-week high yesterday after the computer and printer maker’s fiscal third-quarter results easily surpassed Wall Street expectations, though a one-time tax adjustment led to a sharp decrease in earnings.

HP shares rose $3.12, or 13.16 percent, to close at $26.82 yesterday.

In the first full quarter under CEO Mark Hurd, the company Tuesday reported higher sales in all its major businesses — computers, printers and services.

“I expected to see improvements out of HP under the new management, but this is more and sooner,” said Cindy Shaw, an analyst at Moors & Cabot Capital Markets. “I thought it would take Mark Hurd a lot longer to show tangible improvements like this.”

Morgan Stanley

New CEO decides against card spinoff

Morgan Stanley Chief Executive John Mack made his first major move to revamp the Wall Street firm yesterday, announcing that the company will not spin off its Discover Financial Services credit-card arm, as was considered under former CEO Phil Purcell.

Critics have claimed the credit-card division has been only modestly profitable and unrelated to the company’s high-end financial services. Discover has generated strong cash flow and consistent earnings for the company, however, giving Morgan Stanley liquidity for its other investment banking, asset management and brokerage divisions.

Six Flags

Shareholder faults CEO, seeks ouster

Six Flags’ largest shareholder, Red Zone, called for shareholders to oust Chief Executive Officer Kieran Burke and other board members, saying the world’s largest regional theme-park operator is underperforming.

Red Zone nominated Mark Shapiro, former executive vice president of programming and production for Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN; Daniel Snyder, managing member of Red Zone and owner of the Washington Redskins football team; and Dwight Schar, chairman of NVR to replace Burke, Chief Financial Officer James Dannhauser and Stanley Shuman on the board.

Red Zone said that if shareholders approve its plans, it intends to boost its stake in Six Flags to 34.9 percent from 11.7 percent. It offered to pay $6.50 a share, 18 percent more than yesterday’s closing share price.


Ex-exec wants suit on expenses tossed

Ex-Wal-Mart Vice Chairman Thomas Coughlin asked a judge to dismiss a suit by his former employer that accuses him of abusing his expense account.

Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, sued Coughlin, 56, for fraud last month, claiming that for five years starting in 1997 he looted the company of hundreds of thousands of dollars by obtaining reimbursement for personal items like underwear and dog food. Coughlin received more than $15 million in pay and benefits during his last two years with Wal-Mart.

Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, The Associated Press and Bloomberg News