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Washington Mutual named Turner Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Leppert to its board of directors.

Leppert, 51, will also serve on the board’s governance and audit committees, Seattle-based Washington Mutual said yesterday.

Leppert has run Turner, a commercial-construction company with $7 billion in revenue, since September 1999.

WestCoast Hospitality

Plans to expand, plus new name

WestCoast Hospitality has changed its name to Red Lion Hotels, reflecting its main hotel brand, and says it plans to expand into more than 100 new markets over the next five years.

The Spokane company now has 59 Red Lion hotels and five WestCoast hotels in 11 Western states and British Columbia, including five hotels in the Seattle-Tacoma area.

The company said its initial target markets would include Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Minneapolis and Phoenix.

Along with the name change, the company’s New York Stock Exchange ticker symbol will change to RLH, starting Friday.

Flow International

Financial results will be delayed

Flow International said yesterday it will restate its fiscal 2005 financial results, which will delay indefinitely the filing of its official 10-Q report for the first quarter of fiscal 2006.

The restatement, related to the valuation of warrants issued to Flow’s lenders earlier this year, will add about $600,000 to Flow’s reported $10.8 million loss in fiscal 2005, which ended April 30.

Until Flow’s outside audit firm has finished going through the 2005 books, it can’t file its first-quarter 10-Q. The Kent company said it’s “unable to predict” when that might happen.

The 10-Q delay could jeopardize Flow’s listing on the Nasdaq. One of Nasdaq’s conditions is that a company keep current on required regulatory filings.


Great Wall store open for business

Five years after Starbucks entered China’s historic Forbidden City where emperors once lived, the company is setting up at another centuries’ old landmark: the Great Wall.

The Seattle-based coffee chain said yesterday that it had opened a store at Badaling, a heavily touristed section of the wall about 25 miles north of Beijing. Starbucks, which first opened in China in 1999, has 140 outlets in China.


Qwest plans to use phone software

Microsoft said Qwest Communications will use its Web-based phone software to offer a new set of services designed for small- and medium-sized businesses.

The Microsoft voice-over-Internet protocol product will be added to Qwest’s existing OneFlex VoIP Service starting in January 2006. Qwest is the first service provider to use Microsoft’s Solution for Enhanced VoIP Services product.


EU investigating more complaints

EU antitrust officials are again analyzing complaints that Microsoft broke European rules, European Commission spokesman Jonathan Todd said yesterday.

Todd refused to say who made the complaints, what they were and whether they contained new information.

“We are currently in the throes of analyzing these informal complaints. And a decision as to whether or not we will open up a new case against Microsoft — any such decision will only be taken once we have completed our scrutiny of the information we have received,” he told reporters.


Positive news lifts company’s stock

Shares of companies involved in stem-cell research surged yesterday on news that StemCells had helped paralyzed laboratory mice regain their ability to walk.

Shares of the Palo Alto, Calif., company rose 60 cents, or 12 percent, to close at $5.53.

Yesterday, the company said a study had shown that when human neural stem cells were transplanted into the crushed spinal cords of mice, the animals regained significant mobility in their hind legs.

The news also bolstered shares of fellow stem-cell researcher Aastrom Biosciences of Ann Arbor, Mich. Shares of the company rose 6 cents, or 2.6 percent, to close at $2.39 yesterday.

MedImmune got a second-day bounce out of news that it was applying for regulatory approval of a formulation of its flu vaccine FluMist that can be stored in refrigerators. Currently, the drug can only be stored in freezers.

The Gaithersburg, Md., company said the new version would allow the drug to be sold to more clinics, physicians’ offices and pharmacies where storing frozen drugs can be problematic. MedImmune shares rose 77 cents, or 2.5 percent, to close at $31.39.


$1.1 billion in losses expected for quarter

American International Group (AIG), one of the world’s largest insurers, said yesterday that it expects $1.1 billion in after-tax losses for the third quarter, mainly because of claims from Hurricane Katrina.

The estimate from the New York-based firm is among the highest released so far by global insurance and reinsurance companies.

Risk-assessment firms have estimated that Katrina could result in insurance claims of $40 billion to $60 billion.

Swiss Reinsurance, the world’s second-largest reinsurance company, last week estimated its exposure to Katrina at $1.2 billion.

Compiled from The Associated Press, Bloomberg News, Dow Jones Newswires and Seattle Times staff