Buisness Digest

BUSINESS DIGEST

October 05, 2007|By This column was compiled from dispatches by Sun reporters, the Associated and Bloomberg News.

Maryland : Investing

Medifast cuts earnings forecast

Medifast Inc. sharply cut its earnings forecast for 2007 yesterday. The Owings Mills maker of diet meals said it expected to earn 31 to 33 cents a share this year, down from the 45 to 46 cents projected earlier. Revenue will be $81 million to $83 million, the company said, down from the $85 million to $88 million it had been expecting. The company said the narrowed profit resulted from "significant strategic investments," including developing future advertising campaigns. Medifast said it expects an upturn in 2008, after launching an advertising campaign featuring celebrity spokeswomen.

M. William Salganik

Acquisitions

Wise Metals sells stake in Ala. plan

Baltimore-based Wise Metals Groups LLC has sold a 25 percent stake to the Retirement Systems of Alabama in a $75 million deal announced yesterday. Wise is an aluminum can stock producer that has posted losses in recent years in part because of metal price caps and the loss of major vendors. It plans to use the money to increase inventory and expand capital projects, said Treasurer Mike Sheridan. Wise reported a $4.9 million loss in the second quarter ended June 30, and a more than $80 million loss for 2006. Wise is a privately held company with publicly traded debt. As part of its holdings, the company operates a recycling and maintenance center in Muscle Shoals, Ala. RSA has invested in a host of commercial endeavors, including real estate and media.

Sara Murray

Earnings

Marriott profit is down 7%

Marriott International Inc. said yesterday that its third-quarter net income fell 7 percent on a decline in timeshare profit and a higher tax rate. Net income for the quarter that ended Sept. 7 slipped to $131 million, or 33 cents per share, from $141 million, or 33 cents per share, in the 2006 period. Per-share earnings for the latest quarter are based on about 31 million fewer shares outstanding. Revenue climbed 12 percent to $3.04 billion from $2.70 billion in the prior-year quarter.

Nation

: Economy

GE to cut about 1,400 jobs

General Electric Co. plans to cut about 1,400 jobs at its lighting division as the company closes plants amid a consumer shift to more energy-efficient fluorescent lamps. About 425 jobs will be eliminated in Ohio, where GE will shut six of its 26 U.S. lighting factories, according to spokeswoman Kim Freeman. The company also will close a plant in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, eliminating 900 jobs and ceasing all lighting operations there.

Fed lending to banks falls for 3rd week

The Federal Reserve's direct lending to banks fell for a third straight week, showing a dwindling need among banks for emergency funds as liquidity returns to credit markets. The daily average of primary discount-window lending fell by $61 million in the week that ended yesterday, to $27 million, according to Fed statistics released yesterday in Washington. Fed district bank presidents have highlighted signs of improvement in capital markets in the past two weeks and traders have pared their expectations for further interest-rate cuts.

Media

Internet ad revenue up more than 26%

U.S. Internet advertising revenue grew more than 26 percent to about $10 billion in the first six months of the year, according to a study released yesterday. Keyword ads -- such as those displayed alongside search results at Google Inc. -- remain the most lucrative, accounting for about 40 percent of online revenue. The figures come from a PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP study conducted quarterly by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an industry trade group.

Manufacturing

Boeing deliveries increase 9%

Boeing Co. said yesterday that it delivered 9 percent more commercial airplanes in the third quarter than a year ago, with the single-aisle 737 model accounting for three-quarters of the total. The company delivered 109 planes in the period, up from 100 a year earlier.

This column was compiled from dispatches by Sun reporters, the Associated Press and Bloomberg News.

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