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Business Briefs
Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, April 16, 2003


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Continental Airlines loss widens

Houston >> Continental Airlines Inc., the fifth-largest U.S. carrier, said its first-quarter loss widened as war in Iraq hurt demand for travel and pushed up fuel prices.

The net loss increased to $221 million, or $3.38 a share, from $166 million, or $2.61, in the same quarter last year, the company said in a statement. Sales rose 2.5 percent to $2.04 billion from $1.99 billion.

Continental, the first U.S. airline to report results for the quarter, said average fares fell as consumers and companies avoided travel because of the war and terrorism fears. Asian travel also declined on the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. Continental said fuel prices rose 64 percent, as the war raised concerns about oil supply disruptions.

The Houston-based airline said ticket sales have been picking up in the past few days.

Gannett earnings pinched by war

McLEAN, Va. >> Gannett Co. Inc.'s first-quarter earnings ticked up 2.6 percent in the first three months of 2003 after an initially strong quarter for advertising slowed down as the Iraq war approached.

The media company, which owns USA Today and 99 other U.S.-based daily newspapers, including the Honolulu Advertiser, reported earnings of $250 million, or 93 cents a share, compared to $244 million, or 91 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

The earnings barely exceeded the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call, who had predicted 92 cents a share. The company had warned analysts earlier this month that its initial guidance of 94 to 96 cents a share was overly optimistic.

Quarterly revenue increased 2.6 percent, to $1.55 billion from $1.51 billion in 2002. Newspaper advertising, which accounts for about two-thirds of the company's revenue, increased 3.7 percent, from $969 million to $1.01 billion.

Gannett also has an ownership interest in the Web portal Hawaii.com and owns a handful of small local publications such as the Pennysaver.

Emmis 4th-quarter loss narrows

Indianapolis >> Emmis Communications Corp., which owns 21 radio and 16 television stations, including two in Hawaii, said its fiscal fourth-quarter net loss narrowed to $5.15 million as advertising sales helped boost revenue.

The loss for the period ended Feb. 28 was 14 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $31.8 million, or 72 cents, a year earlier, Emmis said. It was expected to have a loss of 18 cents, the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Revenue beat Emmis's January forecast of $120.9 million, boosted by higher sales from its TV business and improved ratings for some of its radio stations, the Indianapolis-based company said.

Emmis owns KHON-TV, a FOX affiliate, and KGMB-TV, a CBS affiliate, as well as those stations' satellite- and repeater stations on the neighbor islands.

Fed governor named to accounting board

WASHINGTON >> The Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday announced it has chosen William J. McDonough, president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, to head the new agency created by Congress to oversee the scandal-tainted accounting industry.

The five SEC commissioners voted unanimously to select McDonough, who already had planned to leave the Fed, as chairman of the accounting oversight board.

McDonough has led the Fed's New York bank since July 1993.

In other news ...

SEATTLE >> Microsoft Corp. reported a 2 percent increase in profit for its third quarter on yesterday, beating analysts' expectations, but cautioned that it does not see a recovery in technology spending anytime soon.


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[Hawaii Inc.]

NEW JOBS

>> Dan and Pam Coco are the new Coverall Cleaning Concepts master owners for Hawaii. The commercial cleaning company has more than 60 franchise owners in the state. Coverall franchisees have more than 36,000 customers in 85 cities worldwide.

>> Christine A. Coronado will replace Nicholas N. Yee as Edward Jones investment representative in Mililani Shopping Center.

>> The Legal Aid Society of Hawaii has hired Larissa Schwartz as program coordinator for the AmeriCorps Access to Justice Project. The program strives to improve low-income individuals' access to legal, social and economic justice. 

PROMOTIONS

>> Christopher Lau has been promoted to senior vice president of Towne Realty Inc. He is president of its subsidiary, Towne Development of Hawaii Inc. Lau has been with Towne Development since 1987. He has operational responsibilities for the firm's commercial, residential and investment properties throughout the islands. Alison Vasconcellos was appointed senior vice president of Towne Development. She joined Towne in 1989 as an administrative assistant and currently manages the firm's Makaha Resort and Golf Club on Oahu.

>> Sayuri Fujiwara has re-joined PacRim Marketing Group as public relations manager, and Yukashi Smith has been promoted to media coordinator. Fujiwara's responsibilities include working with the Japanese media as well as managing the department. Smith will continue to work with clients in Japan and Hawaii and with the Japanese media.

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