Business Briefs


POSTED: Thursday, December 25, 2008


Maui singled out in Travel Weekly

Hawaii was named the top U.S. state with Maui as the lead destination among the islands in Travel Weekly's sixth annual Readers Choice Awards.

The distinction is particularly relevant since the readers of the national newspaper voted on the winners of its top “;destination”; category.

“;These awards identify the industry's finest,”; said Arnie Weissmann, vice president and editor in chief. “;The professionals who read and rely on Travel Weekly have the expertise to select those businesses, destinations and hotels that provide a higher level of service to their clients. Our readers can be confident that these winners represent the best this industry has to offer.”;



Southwest sells five aircraft

ATLANTA » Discount carrier Southwest Airlines Co. sold five aircraft for $175 million and agreed to lease the planes back from the buyer for 12 years.

The Dallas-based airline also modified its fuel-hedge portfolio to limit its exposure from falling oil prices.

The disclosures were made in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing late Tuesday.

The company said it entered into a two-part sale and leaseback transaction with an unidentified third-party aircraft lessor for the sale and leaseback of Boeing 737-700 aircraft.

Southwest also said it modified its fuel hedge portfolio, minimizing fuel hedging losses related to further oil price declines.

The airline estimates its 2009 economic fuel costs per gallon, excluding fuel taxes, to be around $1.80, resulting in an estimated savings of approximately $1.4 billion compared to the 2009 fuel price guidance provided by the company in July.


IndyMac sale nearly completed

WASHINGTON » Federal regulators are moving to sell the remnants of failed IndyMac Bank before year-end, mopping up from the second-largest bank failure this year.

It was unclear yesterday whether the government would sell off IndyMac as a whole or in pieces, an an announcement wasn't expected until tomorrow at the earliest. The Pasadena, Calif-based lender, which specialized in loans made with little down payment or proof of assets, went under in July as the U.S. housing market bubble collapsed.

IndyMac had about $32 billion in assets when it was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and renamed IndyMac Federal Bank. Its collapse is expected to cost the federal bank insurance fund $8.9 billion.

Final bids for IndyMac's assets were due Dec. 15. The company has 33 bank branches in Southern California with about $6 billion in deposits, about half of the company's total at the time of its failure.

Other assets include a $176 billion loan-servicing business, which collects mortgages and distributes them to investors and a reverse mortgage company, known as Financial Freedom.

  “;We are expecting to announce a deal before the end of the year,”; said IndyMac spokesman Evan Wagner.

IndyMac was the second-largest bank to fail this year, which has seen the collapse of 25 federally insured financial institutions amid the tumult of the mortgage crisis and the recession.

Seattle-based thrift Washington Mutual Inc. in September became the biggest bank to collapse in U.S. history, with around $307 billion in assets. It was acquired by JPMorgan Chase & Co. for $1.9 billion.