Business Briefs

Reported by Star-Bulletin staff & wire

Wednesday, February 17, 1999

Kaiser exec promoted
to top Hawaii post

Bruce Behnke, former regional hospital administrator at Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, has been promoted to the health maintenance organization's top position in Hawaii.

Behnke was promoted to senior vice president and executive director, replacing Dee Jay Mailer, who took a job at HealthNet of California. He began at Kaiser in 1974, as assistant administrator, operations and management, at Kaiser Foundation Hospital in Los Angeles.

Behnke, immediate past president of the Hawaii Healthcare Association, is on the advisory board of the Hawaii Poison Center and on the board of directors of the Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation.

Kaiser has about 200,000 members, 3,500 employees and 300 doctors in Hawaii. Its operation includes 17 clinics and the Moanalua Medical Center.

House: Hire a felon, get a tax break

Hawaii employers would get a tax break for hiring and then keeping paroled felons under a measure moving in the state House.

The Committee on Public Safety and Military Affairs approved the bill that would give an employer a tax credit equal to 5 percent of the employee's first-year wages, up to a maximum of $1,500. For the second year, the credit would increase to 15 percent of the yearly wage, up to a maximum of $4,500.

Neiman Marcus net drops 15.9 percent

Neiman Marcus Group Inc. today reported a 15.9 percent dip in its second-quarter profit to $55.6 million, or $1.13 a share, from $66.1 million, or $1.32 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenues were up 11.4 percent at $789.2 million, from $708.4 million.

The company, which opened a department store in Ala Moana Center in September, said stock market volatility cut into retail spending in the fall. The quarter was a 13-week period that ended Jan. 30. The company owns the Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman retail stores.

Heinz to cut 4,000 jobs

NAPLES, Fla. -- H.J. Heinz Co., the fifth-largest U.S. food company, will shed 15 to 20 plants worldwide, cutting as many as 4,000 jobs, and sell its Weight Watchers business to free up more money for marketing. The maker of Heinz ketchup, Star Kist tuna and other foods said it will take pretax charges of about $900 million, mostly in the current fiscal year, to pay for the restructuring.

In other news . . .

WASHINGTON -- Trans World Airlines Inc. said it will cut about 1,000 jobs and may make other cost-cutting moves this year following a 10th straight year of losses. The St. Louis-based carrier reported that it lost $79.1 million in the quarter ending Dec. 31.

Delta buying remainder of Atlantic Southeast

ATLANTA -- Delta Air Lines Inc. is buying Atlantic Southeast Airlines, a regional carrier with connections to Delta hubs, for nearly $700 million in cash. Delta already owns 28 percent of the regional airline's parent ASA Holdings Inc. and has agreed to buy the rest.

Atlantic Southeast is Atlanta's largest regional air carrier with service to 37 markets. It also offers service to 21 airports from its second hub at Dallas/Fort Worth.

Northwest Air union seen approving pact

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Northwest Airlines Corp.'s Machinists union, the largest labor group at the company, said early results indicate members are approving a new labor contract, giving about a third of the company's work force a 14 percent raise, Bloomberg News reported.

The four-year contract covers 18,000 clerical workers, customer service agents, stock clerks, plant protection employees and other workers.

Star, Enquirer publisher selling for $300 million

NEW YORK -- Two of the nation's best-known tabloids -- the National Enquirer and Star -- are part of a struggling publishing empire being acquired for $300 million by a New York investment firm headed by former Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger Altman.

American Media Inc., the Florida-based publisher that has suffered from slipping newsstand sales, is being purchased by Evercore Partners, which also is assuming $470 million in debt under the deal announced late yesterday.

American Media, which also prints Country Weekly and Weekly World News, said last week it would stop publishing Soap Opera News and Soap Opera Magazine.

Fidelity's Lynch donates $10 million to college

BOSTON -- Fidelity Investment's pitchman Peter Lynch and his wife pitched $10 million to his alma mater, Boston College, the school said today.

Boston College, which will rename its School of Education after the couple, said the sum was the largest single donation in its history. The famed former portfolio manager of the nation's largest mutual fund, Magellan, graduated from the Jesuit institution in 1965.

Lucent sets second stock split in a year

NEW YORK -- Lucent Technologies Inc. the world's largest maker of telecommunications equipment, said today its board approved a two-for-one stock split, the second one in 12 months. At the company's annual meeting in Wilmington, Del., the company said it will issue the additional shares on April 1 to shareholders of record on March 5.

On Jan. 31, Lucent had about 1.32 billion common shares outstanding.

Currently it has about three million shareholders, making it the second most-widely held U.S. stock behind AT&T Corp. its former parent. Last February, Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent's stock split two for one.

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