biz bits

WRDW-TV news starts broadcasting in HD


Television station WRDW started broadcasting its local news in high definition at noon Monday, becoming the first television station in Augusta to do so, said its president and general manager, John Ray.

"This is something that we've been working on for probably about four months," Ray said.

The conversion was a $2 million investment by WRDW's parent company, Atlanta-based Gray Television, requiring a redesign of the news studio.

In the next few weeks, all syndicated programs and commercials on the station also will be broadcast in HD, Ray said.

Aiken County reflects state jobless picture

South Carolina's unemployment rate inched up to 10.7 percent in December from 10.6 percent the month before, according to data released Tuesday by the state's Department of Employment and Workforce.

Aiken County mirrored that trend, with the unemployment rate rising 0.1 percent to 8.5 percent in December as 52 more people reported being unemployed and more people re-entered the labor market than in November. The county's unemployment rate was tied for second-lowest in the state.

Edgefield County's rate remained unchanged at 9.5 percent in December.

Though the state's jobless rate rose, total employment rose about 4,400, the data showed. Employment has risen for four consecutive months.

Gaining jobs in 2010 were professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities, education and health services, and wholesale trade.

Kimberly-Clark sees little revenue change

Kimberly-Clark Corp. reported flat fourth-quarter net income Tuesday as its personal care and tissue revenue increased. The maker of Kleenex tissues and Huggies diapers also unveiled plans to restructure its pulp and tissue business.

Kimberly-Clark earned $492 million, or $1.20 per share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $492 million, or $1.17 per share, a year earlier.

At the personal care unit, revenue climbed 2 percent to $2.2 billion. Consumer tissue revenue rose 4 percent to $1.7 billion.

For the full year, net income fell 2 percent to $1.84 billion, or $4.45 per share, from $1.88 billion, or $4.52 per share.

The company operates a plant in Beech Island, its largest facility in North America, producing Kleenex and Cottonelle brand tissues and Huggies diaper products. It employs nearly 1,200 people.

Regions reports growth in 2010 fourth quarter

Regions Financial Corp. reported Tuesday that it had net income of $36 million, or 3 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2010. Regions reported a loss of $606 million, or 51 cents per share, in the same quarter a year earlier as the bank booked a loss on the sale of investment securities.

Regions is the fourth-largest bank in the Augusta area by market share.

For the full year, Alabama-based Regions reported a loss of 62 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.27 per share in 2009.

In the latest quarter, Regions' profit was boosted by $333 million in securities gains.

Net interest income, or earnings from deposits and loans, rose 3 percent to $877 million from $850 million in the same quarter a year earlier.

Non-interest income, or money earned from fees and charges, jumped nearly 69 percent, to $1.21 billion from $718 million.