Business briefs

Electrolux profits plunge for quarter


STOCKHOLM — Swedish appliance maker Electrolux AB saw its profits plunge in the fourth quarter in an increasingly competitive market as the pressure on prices increased and the sector was hit by higher raw-material costs and weaker demand.

Electrolux reported Thursday a net profit of just 6 million kronor ($885,000) in the fourth quarter, far below the 860 million posted in the same three-month period a year ago.

International Paper profit tops forecast

International Paper Co, the packaging producer trying to buy rival Temple-Inland Inc, posted a better-than-expected quarterly profit as it cut costs to offset tenuous demand.

The weak economy has taken a bite out of packaging and paper sales, especially in North America where 70 percent of IP’s business is centered. So far in the first quarter, business activity has improved, but not to levels seen after prior recessions, Chief Executive John Faraci told Reuters

For the fourth quarter, the company posted net income of $257 million, or 59 cents per share, compared with $316 million, or 74 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Kellogg sticks to yearly sales goal

Kellogg Co. reported better-than-expected quarterly results Thursday and stood by its full-year sales forecast, sending its shares up 2.6 percent.

Fourth-quarter net income was $232 million, or 64 cents per share, for the world’s largest cereal maker with brands including Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies. That was up from $189 million, or 51 per share, a year earlier.

Net sales rose 5 percent to $3.02 billion.

Airport’s revenue outlook upgraded

Citing increased passenger boarding numbers and stable fuel sales at Augusta Regional Airport, Fitch Ratings revised the outlook on the airport’s revenue bonds from negative to stable. Fitch also affirmed the underlying bond rating.

Also, Moody’s Investor Service affirmed its bond rating and gave them a stable outlook last month, Augusta Regional Executive Director Gary LeTellier said.

U.S. retail sales mixed in January

NEW YORK — Retailers reported mixed sales results for the January in a sign that U.S. consumers continue to be cautious about when and where they spend their money in the shaky economy

Overall, merchants on Thursday reported a 4.8 percent increase for January, according to the International Council of Shopping Center’s tally of 20 retailers. That’s above the 3 percent gain that ICSC had expected.

But the results were divided.

Retailers like Target that sell basic household goods did well, as did chains like Saks that cater to wealthier shoppers. Macy’s and other stores that sell mid-price clothing posted disappointing results.

– From staff and wire reports



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