• Washington Post Co. reported a 13 percent drop in second-quarter earnings, as declining revenue from its flagship paper continued to outweigh gains in the company’s education units. Net income was $68.6 million ($7.19 per share), compared with $78.5 million ($8.17 per share) a year ago. Still, the results beat estimates and the shares rose 4 percent.
• Dynex Capital Inc. of Glen Allen, Va., said net income for the second quarter ended June 30 rose 183 percent to $1.7 million (14 cents) from $612,000 (5 cents) the previous year.
• Williams Scotsman International Inc., a Baltimore provider of temporary work spaces and mobile offices, said net income for the second quarter ended June 30 rose 26 percent to $14.6 million (33 cents) from $11.6 million (27 cents) a year ago.
• FTI Consulting Inc. of Baltimore said net income for the second quarter ended June 30 rose 83 percent to $23 million (53 cents) from $12.6 million (32 cents) the previous year.
• Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, the world’s largest defense company, won a $322 million Air Force contract for five C-130J cargo aircraft. The propeller-driven planes, which can operate from dirt airstrips, will be completed by December 2010, according to the Defense Department.
• The Canadian Department of National Defense awarded a $46.3 million contract to a local unit of Falls Church company General Dynamics to provide 33 armored troop carriers. General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada will modify 33 existing vehicles and add remote weapons capabilities.
• Time Warner Inc., the world’s largest media company, agreed to pay $6.5 million to Homestore Inc. investors led by the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to settle a lawsuit over transactions between its America Online unit and Homestore. Investors accused Homestore of reporting revenue from advertising sales to AOL and others that didn’t bring in any money.
• Constellation Energy Partners, the oil and gas producer spun out from Baltimore utility company Constellation Energy Group, agreed to buy properties in Oklahoma’s Cherokee Basin from Newfield Exploration Co. for $128 million. The transaction, Constellation’s third purchase of coalbed methane assets in the Cherokee Basin, includes proved reserves equivalent to 45 billion cubic feet of gas.
• A federal banking regulator proposed improving its ability to prohibit abusive practices in mortgage lending and credit cards rates. The Office of Thrift Supervision, which oversees about 830 savings and loan institutions nationwide, is proposing a crackdown on abusive lenders amid widespread turmoil in the housing market and criticism from lawmakers.
• U.S.bankruptcy filings were 38 percent higher last month than in July 2006, and are 50 percent higher for all of 2007 than they were a year ago, according to private research company Jupiter ESource. Almost 307,000 bankruptcies were filed in the first seven months of this year.
• Billionaire Warren Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reported that net income for the second quarter ended June 30 jumped nearly 33 percent because of strong performance from its insurance division. Berkshire earned $3.1 billion ($2,018 per Class A share), versus $2.3 billion ($1,522 per share) a year ago.
• Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the world’s largest lumber and paper producers, said its profit for the second quarter ended June 30 dropped sharply due to hefty charges and weakness in housing, but its results beat estimates. Net income fell to $32 million (15 cents), compared with $298 million ($1.19) a year ago.
• Consumer-products maker Procter & Gamble Co., boosted by strong sales of new Gillette razors, said profit for its fourth quarter and the year ended June 30 rose 19 percent. The company behind the Tide, Crest and Pringles brands also confirmed its earnings guidance for the current fiscal year and said it would substantially increase its stock buyback.
• Starbucks Corp. is testing protein-enhanced smoothies in its hometown of Seattle as it looks to add summertime drinks for customers who don’t want hot coffee.
• An ancient Chinese fever remedy was given U.S. approval for severe malaria patients, providing a new treatment for the 140 potentially fatal cases diagnosed in the country each year.
• Bayer AG’s Betaseron, a best-selling drug for multiple sclerosis, cut the risk of disability in patients who got treatment at the early stages of the disease, according to a company-funded study. Patients receiving Betaseron reduced their risk of lasting damage by 40 percent over three years, according to the study, published in the medical journal the Lancet.
• Tower Automotive’s incoming chief executive, named yesterday, served 18 months as a lead automotive consultant for private equity group Cerberus, its new owner. Mark Malcolm takes over as president and CEO at the auto supplier for the departing Kathleen Ligocki.
• The AFL-CIO labor federation asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to require that private-equity powerhouse Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management Group, both planning public stock offerings, be regulated as investment companies. The companies would have to publicly disclose information about their finances and would be subject to debt limits and governance requirements.
• Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc.’s efforts to free some television airwaves for wireless Internet access hit an obstacle after U.S. regulators found problems with the companies’ prototype devices. The products may interfere with broadcast television signals and wireless microphones, said the Federal Communications Commission’s Office of Engineering and Technology.
• Shares of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. plunged as much as 17 percent after the video-game maker delayed the next version of “Grand Theft Auto” and cut its sales and profit forecast for the year. The shares declined $2.75, or 16 percent, to $14.16.
• Former investment guru, author and speaker Wade Cook was sentenced to more than seven years in prison and ordered to pay millions of dollars in back taxes and underreported income as part of a tax-evasion case. Cook was sentenced in federal court for repeatedly defrauding the Internal Revenue Service.
• Ronco Corp. called off an auction for its business after failing to attract any qualified bids for its collection of rotisserie ovens, knife sets and food dehydrators, and will sell its business to a unit of Marlin Equity Partners. Ronco said it expects to clear about $6.5 million in cash from the sale, not enough to pay off secured lender Laurus Master Fund, which is owed $8.1 million.
• Britain imposed a nationwide ban on the movement of cattle, sheep and pigs following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease on a farm.
• Russian officials told Exxon Mobil Corp. not to plan on exporting natural gas from its $17 billion Sakhalin-1 venture and instead to work more closely with state-run OAO Gazprom to ensure that domestic demand for the fuel is met.
• Lenovo Group Ltd. said it will sell a basic personal computer aimed at China’s vast but poor rural market to be priced as low as $199.
• Venezuela, site of the biggest oil refinery in the Americas, will need occasional gasoline imports within a year and regular shipments from outside within three years, according to a new report. Low refinery utilization and growing domestic demand for fuel already reduced exports to about 30,000 barrels a day, according to estimates by Caracas-based ODH Grupo Consultor.
From wire dispatches and staff reports