- - Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Aerospace giant to close defense plant by end of ‘13

WICHITA, Kan. — Faced with defense-budget reductions, the Boeing Co. announced Wednesday it will close its defense plant in Wichita by the end of 2013.

The closure will cost more than 2,160 workers their jobs and end the firm’s presence in a city where it has been a major employer for generations.

The decision was not entirely unexpected. The company said in November it was studying whether to close the Wichita facility, which specializes in modifying commercial aircraft for military or government operations, to address Defense Department budget cuts. The first layoffs are expected to begin in the third quarter of 2012.

The company said it was moving future aircraft maintenance, modification and support to its plant in San Antonio, Texas, and engineering work to Oklahoma City. Work on the Air Force refueling tanker will be performed in Puget Sound, Wash. The company said the 24 Kansas suppliers on that program will continue to provide parts as originally planned.


Photography pioneer may file for bankruptcy

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Shares of photography pioneer Eastman Kodak Co. tumbled to a new all-time low Wednesday following a report that the ailing company is getting ready to seek bankruptcy court protection.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting unidentified people familiar with the matter, said Kodak is preparing for a Chapter 11 filing “in the coming weeks” should efforts to sell a trove of digital-imaging patents fall through.

In July, Kodak began shopping around 1,100 digital-imaging patents that financial analysts think might fetch $2 billion to $3 billion.

Kodak’s stock dropped 17 cents, or 26.3 percent, to 48 cents Wednesday afternoon. It hit its previous trading low of 54 cents on Sept. 30 when word leaked that it had hired a law firm that advises companies on bankruptcy and restructuring options.

The New York Stock Exchange warned Kodak this week that its shares will be delisted if they stay below $1 for six more months.

The Journal said Kodak is in discussions with potential lenders for around $1 billion in loans called “debtor-in-possession financing” that would keep it afloat during a bankruptcy process. The newspaper said a bankruptcy filing could occur this month or early in February.

A Kodak spokesman said the company does not comment on rumor or speculation.


Americans bought more cars and trucks in 2011

DETROIT — Americans bought more cars and trucks last year, inspired by easier credit, an improved economy and the desire to replace aging vehicles that got them through the Great Recession.

Sales rose sharply for Detroit’s three carmakers and for Japan’s Nissan in 2011, aided by a surge in November and December. Analysts expect that momentum to continue into 2012.

Low interest rates, looser credit standards and pent-up demand are driving demand. The average age of a car on U.S. roads is the oldest ever, closing in on 11 years. Americans want to trade in those older vehicles now that a tentative recovery has begun and they’re feeling a little more secure about jobs and finances.


PayPal chief tapped as Yahoo’s CEO

NEW YORK — Yahoo Inc. has named Scott Thompson, president of eBay Inc.’s PayPal division, as its new CEO, the fourth one in less than five years for the struggling Internet company.

Yahoo, which announced its choice Wednesday, has been without a permanent CEO since early September. It fired Carol Bartz after losing patience with her attempts to turn around the company during her 2 1/2 years on the job. Tim Morse, Yahoo’s chief financial officer, has been interim CEO since Mrs. Bartz’s ouster.

Mr. Thompson has served as president of PayPal, eBay’s online-payment service, since January 2008. He previously served as PayPal’s senior vice president and chief technology officer.

Yahoo said Mr. Thompson’s new job starts on Monday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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