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Company News: Radiology firm reports fourth-quarter income

Nighthawk Radiology Holdings Inc. reported net income of $2.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2006, compared to a net loss of $9.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2005. The Coeur d’Alene-based company provides radiology services to groups across the United States.

Nighthawk Radiology reported a net loss of $28.5 million for the entire year, which included a non-cash charge of $44.2 million during the first quarter, related to a conversion feature of the company’s redeemable preferred stock. Nighthawk lost $36.5 million during 2005, which also included non-cash charges associated with the preferred stock.

In other news, Nighthawk announced in January that it was out of compliance with Nasdaq Global Market listing standards. The compliance issue arose when the company hired Timothy Mayleben as its chief operating officer. Mayleben formerly worked for another firm and was on Nighthawk’s board of directors. After he was hired, Mayleben resigned from the Nighthawk board’s audit committee.

As a result, the audit committee no longer has three independent directors and a financial expert, which puts Nighthawk out of compliance with Nasdaq standards. According to Nasdaq guidelines, the company has up to 180 days to comply with the listing standards.

Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc. is recalling 250,000 pints of its Country Peach Cobbler ice cream because the containers do not list wheat as an ingredient.

People who have an allergy or severe sensitivity to wheat run the risk of temporary health problems or illness if they eat the ice cream, the company said Friday.

No illnesses had been reported by Friday night, Ben & Jerry’s said.

Consumers who purchased Country Peach Cobbler with the dates Jan. 23, 24 or Feb. 8 or 9, 2008, printed on the bottom are advised to discard the pints. Ben & Jerry’s will give a full refund to consumers who send the base of an empty container back to the company.

Sprint Nextel is testing a novel cellular plan in the San Francisco Bay area that features unlimited call time, text messages and Internet access on a mobile phone for $120 a month.

While not inexpensive, the unusual approach to pricing wireless service could carry profound consequences for the industry if it proves popular and Sprint decides to roll it out nationally.

Sprint Nextel already began moving in that direction in January with a pricey $200 unlimited calling plan for high-volume users. There are some regional carriers and niche service providers offering unlimited plans, but Sprint’s plan appears to be the first mainstream wireless offering of this sort in the United States.

The last substantial shift in cellular pricing came nearly a decade ago when the old AT&T Wireless started wiping away the distinction between local and long distance with the launch of a national calling plan.

Cell subscribers are conditioned to count minutes, keeping an eye on the clock during calls or waiting for off-peak hours, mindful of the steep surcharges that come with exceeding your monthly allowance. This contrasts sharply with the landline world, where the rapid spread of unlimited plans over the past decade has created a carefree, all-you-can-eat mentality for local, long-distance and even international calls in some cases.

The consumer embrace of unlimited calling plans for landline phones suggests that cell users might jump at the opportunity to free themselves from time worries.