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Sterling sells stock to U.S. Treasury

SATURDAY, DEC. 6, 2008

The parent company of Sterling Savings Bank closed a deal that will bring the corporation $303 million from the U.S. Treasury.

Sterling Financial Corp. sold to the Treasury department 303,000 shares of preferred stock, and issued a warrant allowing the government to buy 6.4 million shares of common stock at $7.06 per share, the Spokane-based company announced Friday.

The infusion of cash boosted Sterling’s capital ratio to 13.8 percent, from 11 percent at the end of September.

“Sterling will begin deploying this capital to support lending activities,” Harold Gilkey, Sterling’s CEO, said in a press release.


Engineering firm opens new plant

Pullman-based Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories formally dedicated its newest manufacturing plant Friday, an 80,000-square-foot facility in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

Along with the new production facility, SEL’s new complex has a 40,000- square-foot engineering design center and a 16,000-square-foot conference and event center.

The San Luis Potosi operation is SEL’s “center of excellence” for custom panels, integrated systems and control houses for customers such as Comision Federal de Electricidad, one of Mexico’s two utilities, and other utility and industrial customers throughout the world.

The privately held manufacturer of relays and critical components used in large-scale electric power systems has more than 1,300 Pullman employees and sells products in 126 countries.


Workers’ comp premiums to rise

Washington employers will see premiums for workers’ compensation insurance go up 3 percent next year, on average, according to the Washington state Department of Labor and Industries.

Individual employers could see their rates go up or down, depending on their recent claims history and any changes in the frequency and cost of claims in their industry.

Insurance actuary calculations, based on anticipated statewide injured worker claims next year and on wage and medical inflation, indicated the need for a 6.3 percent premium increase, generating $119 million. Instead, the decision to implement a 3 percent increase will generate $57 million, with a contingency reserve absorbing the remaining $62 million.

“We recognize the difficult economic environment for business and workers, and wanted to limit the increase as much as possible,” said Judy Schurke, L&I director.

From staff and wire reports

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