May 7, 2008 in Business

In brief: Coffey wins liftme achievement award

The Spokesman-Review
 

Hotelier Art Coffey received this year’s lifetime achievement award Tuesday at the Inland Northwest Tourism Awards.

Coffey retired this year as president and chief executive officer of Red Lion, having joined the company in 1981.

He also served as a director of the Association of Washington Business and president of the Spokane Hotel/Motel Association, among other posts.

The Spokane Convention & Visitors Bureau hosted the celebration, where business awards went to: Evergreen Regional Volleyball (the Festivals & Events Award); Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (the Attraction Award); Arbor Crest Wine Cellars (the Near Nature. Near Perfect Award); David’s Pizza (the Spirit of the Inland Northwest Award); Chocolate Apothecary (the In The Bag Award); and Chaps (the Top Table Award).

In addition to Coffey, 10 other individuals were honored for efforts to promote tourism.

– From staff reports

Liberty Lake

Itron will sell shares to pay debt, expenses

Liberty Lake-based Itron Inc. said Tuesday it will sell 3.4 million shares of its common stock in an underwritten at-the-market public offering.

The company announced $250 million from the sale will pay off debt. The remainder will be used for general operating expenses.

Goldman, Sachs and Co. is acting as underwriter for the sale, which is expected to close on May 12.

In after-hours trading Tuesday, shares of Itron sold for $94.47, down $1.31 from the day’s opening price.

The company makes automated metering systems and software services for water, gas and electric utilities.

– From staff reports

WASHINGTON

Fannie Mae to cut dividend after loss

The steeper slide in home prices is accelerating the pace of foreclosures, Fannie Mae said Tuesday as it outlined plans for shoring up its finances in the wake of a $2.2 billion first quarter loss.

While the nation’s largest buyer of home loans will slice its dividend and attempt to raise $6 billion, mostly by issuing new shares, federal regulators loosened Fannie’s capital requirements as the government looks for ways to bolster the housing market.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the company’s financial strength rating because of the potential for further losses from soured home loans over the next two years, but investors pushed Fannie’s shares higher, in anticipation of the bigger role Fannie will play in the mortgage market.

– Associated Press

DETROIT

Chrysler will help buyers with fuel tab

As gasoline nears $4 per gallon, no major automaker has been hit harder than Chrysler LLC, which relies on trucks and sport utility vehicles for 70 percent of its sales.

With sales down 23 percent in April and nearly 18 percent for the first four months of the year, the No. 4 automaker on Monday tried to pull some buyers back.

The company announced an offer capping the price of gasoline at $2.99 a gallon for three years for people who buy most new Chrysler vehicles – including the Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands –through June 2.

Under the offer, which is based on 12,000 miles of driving per year, customers will get a card for buying gas that is linked to their own charge account, Chrysler said. The customer will be billed $2.99 a gallon, and Chrysler will pay the rest.

Suzuki Motor Corp. has made a similar offer in the U.S. with free gas for the summer.

– Associated Press

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