Business in brief: Hecla Mining reports Q4 loss

Hecla Mining Co. reported a loss, after dividends paid to preferred shareholders, of $40.7 million, or 24 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2008. That compared to revenue of $7.6 million, or 6 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2007.

The Coeur d’Alene-based company also reported a net loss of $37.3 million in the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $8.2 million in the same period a year earlier.

For the full year, Hecla reported a net loss of $66.6 million, compared to net income of $53.2 million for 2007.

Hecla recorded the largest annual increase of total silver reserves and resources in the company’s history: a 76 percent increase at the end of 2008, compared to a year ago.


Micron to cut 2,000 jobs

Micron Technology Inc. said Monday it’s eliminating 2,000 more jobs in Idaho and closing a manufacturing plant due to decreased demand for its memory chips.

The Boise-based company will cut 500 positions in the “near term,” with the remaining positions struck by August.

After that, Micron will employ just over 5,000 people in the state, down from more than 10,000 two years ago. Micron, whose losses since 2007 exceed $2.5 billion, is shuttering manufacturing operations in Boise, where it made specialty dynamic random access memory products from 200 mm silicon wafers. Like others in its industry, Micron has been hurt by oversupply and pricing pressure on chips used in personal computers and the slumping automobile industry.


Microsoft errs on severance pay

A few weeks after launching the first wide-scale layoffs in its history, Microsoft Corp. admits it screwed up a key part of the plan.

First Microsoft realized that an administrative glitch caused it to pay more severance than intended to some laid-off employees. The company’s response: It asked the ex-workers for the money back.

But when one of Microsoft’s letters seeking repayment surfaced on the Web on Saturday, the situation turned embarrassing. On Monday, the company reversed course and said the laid-off workers could keep the extra payouts.

Lisa Brummel, Microsoft’s senior vice president for human resources, said the letters were mailed to 25 of the 1,400 people let go in January. Most of the checks were off by about $4,000 to $5,000, she said.

Brummel said she learned of the letters over the weekend after one appeared on the technology blog TechCrunch.

From staff and wire reports

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