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Business in brief: Red Lion reports drop in hotel occupancy, profits

Red Lion Hotels Corp. Wednesday reported lower profits for the third quarter.

The Spokane-based chain earned $3.2 million, or 18 cents per share, on revenues of $50.5 million. During the 2008 quarter, the company earned $4.4 million, or 24 cents per share, on revenues of $56.9 million.

Occupancy at Red Lion’s 45 hotels averaged 68.6 percent, down from 72.8 percent one year ago, and revenue per room declined to $58.94 percent from $68.38.

But operating margin improved thanks to tighter controls on cost, said President Anupam Narayan. He said those efforts will continue while the travel industry awaits stabilization in the second half of 2010.

Bert Caldwell

Toyota recall information misleading, NHTSA says

Washington – Toyota Motor Corp. released misleading information about an investigation into problems with stuck gas pedals that led to a massive Toyota recall, the government said Wednesday, stressing the issue is still under review by federal safety regulators.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it was still investigating the case and meeting with Toyota to hear about the company’s plan to redesign the vehicles and fix “this very dangerous problem.”

Toyota recalled 3.8 million vehicles last month over problems with gas pedals that got stuck on floor mats and told owners to remove driver’s side floor mats and not replace them until the automaker had determined a fix to the problem.

Toyota said in a statement on Monday that NHTSA had confirmed “that no defect exists in vehicles in which the driver’s floor mat is compatible with the vehicle and properly secured.”

But NHTSA said that was inaccurate and the government was investigating possible causes of the acceleration problem. Removing the floor mats was “simply an interim measure” and “does not correct the underlying defect in the vehicles involving the potential for entrapment of the accelerator by floor mats, which is related to accelerator and floor pan design.”

Associated Press

Cisco plans to hire again after past year’s layoffs

San Francisco – Cisco Systems Inc. is forecasting revenue growth for the first time in a year, offering further evidence that orders are rising again after passing what CEO John Chambers called a “tipping point” in the downturn this summer.

The world’s No. 1 maker of computer-networking gear said Wednesday that given the brightening conditions, it will start to hire more employees after laying off workers over the past year. Cisco’s work force has shrunk by about 3,500 over the past four quarters to about 63,800, mostly from layoffs but also from early retirement offers and attrition.

Chambers said during a conference call with analysts that the hiring will be “very targeted” and focused on new markets.

Cisco’s forecast is for revenue growth of 1 percent to 4 percent in the current quarter, which ends in January. That would translate to revenue of $9.2 billion to $9.5 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting a decline from last year.

Cisco reported Wednesday after the market closed that its net income dropped 19 percent to $1.8 billion, or 30 cents per share. Revenue fell 13 percent to $9 billion.

Wall Street was expecting even steeper declines, though.

Cisco’s shares climbed 82 cents, or 3.5 percent, to $24.11 in extended trading.

Associated Press


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