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In Brief: Itron CFO Steven Helmbrecht to depart


Steven Helmbrecht, Itron Inc.’s chief financial officer, will leave the publicly traded corporation at the end of the year, according to a company news release.

Helmbrecht joined Liberty Lake-based Itron in 2002 as vice president and general manager of international operations. He has served as senior vice president and chief financial officer since 2005 and as executive vice president and chief financial officer since March 2013.

Helmbrecht’s career plans were not disclosed.

Itron, which provides equipment and services to electric, gas and water utilities worldwide, will conduct a search for candidates to fill the position.

CEO Philip Mezey said in the release, “The board and I would like to thank Steve for all of his contributions and for his willingness to remain in his role through the end of the year in order to facilitate a smooth transition. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Alaska Air has record 1Q

SEATTLE – Despite increasing competition from Atlanta’s Delta Air Lines at Sea-Tac Airport, Alaska Air Group on Friday reported record first-quarter earnings of $89 million, or $1.28 a share.

That result was more than double the $44 million, or 62 cents a share Alaska earned in the first quarter of 2013.

A poll of Wall Street analysts before the results were announced had produced an average prediction of a $1.24 per share earnings.

Despite the better-than-predicted results, Alaska shares were down $1.32 a share to $93.43 in trading Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Alaska Air Group is the holding company for SeaTac-based Alaska Airlines and its regional sister carrier, Horizon Air.

Weyerhaeuser earnings up

SEATTLE – Federal Way’s Weyerhaeuser Co.’s first quarter earnings increased by 27 percent despite harsh weather in much of the country, the company reported Friday.

The company earned $183 million compared with $144 million in the same period last year. On a per-share basis, the earnings in the quarter just concluded were 31 cents compared with 26 cents in the same period in 2013. Sales remained steady at $2 billion.

Subtracting $30 million in one-time earnings, earnings per share amounted to 26 cents, the same as in 2013. But that amount beat analysts’ predictions of a 24-cent-per-share profit.

The company’s wood products business was the best performer among the company’s divisions, with pretax earnings up 10 percent to $64 million.

Weyerhaeuser is a real estate investment trust with some 7 million acres of timberland holdings in the United States and 14 million acres of timberland under management in Canada.

Consumer confidence surges

WASHINGTON – U.S. consumer confidence surged in April, approaching the highest level since the recession began in 2007 as Americans reported greater optimism about their financial situation and the economy.

The University of Michigan says its index of consumer sentiment rose to 84.1 in April from 80 in March. That’s just a point below the 85.1 reached last July, which was the highest in nearly seven years.

Americans have cut back on debt and benefited from steady hiring and rising stock and home prices. Just 28 percent said this month that their finances were getting worse, down from 37 percent in March and the lowest level since April 2007.


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