BUSINESS BRIEFING

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

MANUFACTURING

GE Profit Slides 46 Percent

General Electric posted a 46 percent drop in fourth-quarter earnings and warned of a tough environment this year as it struggles with its ailing finance business.

After paying preferred dividends, GE's earnings totaled $3.65 billion for the three months ended Dec. 31, down from $6.7 billion a year earlier. Revenue slipped 5 percent, to $46.2 billion. The results included $1.5 billion in charges from a restructuring of GE Capital.

GE, which makes everything from turbines to light bulbs, reaffirmed plans to pay its $1.24 dividend and defend its top "AAA" rated credit. But investors remain worried about how the company would maintain both and keep up growth in its industrial businesses.

For all of 2008, GE earned $17.3 billion, down 22 percent from a year earlier. Revenue grew 6 percent, to $183 billion.

EXECUTIVES

Intel Chairman Barrett to Retire

Intel said its chairman, Craig Barrett, plans to retire in May after more than three decades with the chipmaker. Barrett, 69, who served seven years as the company's chief executive until 2005, in recent years has become one of the industry's most high-profile advocates of bringing technology to Third World countries.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company said Jane Shaw, a former pharmaceutical industry executive who has served on Intel's board sine 1993, will replace Barrett. Intel is the world's largest semiconductor company.

MEDIA

Post Co. Records Write-Down

The Washington Post Co. recorded a $70 million goodwill write-down on the value of its CourseAdvisor subsidiary, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filing. CourseAdvisor, purchased in 2007, is a Web site where higher-education companies advertise. One of its customers is Kaplan Inc., The Post Co.'s education unit. The ongoing recession has reduced the value of many businesses, and the CourseAdvisor write-down reflects its diminished worth on The Post Co.'s balance sheet going forward.

The Post Co. has not disclosed CourseAdvisor's purchase price but did say it is not writing down CourseAdvisor completely, meaning it still carries value. In October, The Post Co. reported a $60 million write-down in the value of its Everett (Wash.) Herald and community papers.

ENERGY


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