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Originally published August 3, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified August 3, 2007 at 2:05 AM

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Business Digest

Onvia headquarters moving downtown

Pacific Northwest Onvia, an online government-contracting service, said Thursday it plans to move its headquarters to downtown Seattle in...

Pacific Northwest

Onvia

Onvia, an online government-contracting service, said Thursday it plans to move its headquarters to downtown Seattle in January 2008 from its office near South Lake Union.

As part of the plan, Onvia also agreed with its current landlord and a third party to terminate Onvia's obligations under its office lease at no additional cost, according to a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As a result, Onvia said its cash flow will improve by about $2.4 million and its operating expenses will decrease by about $700,000 over a 28-month period starting January 2008.

Getty Images

Stock plunges on quarterly report

Getty Images' stock dropped $8.70, or 19.4 percent, to $36.14 Thursday — the biggest decline in six years — after the Seattle company reported second-quarter profit and sales that rose less than analysts estimated.

After the market closed Wednesday, the photo supplier reported that second-quarter earnings were 57 cents excluding some costs, missing analysts' average estimate of 59 cents. Sales advanced 6.5 percent to $218 million, short of analysts' average estimate of $219 million.

Ste. Michelle

Operating profit, net sales increase

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Woodinville posted an operating profit of $11.2 million in the second quarter, up 20 percent from the second quarter last year. Net sales were $79.5 million, up 28 percent, according to a securities filing by its parent company, the Connecticut-based tobacco giant UST.

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This week, Ste. Michelle and its Italian partner, winemaker Marchese Piero Antinori, announced plans to spend about $185 million to buy the legendary Stag's Leap Wine Cellars in Napa Valley.

Pacific Northwest

Amazon.com

Groceries delivered on Mercer Island

Amazon.com began taking orders for fresh produce and other grocery items Wednesday from Mercer Island residents and sent a fleet of 12 delivery trucks from its grocery-distribution center in Bellevue to deliver the goods.

Amazon spokesman Craig Berman said the online retailer is working with local wholesalers and farmers and aims to have inventory sit in the warehouse for less than 24 hours.

The new Web site, fresh.amazon.com, was first available to a small number of Amazon grocery customers on Mercer Island. Web surfers can visit the site and type in their addresses to see if AmazonFresh is available in their neighborhoods.

Boeing

Ukrainian airline orders 7 737s

Boeing won an order from AeroSvit Ukrainian Airlines for seven 737s with a total list price of about $523 million.

The Kiev-based airline also purchased rights for seven more 737-800s and will use the new jetliners to replace aging planes in its all-Boeing fleet, the plane maker said Thursday. Before the announcement, Boeing's Web site said the order came from an identified customer.

According to Thursday's update on the Boeing site, the company this week booked 65 new orders, among them 44 unidentified orders (29 737s, two 747s and 13 777s), and one order for a 787.

Today, Air New Zealand said it plans to buy four 777-300s; deliveries will start in late 2010. It said it has an option to buy three more 777s.

Microsoft

Vista price slashed for Chinese market

Microsoft has cut retail prices for its Windows Vista operating system in China by more than two-thirds to encourage use of legitimate software.

The company cut the price for Vista Home Basic package to 499 yuan ($66) from 1,521 yuan Wednesday, said Wei Qing, who heads the Windows mobility-business group at Microsoft China. Microsoft wants to combat piracy in China, a market where up to 82 percent of software installed on computers is pirated, said the Business Software Alliance, a trade group that tracks counterfeit computer products.

Nation / World

J.D. Power and Associates

Hybrid sales up but interest dipping

Hybrid vehicles are on track to achieve record U.S. sales this year despite signs consumer interest in hybrids is waning, an auto-information company said Thursday.

About 187,000 hybrids were sold in the first six months of 2007, accounting for 2.3 percent of all new-vehicle sales, according to J.D. Power and Associates.

The Toyota Prius continues to be the best-selling model, accounting for just more than half of all hybrids sold.

Qwest Communications

Nacchio appealing to stay out jail

Former Qwest Communications Chief Executive Joseph Nacchio said Thursday he would appeal a judge's refusal to extend his bail while he seeks to overturn his conviction on $52 million of illegal stock sales.

U.S. District Judge Edward Nottingham last week ordered Nacchio to prison for six years and imposed $71 million in asset forfeiture and fines on 19 counts of insider trading.

Nacchio's defense attorneys filed a notice in U.S. District Court on Thursday.

Labor Department

Jobless claims climb slightly

The number of newly laid-off people signing up for jobless benefits rose modestly last week, although the most recent figures suggest employment conditions are good.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance increased by a seasonally adjusted 4,000 to 307,000 for the week ending July 28. That was a better than the 310,000 economists expected.

New claims also are lower than a year ago, when they stood at 315,000.

In another report, U.S. factories saw demand for products improve in June. The Commerce Department said new orders rose 0.6 percent, compared with a 0.5 percent drop in May.

American Home Mortgage

Company fails, will close today

American Home Mortgage Investment plans to shut down, becoming the second-biggest residential lender to fail this year.

The last day for most employees will be today, Chief Executive Michael Strauss told employees in an e-mailed memo. Investment bankers cut off credit earlier this week, leaving the Melville, N.Y., company unable to fund at least $750 million in mortgages it had promised to thousands of now-stranded borrowers.

American Home specialized in mortgages for people with good credit who didn't qualify for loans with the best terms.

Compiled from Seattle Times staff, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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