Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Business digest



Compiled from wire reports

Dell taking orders for printers, cartridges

Dell Computer Corp. began taking orders Tuesday for its new line of printers and cartridges, making a long-expected step into the inkjet and laser world.

It's a move analyst have said could expand the PC-giant's presence in the high-tech market.

Dell will offer four printers for home and business use, as well as replacement ink cartridges and toner.

The company, which has been under heat from some environmentalists for not taking a leadership role in cleaning up "e-waste," also announced a companion printer recycling program.

The printers, ranging in price from $139 to $839, were made for Dell by Lexington-based Lexmark International Inc. The models vary. The lowest-end printer is an all-in-one machine that includes a scanner, copier and fax software.

Stock exchange seeks to de-list HealthSouth

The New York Stock Exchange said Tuesday it will seek to de-list HealthSouth Corp. and suspended trading in its stock for a fifth consecutive session following accusations that the rehabilitation chain and its chairman engaged in massive accounting fraud.

The exchange made the announcement as a federal court in Birmingham, Ala., scheduled a hearing into whether assets of the company and its founder, Richard Scrushy, should be frozen as requested by federal regulators.

The court last week froze Scrushy's assets and ordered HealthSouth to place in escrow any "extraordinary payments" to executives or employees.

Shares in HealthSouth were halted March 19 as the Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil charges accusing the company of overstating earnings by $1.4 billion since 1999 in a scheme allegedly orchestrated by Scrushy, who has denied wrongdoing.

UnumProvident to restate earnings

UnumProvident Corp. shares soared 19 percent Tuesday after the company said it had resolved issues raised by the Securities and Exchange Commission and would restate three years of earnings.

The nation's largest disability insurer said after the close of trading Monday that it would reduce earnings by $29.1 million for 2000, 2001 and 2002 to resolve comments from the SEC related to its investment disclosures.

Shares in UnumProvident rose $1.58 to close Tuesday at $9.91 each on the New York Stock Exchange.

The corrected information included a $34.2 million increase in previously reported net income in 2002 and decreases of $38 million in 2001 and $25.3 million in 2000. Over that period, the company had reported net income of about $1.51 billion.

The change added 14 cents per share for 2002, following reductions of 16 cents per share in 2001 and 10 cents per share in 2000.

UPS stays brown, but unveils new logo

To emphasize it does more than just deliver packages, United Parcel Service unveiled a new look Tuesday that includes the first redesign of the company's logo in more than 40 years.

The Atlanta-based company is getting rid of the familiar string-tied box that has adorned the corporate logo since 1961 in favor of a simpler brown and gold shield.

Brown will remain the primary color representing UPS, although other colors will become part of the design of aircraft, packages and other company assets.

Sears to eliminate headquarters jobs

Sears, Roebuck and Co. plans unspecified reductions to its corporate headquarters staff as the retailer continues cost-cutting after 18 months of declining sales.

Sears said Tuesday the number of job cuts among the 6,000 to 6,500 employees who work at headquarters has yet to be determined but will take place this spring.

Sears' full-line stores should not be affected, a spokeswoman said.

CEO Alan Lacy has been cutting jobs company-wide since 2001 to trim expenses and boost Sears' profitability despite weak sales.



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