Sonoco profits increase in first quarter
FLORENCE Sonoco saw a 12 percent profit increase in the first quarter from last year due to lower expenses and one-time charges, despite a 3 percent drop in revenue, which was below analyst estimates, but within range of company estimates. Sonoco said Thursday that the company had base net earnings of 50 cents a share, coming in at the low end of company guidance and below analysts’ estimates of 53 cents a share and 2012 first quarter earnings of 52 cents a share. Sonoco president and CEO M. Jack Sanders blamed “challenging economic conditions and some operating inefficiencies,” including higher maintenance, labor, pension and other expenses. Despite lower than expected earnings, Sonoco reached a first quarter record cash flow record of $136.3 million and a record $50.7 million free cash flow. Sonoco increased its free cash flow projection for the year to $150 million from $130 million in anticipation of a federal incentive on the biomass boiler that is 80 percent complete.
Boeing commercial jet unit reducing engineer workforce
SEATTLE The head of engineering at Boeing Co.’s Commercial Airplanes unit informed managers Thursday the jetmaker will reduce its engineering workforce by up to 1,700 positions this year, with as many as 700 job cuts coming through layoffs. Layoff notices to the first of those employees will go out Friday. Vice president of engineering Mike Delaney sent an email to all his engineering managers outlining the cuts ahead and the reasons behind them. Delaney said that because development work is now complete on the 747-8, the 787-9 and the KC-46 Air Force tanker, Boeing’s commercial jet unit “will require fewer employees by year-end.” Since October, “almost 700 contract employees have left the payroll … and we will continue that effort where appropriate.”
Air traffic controller furloughs starting Sunday may result in long flight delays
WASHINGTON Air traffic controller furloughs scheduled to kick in on Sunday could result in flight delays of more than three hours in Atlanta, as well as significant delays in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York-area airports, federal officials said Thursday. Without the furloughs, FAA officials could find no way to cut $637 million from the agency’s budget as required by automatic, across-the-board spending cuts approved by Congress, said Michael Huerta, the agency’s administrator.
Legislation to fend off foreign hackers sails through House
WASHINGTON Pro-business legislation aimed at helping companies fend off sophisticated foreign hackers sailed through the House on Thursday despite a White House veto threat and an outcry from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups that say it leaves Americans vulnerable to spying by the military. The House vote, 288-127, puts the spotlight on the Senate, which hasn’t taken up the issue and is consumed with other high-profile issues such as gun control and immigration.
The (Florence) Morning News, The Seattle Times and The Associated Press contributed.