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Archive for Friday, May 17, 2002

Briefcase

May 17, 2002

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Former Andersen auditor testifies about partnership

Arthur Andersen LLP's audit team on the Enron Corp. account disagreed with the energy trader's decision to do business with a partnership run by Enron's chief financial officer, former auditor David B. Duncan testified Thursday.

Duncan, in his fourth day testifying in his former firm's obstruction of justice trial, said he did not think Enron should deal with Andrew Fastow's LJM partnership, a related-party transaction that has been scrutinized heavily in the wake of Enron's collapse in late 2001.

"We did not think it was a good idea," he said. But he added that he thought it was in the area of Enron's corporate governance and it wasn't the auditing firm's place to interfere with business dealings. Enron's board signed off on the LJM deal in 1999.

Telecommunications

Sprint cutting more jobs

Sprint Corp. will cut 200 more jobs, bringing the total number of workers laid off since October to 12,000.

The reductions in the Overland Park-based telecommunications company will come from Sprint's Global Markets Group and involve employees who work in Sprint Business, the portion of the company focused on corporate customers.

The Global Markets Group, which encompasses most of the struggling long-distance business, also was the target for 340 layoffs announced April 22.

Sixty employees, including 11 in the Kansas City area, were told Wednesday that their jobs would be eliminated, said spokeswoman Laurie Ellison. An additional 140 jobs to be cut in this round of layoffs will be identified and announced by mid-June, Ellison said.

Economy

Housing market slowing

Home builders broke ground in April on the smallest number of projects in six months, a sign the housing market is slowing a bit.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that housing construction fell 5.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.56 million units. That was the lowest level since October.

It marked the second straight month that housing construction fell. In March, new housing projects dropped by 8.1 percent.

Minnesota

Honeywell plans to close two manufacturing plants

Honeywell International Inc. plans to close two advanced-circuits manufacturing facilities in Minnesota because of slow demand, a Minneapolis newspaper reported Thursday.

The facilities are in Buffalo and Roseville, and together employ about 750 people, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported. It said two administrative support facilities, in Hopkins and Minnetonka, Minn., also may close.

In Lawrence, a Honeywell avionics plant employs about 225 people.

Wall Street

Firms announce earnings

Kohl's Corp., which operates a store in Lawrence, announced earnings for the first quarter of 31 cents per share, up from 22 cents per share a year earlier. Dillards, which operates stores in Kansas City and Topeka, posted earnings of 68 cents per share, up from 34 cents per share a year earlier.

American Eagle Outfitters, which operates a store in Lawrence, announced earnings of 17 cents per share, down from 21 cents per share a year earlier. The Gap Inc., which operates several stores in Lawrence, posted earnings of 4 cents per share, down from 13 cents a year earlier.

Kansas City Mo.-based Vanguard Airlines posted a loss of 18 cents per share compared to a loss of 56 cents per share a year earlier.

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