Business briefs: Whidbey bank raises capital for growth

Washington Banking Co., the holding company for Whidbey Island Bank, announced $1.3 million in net income for the most recent quarter, or 13 cents per diluted share. That’s the same amount it earned during the same quarter of 2008. For the year, the company earned $4.6 million, or 46 cents a share, compared with $8.3 million, or 88 cents a share, for all of 2008. Jack Wagner, president and CEO, said the highlight of the quarter was the company’s ability to raise an additional $49 million from investors to boost its capital position. He said the company will look at expansion opportunities with the new money.

Ford finally earns full-year profit

Defying economic conditions that sent its U.S. rivals into bankruptcy court, Ford Motor Co. clawed its way to a $2.7 billion profit in 2009 and expects to stay in the black in 2010. It was the automaker’s first annual profit in four years. Ford’s full-year revenue of $118.3 billion fell 14 percent from 2008, but the Dearborn-based automaker benefited from $5.1 billion in cuts to manufacturing, engineering and advertising and a $1.3 billion profit at Ford Credit. It gained market share in North and South America and Europe despite the worst U.S. sales climate in 30 years. Ford CEO Alan Mulally said 2009 was “pivotal” but that Ford still has work to do.

Economic rebound below expectations

Evidence that the economic rebound remains sluggish emerged from reports Thursday on new claims for unemployment aid and orders to U.S. factories. The number of people claiming jobless aid fell last week, but less than expected. And orders for big-ticket manufactured goods rose but also fell short of analysts’ predictions. Weak job creation, in particular, is restraining consumer spending and holding back the economic recovery. The weak economic reports Thursday contributed to a decline on Wall Street. In its report on jobless claims, the Labor Department said first-time claims dropped 8,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 470,000. Analysts had expected a steeper drop to 450,000.

Boeing shifts management team

The Boeing Co. is creating two new development teams: one for an Advanced 737 and another for an Advanced 777. “Defining Boeing’s airplane product strategy is critical to our future growth,” said Jim Albaugh, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in a statement. Analysts have been speculating lately that the company will offer new engines on the 737. Boeing said as recently as Wednesday that it wanted to see what Airbus will do with the A350 before deciding the fate of the Everett-built 777. Albaugh named Mike Bair, who headed up the 787 for several years, to lead the new 737 team. He named Lars Andersen to the 777 team. Andersen served various roles on the 777, but most recently was a consultant to Boeing after retiring.

From Herald staff and news services