Business briefs: Goodrich Corp. completes division sale

Goodrich Corp. has completed the sale of its airframe heavy maintenance business in Everett. A subsidiary of Macquarie Group Ltd. acquired Goodrich Aviation Technical Services Inc., which employs 1,200 people at its 950,000-square-foot facility in Everett. Serving a broad base of North American and global customers, ATS provides maintenance, repair and overhaul services to airlines, cargo fleet operators and aircraft owners. Macquarie is a diversified global financial services institution headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Macquarie has a broad range of experience in managing or owning investments in the aviation industry, including airports, aircraft leasing and jet engines.

Rising gas prices pressure inflation

The biggest jump in gasoline prices in five months contributed to another elevated reading on consumer prices in October. With pump prices surging still, inflation is expected to be even worse in November. The Labor Department reported Thursday that its Consumer Price Index rose by 0.3 percent last month. It was the second straight month at that level after prices had fallen by 0.1 percent in August and had risen by 0.1 percent in July. Economists said consumers should brace for a worse performance in November, given an even bigger increase in gasoline prices so far this month.

Starbucks’ profit up, but shares fall

Starbucks Corp. said Thursday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped 35 percent, despite a slowdown in store openings and a drop in U.S. store traffic. The results met Wall Street estimates, and shares plummeted in after-hours trading. For the 13 weeks ended Sept. 30, the world’s largest chain of coffee houses posted net earnings of $158.5 million, or 21 cents a share, compared with $117.3 million, or 15 cents a share for the same period last year. Quarterly revenue was $2.44 billion, compared to $2 billion last year. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial were projecting 21 cents a share on $2.43 billion in revenue. Same-store sales, a key measure of a retailer’s health, increased 4 percent, toward the low end of the company’s guidance.

Ford contract cuts Japanese wage gap

A new contract with the United Auto Workers has nearly eliminated a $30-per-hour labor cost gap with Japanese competitors, setting up Ford Motor Co. to roll out more new products and return to profitability, the automaker said Thursday. Marty Mulloy, the company’s vice president for labor affairs, said shifting Ford’s long-term retiree health-care costs to a union-run trust and a new lower-tier wage scale will remove much of the gap. “I’d say very close but not all the way,” he said during a conference call to explain the landmark four-year deal with the UAW. The union announced Wednesday that Ford’s 54,000 UAW workers overwhelmingly ratified the contract, reached Nov. 3 after a marathon bargaining session. Ford also said it will make another round of buyout and early retirement offers to UAW workers by the end of the year, with departures expected to begin in the first quarter of 2008.

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