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Business Notes

Kentucky

Oregon Electronics companyto open facility in N. Kentucky

An Oregon-based company, Andrews Electronics, is opening a facility in Northern Kentucky's Boone County, where it will employ 25 people. Andrews Electronics, a division of MTI-Andrews, with headquarters in Hillsboro, Ore., has preliminary approval for up to $400,000 in incentives from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority as part of the Kentucky Jobs Development Act program, designed to create technology and service-related employment in the state. The consumer electronics parts and accessories processing center will occupy 73,500 square feet in Hebron.

national

Starbucks sells new instant brew online

Starbucks Corp. began selling its new instant coffee online Tuesday, ahead of a nationwide launch to coincide with the company's first major ad campaign. Customers will be able to buy packets of the new coffee in Starbucks' Seattle and Chicago stores March 3 and the rest of the company's U.S. stores in the fall when the advertising begins. Online orders will start shipping in March. Chief executive Howard Schultz said the gourmet coffee chain wants to change perceptions of both its own affordability and the quality of instant coffee. "This is not your mother's instant coffee," Schultz said at an "unveiling" event for analysts and reporters in New York. Called Via, the water-soluble product sells in packets of three for $2.95 or 12 for $9.95 — $1 or less a cup. Just Columbia and Italian Roast varieties will be available at first, but the company will add others later.

Loan from Liberty Media saves Sirius

Facing a likely bankruptcy, Sirius XM Radio Inc. found a savior in Liberty Media Corp., which will lend $530 million to the satellite radio provider and block a bid for control by a rival both companies share: Dish Network Corp. Sirius had warned it could file for bankruptcy as early as Tuesday if it could not successfully negotiate with its debt holders. Sirius XM Radio has 20 million subscribers who use the service to listen to sports, music and talk, including Howard Stern's show, which Sirius landed with a five-year, $500 million contract that could have been terminated in a bankruptcy.

Credit card issuers offer help with debt

Trouble paying your credit card bills? Your card issuer is standing by to help. Major credit card companies will launch a Web site and toll-free number Wednesday for consumers wrestling with daunting balances. The "Help With My Credit" campaign is being backed by Citigroup Inc., Discover Financial Services, Capital One Financial Corp., Bank of America Corp., Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. The toll-free number is 1-866-941-1030. The Web site is www.helpwithmycredit.org.

Smithfield Foods to cut 1,800 jobs

Smithfield Foods Inc. said Tuesday it plans to cut 1,800 jobs and close six factories — including one in its Virginia hometown — as part of a restructuring amid an overall slump in the meat industry. Chief executive C. Larry Pope said the nation's largest pork producer was switching its focus from buying up its hard-pressed competitors to operating more efficiently. The company plans to combine seven of its independent operating companies into three main units and close plants in six cities by December. The moves will lead to annual cost savings, after expenses, of $55 million in fiscal 2010 and $125 million by the next year.

Banks get rescue money, reduce lending

The government says the 20 largest banks that received government rescue funds slightly reduced their lending to consumers and businesses during the last three months of 2008. The Treasury Department says the banks reduced mortgage and business loans by about 1 percent each, while credit card lending rose by 2 percent. The department says lending most likely would have fallen further without the roughly $200 billion provided to banks so far, given the sharp downturn in the economy. The data are from the first in what the department says will be a series of monthly reports on the banks' lending.

Shipment of general-aviation planes falls

The General Aviation Manufacturers Association says shipments of general-aviation planes fell 7.1 percent last year. The trade group, which represents business-aircraft makers, said Tuesday it was the first decline in shipments in five years.

Compiled from Staff, wire reports

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