Pinnacle Entertainment amends credit agreement

Casino operator Pinnacle Entertainment says it has amended and restated a credit agreement, giving it $375 million of revolving credit.

The facility, which matures on March 31, 2014, also refinances amounts that were outstanding under a previous credit agreement.

The company said Monday that $110 million had been drawn under the new facility as of Friday.

Pinnacle Entertainment said last week that cost-cutting helped narrow its fourth-quarter loss.

The company owns and runs casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri and Argentina.

MGM Mirage wants to delay maturity date on some debt

MGM Mirage says it wants to push back the maturity dates on some $5.55 billion of debt by more than two years.

The company said Monday it wants final approval from lenders by Feb. 24.

The company based in Las Vegas wants to extend the maturity of a “substantial portion” of the credit agreements to Feb. 21, 2014 from Oct. 3, 2011.

MGM Mirage Chief Financial Officer Dan D’Arrigo said in a statement that the company has already received “strong initial support” from some lenders and is seeking approval from others.

If approved, $1.4 billion of the revolving loans and commitments would be converted into term loans. The transaction would also give MGM Mirage the ability to issue more secured debt.


Transformers, Nerf toys help push earnings up for Hasbro

Strength in its boys’ brands like Transformers and Nerf, along with its core game brands including Scrabble and Monopoly, should boost Hasbro’s results in 2010, the company said Monday.

The owner of the G.I. Joe, Tonka and Playskool brands also said it expects sales and earnings per share to grow this year, although it didn’t offer specifics.

Combined with strong fourth-quarter earnings, the positive news sent Hasbro shares up 12 percent, and they briefly touched a 52-week high. Hasbro has seen earnings-per-share grow for nine years straight and revenue for five.

Fourth-quarter profit rose 77 percent to $165.6 million, or $1.09 per share, from $93.6 million, or 62 cents per share, last year. That surpassed the 81 cents per share analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected.

Sales climbed 12 percent to $1.38 billion from $1.23 billion, topping Wall Street’s estimate of $1.34 billion.


Boeing’s biggest plane ever takes off on first flight

Boeing Co.’s giant 747-8 freighter — the biggest plane the company has ever built — successfully completed its first flight Monday, a year later than originally planned.

The huge plane took off from Everett’s Paine Field at 12:39 p.m. PST after a weather delay. It returned to Paine at 4:18 p.m.

Hundreds of employees and other airplane fans gathered to watch the plane take to the air. The flight came just one day short of the 41st anniversary of the first flight of the original 747 model.

At 250 feet long — more than twice the length of the Wright Brothers’ first flight — the plane is about 18 feet longer than the existing 747-400 jumbo jet. The company conducted taxi tests on the freighter Saturday, with the aircraft performing well, Boeing said.

Boeing also is developing a passenger version of the plane. It lists 76 orders for the freighter and 32 for the 747-8 passenger jet, with the vast majority from international customers.

The company says the jets will be much quieter, more fuel efficient and have lower emissions than current 747-400 models.


UPS announces pilot layoffs, says it will seek alternatives

Shipping giant United Parcel Service on Monday announced plans to lay off 300 pilots, but said it will continue to work to find ways to avoid the furloughs.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the pilots targeted for layoffs represent nearly 11 percent of its total. The Journal added that the layoffs would save the airlines $244 million in pilot costs by 2015.

The airline and its pilots union previously identified savings totaling roughly $90 million over three years, through pilots taking short- and long-term leaves of absence, military leaves, job sharing, reduction in flight pay guarantees, early retirement and other measures. UPS wanted $131 million in cost savings over three years.


Ex-Intel executive says he fed secret data to hedge fund

A former Intel executive pleaded guilty Monday to charges he fed confidential information about the computer-chip maker to wealthy hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, his old friend and central figure in a massive insider trading case.

“I gave Raj Rajaratnam the information because of my friendship with him,” Rajiv Goel told a judge in federal court in Manhattan. “I cannot express how sorry I am.”

Goel, 51, of Los Altos, Calf., became the ninth defendant to plead guilty out of 21 charged so far in the case. He faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing on May 28 but could receive far less time because he agreed to cooperate with the investigation as part of a plea deal.

Prosecutors allege Rajaratnam, the Sri Lanka-born portfolio manager for the Galleon Group hedge fund, pocketed up to $50 million through a network of cheating executives at financial firms and companies privy to inside information. He denies wrongdoing.

Goel, a resident of Los Altos, Calif., was a director of strategic investments at Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp., until he left the company last year.


Revenue per passenger, flier count increase for United

United Airlines said Monday that January traffic rose, and it collected more revenue from each passenger.

United said it collected 9.5 percent to 11.5 percent more for each passenger flown one mile in January compared with January 2009.

Throughout last year airlines struggled to raise fares, so any increase in so-called unit revenue is going to be welcomed by the industry. For instance, United said last year’s unit revenue fell 6.7 percent in January 2009, 11.2 percent in February and 15 percent in March compared with a year earlier. Monday was the first time United released monthly unit revenue numbers.

United said traffic across its system rose 2.4 percent, to 8.77 billion revenue passenger miles. A passenger mile is one passenger flown one mile.

Capacity fell 2 percent to 11.17 billion available seat miles. That means planes were 3.4 percentage points fuller; occupancy rose to 78.5 percent in January.


Judge to rule soon on proposed Bank of America settlement

A judge promised Monday to decide by the end of next week whether to approve a $150 million settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Bank of America over civil charges alleging the bank misled shareholders when it acquired Merrill Lynch.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff said he will decide only after giving lawyers on both sides a written list of questions he has and hearing their responses.

Rakoff last year rejected a $33 million settlement stemming from the early 2009 acquisition, calling it a breach of “justice and morality” that was “done at the expense, not only of the shareholders, but also of the truth.”


Chrysler to invest $550 million to build minicar in Mexico

Chrysler Group LLC says it will invest $550 million to build the Fiat 500 minicar at its assembly plant near Mexico City.

Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the new work at its Toluca plant will create 400 jobs. He said Monday the company will begin making the model in December for U.S. and Latin American markets.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon says Chrysler will produce between 100,000 and 130,000 vehicles at the plant, creating about 1,200 indirect jobs. Chrysler says the Mexican government has provided a $400 million incentive package for the project, the majority of it as loans.

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