Business briefs

First quarter profits drop, Heritage finds

OLYMPIA - Heritage Financial Corp., parent company to Heritage Bank, reported a slight drop in profits in the first quarter of the year, the company announced Wednesday.

For the first quarter that ended March 31, Heritage Financial Corp. earned a net profit of $2.37 million, down from $2.56 million in the year ago period.

The drop in profit was partly attributed to a highly competitive loan market, the company said in a news release.

Still, total assets, net loans and deposits all were higher in the first quarter, compared with the same period last year.

The quarterly results show:

- Total assets increased 15 percent to $864.8 million.

- Net loans increased nearly 16 percent to $755 million.

- Deposits increased 12.5 percent to $742.8 million.


IPod, Mac sales boost Apple profits by 88%

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Apple Inc. blew past Wall Street expectations Wednesday, posting quarterly profits that jumped by 88 percent, fueled by strong sales of its iPod digital media players and Macintosh computers.

In the first three months of the year, the Cupertino-based company said it earned $770 million, or 87 cents per share, up from $410 million, or 47 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales were $5.26 billion, up 21 percent from $4.36 billion last year.


Royal Bank bid for ABN Amro tops previous offer

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - One of the largest takeovers in corporate history escalated into a bidding war Wednesday as a group led by Royal Bank of Scotland said it planned a bid worth almost $100 billion for ABN Amro that tops a Barclays' offer by more than 10 percent.

Shareholders immediately pressured ABN to commit to accepting the highest bid, ahead of the Dutch bank's annual shareholders' meeting Thursday, and analysts said the key battleground is LaSalle Bank in the United States. One analyst called LaSalle the "crown jewel" of ABN's international operations.


Judge approves Delta plan to exit bankruptcy

NEW YORK - A federal bankruptcy judge approved a Delta Air Lines plan to exit bankruptcy Wednesday after the nation's third-largest airline spent nearly 20 months in a wrenching reorganization that cut 6,000 jobs and slashed $3 billion in costs.

Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. expects to emerge from court protection Monday. It estimates it will be worth $9.4 billion to $12 billion, after it reduced labor costs, restructured its fleet and terminated a pilots pension plan.

The Olympian, news services