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BRIEFLY

PARMALAT UNITS SEEK PROTECTION: Two key Brazilian units of fallen Italian food and dairy giant Parmalat filed for bankruptcy protection Wednesday in a bid to keep the company afloat amid growing pressure to pay its debts. Parmalat's Brazilian operations owe up to $1.8-billion. The dairy division that filed for bankruptcy protection, Parmalat Brasil Industria de Alimentos SA, accounts for about $160-million of that debt. Parmalat Brasil's local parent company, Parmalat Participacoes do Brasil Ltda., also filed for bankruptcy, but it was not immediately clear how much of the overall debt it holds.

"EXXON VALDEZ' DAMAGES SET: U.S. District Judge Russel Holland ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. on Wednesday to pay about $6.75-billion in punitive damages and interest to thousands of Alaskans affected by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Exxon Mobil, which says it will appeal, was ordered to pay $4.5-billion in punitive damages and about $2.25-billion in interest. The money is to go to 32,000 fishermen, Alaska Natives, landowners, small businesses and municipalities affected by the 11-million-gallon spill in Prince William Sound.

UNITED LAWYERS SUBMIT BILL: The law firm representing United Airlines' parent company in its bankruptcy proceedings has requested $59.7-million in fees and expenses for the first year of the case, according to court documents. Of that, $55.9-million is compensation for attorneys, who sometimes bill at a rate of more than $700 an hour, and $3.8-million is for expenses such as copy making, airfare and court filing costs. UAL Corp., parent of United Airlines, filed for federal bankruptcy protection Dec. 9, 2002, and expects to emerge in the current quarter.

Earnings

Time Warner Inc.

The world's largest media company swung to a profit in the fourth quarter of 2003, driven by stronger results from film and cable TV. But problems continued at its America Online unit as revenues and subscribers declined. AOL reported a decline of 830,000 paying subscribers, but said 431,000 members were in free "retention" programs to encourage them to stay. The results were in line with analysts' estimates as compiled by Thomson First Call.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $10.9-bil $10.25-bil

Net Income $638-mil -$44.9-bil

Per Share 14 cents -$10.04

2003 2002

Revenue $39.57-bil $37.31-bil

Net Income $2.64-bil -$98.7-bil

Per Share 57 cents -$22.15

ConocoPhillips

Higher oil and natural gas prices helped the nation's third-largest oil company achieve a $1.02-billion profit in the fourth quarter. Also Wednesday, in two deals worth $453-million, ConocoPhillips plans to sell 1,180 Mobil-branded gasoline stations. Getty Petroleum Marketing, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian Lukoil Oil Co., agreed to buy 795 stations or wholesale relationships for about $266-million. The stations are in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Sunoco is to spend $187-million, plus the cost of inventory, on 385 stations or wholesale relationships in Delaware, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Both deals are expected to close in the second quarter.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $26-bil $23.5-bil

Net Income $1.02-bil -$428-mil

Per Share $1.48 -63 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $105.1-bil $57.2-bil

Net Income $4.73-bil -$295-mil

Per Share $6.91 -61 cents

Tribune Co.

Fourth-quarter net earnings jumped 75 percent at Tribune as the media giant benefited from the sale of a minority holding and better-than-expected operating gains in its newspaper and broadcasting divisions. Tribune owns the Orlando Sentinel and South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 11 other daily newspapers, more than two dozen television stations and the Chicago Cubs. The results included a $114-million nonoperating gain, $100-million of it from the sale to Comcast of its 8.6 percent stake in the Golf Channel. Excluding that item, operating earnings were 66 cents a share _ 2 cents better than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $1.47-bil $1.43-bil

Net Income $338.4-mil $193-5-mil

Per Share $1 57 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $5.6-bil $5.4-bil

Net Income $891.4-mil $443-mil

Per Share $2.61 $1.30

Media General Inc.

Cheap newsprint and unexpectedly heavy political advertising helped Media General earn $30.5-million in the final three months of 2003, a 41 percent increase from a year ago, the company reported Wednesday. Excluding one-time gains, Media General, which owns the Tampa Tribune, earned $23.7-million, or $1 a share. That beat the consensus estimate of 96 cents from analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $225.5-mil $228.2-mil

Net Income $30.5-mil $21.6-mil

Per Share $1.29 93 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $837.4-mil $831.6-mil

Net Income $58.7-mil -$72.9-mil

Per Share $2.50 -$3.14

Tupperware Corp.

The Orlando maker of food containers posted a 21 percent drop in profit for the fourth quarter, citing weaker U.S. sales. Excluding items, the company said it would have reported fourth-quarter earnings of $29.2-million, or 50 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were on average expecting earnings, excluding items, of 49 cents a share.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $344.1-mil $321.2-mil

Net Income $27.4-mil $34.5-mil

Per Share 47 cents 59 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $1.17-bil $1.1-bil

Net Income $47.9-mil $90.1-mil

Per Share 82 cents $1.54

Procter & Gamble Co.

Robust sales in its beauty and health care businesses helped boost P&G's earnings by 22 percent in the second quarter, helped further by a 19 percent increase in the volume of products shipped and reduced manufacturing costs. Results beat the estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call by 2 cents a share.

2nd Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $13.2-bil $11.0-bil

Net Income $1.8-bil $1.5-bil

Per Share $1.30 $1.06

Altria Group Inc.

Tobacco and food giant Altria's fourth-quarter earnings rose 20 percent from a year ago, boosted by improved results in its domestic tobacco business and gains in its international business, thanks to the weak dollar. The New York parent of the world's largest cigarette company said the results were in line with the consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

4th Qtr Year Ago

Revenue $20.7-bil $18.7-bil

Net Income $2.09-bil $1.77-bil

Per Share $1.02 85 cents

2003 2002

Revenue $81.83-bil $80.41-bil

Net Income $9.2-bil $11.1-bil

Per Share $4.52 $5.21

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