Unum increases profit over same quarter in 2012

Unum Group, one of Portland’s largest employers, reported Monday that it had more net income in the second quarter of this year than the same quarter of 2012, $218.6 million compared with $216.4 million.

The increase in profit came primarily from gains in Unum’s investment portfolio of about $8.6 million, compared with a $1.4 million investment loss in the second quarter of 2012, the company said.

The employee-benefits and disability-insurance provider, which is based in Chattanooga, Tenn., and employs about 2,900 workers in Portland, reported a slight decrease in revenue, from $2.62 billion in the second quarter of 2012 to $2.59 billion during the most recent quarter, which ended June 30.

The company’s earnings per share rose to 82 cents during the quarter, from 76 cents during the same period a year earlier, Unum reported.

Unum stock, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol UNM, was down about 21 cents for the day, or 0.65 percent, to $32.33 per share when the market closed Monday. The earnings report was not released until after the market closed.

Jet Blue to start offering lie-flat seats for long flights

JetBlue, known for shuttling vacationers from Northeast cities to the warmth of Florida and the Caribbean, is making a play for corporate road warriors.

Starting next year, the all-coach airline plans to offer 16 lie-flat seats on flights between New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s the first time the egalitarian carrier will have a second class of service.

The transcontinental routes are the most profitable and highly contested domestic markets for airlines. Business class tickets frequently sell for $4,000 roundtrip. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are all in the process of putting lie-flat beds in their premium cabins on those routes.

“Transcontinental routes have had high premium fares we believe we can beat,” CEO Dave Barger said in a statement.


US Airways, American merger advances in Europe

European authorities have cleared US Airways Group Inc.’s proposed merger with American Airlines’ parent company, AMR Corp. — on the condition that they give up one slot at London’s Heathrow airport and take steps to foster competition on the London-Philadelphia route.

The merger and restructuring plan, which would create the world’s biggest airline, must still be approved by a U.S. federal judge before AMR can emerge from bankruptcy, with a hearing expected Aug. 15.

The U.S. Department of Justice is still reviewing the deal amid complaints that it could lead to reduced competition and higher fares.

The deal was approved last week by US Airways shareholders.

A number of states have asked for insight into the deal’s details, presumably to ensure that hubs and routes touching their regional interests are being preserved.


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