Stories for May 2006

Wednesday, May 31

Countrywide Outlines Mortgage Rates

Calabasas-based Countrywide Financial Corp. lowered the high end of its total residential mortgage market for the year to $2.2 - $2.9 trillion from a previous estimate of $2.2 - $3.0 trillion.

Thursday in the Valley

Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber, Government Relations Committee

Ryland Sells Notes

Home builder The Ryland Group Inc. sold $250 million of 6.875 percent of its senior notes that were due 2013.

Tuesday, May 30

Dynamics Direct Purchased

E-mail marketing software provider Dynamics Direct has been acquired by Alterian, an international database marketing firm, the companies announced.

Zankou Honored

Zankou Chicken has been named the Small Business of the Year for the 21st Senate District, State Sen. Jack Scott announced Tuesday.

Semtech Reports First Quarter

Semtech Corp. said its net income rose to $12 million or $0.16 per share for the first quarter of its fiscal year 2007, vs. $10.8 million in the year ago period.

Wednesday in the Valley

Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce, Teacher Appreciation Awards

Diodes on Fastest Growing List

Westlake Village-based Diodes Inc., a semiconductor manufacturer, was ranked No. 26 among the 100 Fastest Growing Tech Companies in the June 2006 issue of Business 2.0 Magazine.

Friday, May 26

TechnoCom Sells Unit

TechnoCom Corp. has sold its vehicle tracking business unit to CalAmp Corp., the company announced Friday.

Six Flags to Change Ticker

Six Flags Inc., parent company for Six Flags Magic Mountain, said it was changing its ticker symbol to SIX effective June 5.

Digital Insight to Buy Back $50 Million in Stock

Digital Insight Corp. said its board of directors authorized the repurchase of up to $50 million worth of the company's common stock during the next year.

Tuesday in the Valley

North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, Business 2 Business

Thursday, May 25

21st Century Insurance Expands

21st Century Insurance, Woodland Hills-based auto insurance company, expanded its services into three new markets Florida, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

Metrocities Records Loan Funding Increases

Metrocities Mortgage LLC said today that it funded $1.5 billion in closed loan volume for the first three months of 2006, a 23 percent increase over the same period in 2005.

Technicolor Enters Mobile Arena

Technicolor Content Services said it will provide production and post-production technologies for use in content for mobile phones.

Friday in the Valley

Encino Chamber of Commerce, Network Plus Breakfast

Sport Chalet Opens in Thousand Oaks

Sport Chalet Inc. this weekend will hold grand opening ceremonies for its newest store in Thousand Oaks.

Wednesday, May 24

Walt Disney Internet Group Enters China's Online Game Market

North Hollywood-based Walt Disney Internet Group has entered into an agreement with Shanda Interactive Entertainment to bring Disney into China's online game industry, the company announced Wednesday.

United Online, Inc. Offers PrivatePhone Service

Free phone service will be made available via the Internet through a new service offered from United Online, Inc., the company announced Wednesday.

Thursday in the Valley

Valley Economic Development Center, Business Marketing Workshop

Tuesday, May 23

Semtech Gets Stock Option Inquiry from SEC

Semtech Corp., supplier of semiconductors headquartered in Camarillo, received a letter from the Securities and Exchange Commission requesting that it provide information regarding stock options granted since January 1, 1997.

Wednesday in the Valley

Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce, May Mixer

Meridian Health Care Files Chap. 7

Meridian Health Care Management Inc. has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records.

CenterStaging Launches

CenterStaging, Burbank-based creator of worldwide digital entertainment content for online distribution, and Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) will partner to launch website

Move Launches Website

Move, Inc. launched its expanded website Tuesday with more real estate listings, photos and virtual tours, the company announced.

Monday, May 22

Time to Develop a Business Attraction Program

Bruce Ackerman, President and CEO of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, is very proud of his organization's Valley of the Stars branding campaign.

Fast Growing Key Information Gets Award, Eyes New Market

Reporter Mark R. Madler writes about changes at Woodland Hills based Key Information Systems.

Countrywide Leases New Project in Westlake

Countrywide Financial Corp. has leased a 180,000-square-foot office development in Westlake Village.



Tuesday in the Valley

North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, Networking Breakfast

K-Swiss Declares Quarterly Dividend

K-Swiss Inc., Westlake Village-based designer and manufacturer of athletic footwear declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.05 per share for the second quarter ending June 30, 2006.

Company's White Water Rafting Trip Brings Question

Lawyer, Ira Rosenblatt shares legal advice.

Easton-Bell Loses $7.7 Million

Easton-Bell Sports Inc., the company formed by the recent acquisition of Easton Sports by Riddell Bell Holdings Inc., said it lost $7.7 million for the first quarter ended April 1, compared to breakeven for the first fiscal quarter of 2005.

Insurance Group Study Says Single-Payer Proposal Flawed

The California Association of Health Underwriters commissions a study which pokes holes in the single-payer insurance system proposed for California.

The Art of Dining

An Agoura Hills interior design firm develops a niche providing casual yet efficient designs for restaurants.

New CEO at Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber

Nanette Phelan, a life-long resident of Chatsworth and a business owner for the last 14 years, has taken the reins as the new CEO of the Chatsworth/Porter Ranch Chamber of Commerce.

Changes Prompt Moving Up Plan For Warner Center

Warner Center is getting ready to create a new Specific Plan to replace the guidelines that have governed development in the area for the past 13 years.

Bills Threaten Burgeoning RFID Business

Makers of radio frequency identification products are banding together to keep lawmakers from prohibiting the technology's use.

Re/Max Donates Sales to Charities

Over 11,000 real estate professionals from Re/Max in California and Hawaii held an Open House on the weekend of May 20 and 21 in order to donate proceeds of home sales to the Children's Miracle Network, "Race for the Cure" and other local charities.

State Leads in Tech Posts; Valley Shows Strength

The local tech industry stays healthy as California continues to lead the nation in the number of jobs, wages and exports.

Forecast Calls for Continued Job Growth

Long-term job growth is expected in the Valley in coming years, CSUN's annual economic forecast says.

Bigger is Better for High Performance Computer Firm

DataDirect was chosen by NASA to supply storage at the Goddard Space Flight Center for studying weather and climate.

New President Named for Hispanic Publication

Los Angeles Newspaper Group named Mike Cano president and CEO of Impacto USA, its weekly Spanish language newspaper.

Natrol Expands to U.K.

Nutrition supplements manufacturer Natrol, Inc. announced Monday it had established a subsidiary in the United Kingdom in hopes of increasing its sales overseas.

Local Firms Stay on Cutting Edge in Game Showcase

Local companies show cutting edge products at E3 Expo.

Guitar Center Acquires Hermes Music Stores

Guitar Center Inc. has agreed to acquire musical instrument distributor and retailer Hermes Trading Co. Inc. in Texas.

New Accounting Rule Causes Headaches for Companies

The new accounting rule, that for many companies went into effect with the first quarter of 2006, dragged down earnings at most firms, in many cases by $0.03 or more per share.

Union Protest Disrupts Event Marking Hospital Expansion

West Hills Hospital and Medical Center broke ground on a 47,000-square-foot addition amid protests from union members.

Aspyra Loses $1.8 Million

Aspyra, Inc., Calabasas-based provider of clinical and diagnostic information systems for healthcare, lost $1.8 million, or $0.15 per share on sales of $2.7 million for the first quarter of the 2006 fiscal year.

Dolphin Markets 3D System For Improving Dental Care

Dolphin Imaging & Management Systems signs a deal to sell the latest in threedimensional imaging systems to orthodontists and oral surgeons.

Ryland Group Downgraded As Housing Inventories Rise

Jonathan D. Colburn reports on the analyst downgrade of Ryland Group Inc.

Manufacturing Issues Wear Thin

The founders of a Valley shoe company aren't so sure they want their children to follow in their footsteps.

Friday, May 19

Monday in the Valley

Sherman Oaks Chamber of Commerce, Membership Committee

Thursday, May 18

Salem Publishing to Buy "Preaching Magazine"

Salem Communications, a radio broadcaster, Internet content provider and magazine publisher catering to Christian and family audiences, announced it is buying American Ministry Resources LLC, the owner of "Preaching Magazine."

American Soil Breaks into Kuwait Market

American Soil Technologies is entering the Middle East market through a partnership with a Kuwaiti firm, the Pacoima company announced Thursday.

Friday in the Valley

Cal State Northridge, 2006 Economic Summit

North American Scientific Announces Distribution Deal

University HealthSystem Consortium and VHA Inc. will distribute North American Scientific's Prospera brachytherapy products to its member hospitals, North American Scientific said.

CRA Approves Reseda Theater Makeover

The Board of Commissioners of the Community Redevelopment Agency unanimously approved a proposal to make over the Reseda Theater, which was built in 1948.

Natrol Secures Rights to Vitamin B Product

Chatsworth-based Natrol has signed a patent licensing agreement Oekopharm GmbH of Austria for the manufacture, sales, distribution and marketing of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide hydride (NADH) in North America.

Wednesday, May 17

Vitesse Fires Top Three Executives

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. fired three top executives after a suspension in April concerning stock options that were awarded inappropriately.

Thursday in the Valley

North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, Business & Consumer Resource Cluster

IDT Entertainment Sold to Liberty

Liberty Media Corporation announced Wednesday it was acquiring IDT Entertainment Co., a deal expected to close in three months.

Lund Begins International Freight Operations

The Allen Lund Company, a transportation brokerage based in La Canada-Flintridge, announced the opening of the ALC International Division in Cookville, TN.

Salem Buys On-Demand Publisher

Salem Publishing, part of Camarillo-based Salem Communications, announced it will buy Xulon Press, an on-demand publisher of books targeting the Christian audience.

Tuesday, May 16

Wednesday in the Valley

North Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, Monthly Mixer

Vitesse Receives Delisting Notice

Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation has received notice that it could be delisted from the Nasdaq National Market as a result of its failure to file a financial quarterly report.

Bratz To Hit the Big Screen

MGA Entertainment's popular Bratz characters will be the subject of a feature film slated to begin production later this year.

American Soil Technologies Signs Dealer Agreement

Dreamscapes Ltd of Dell Rapids, S.D. has signed an agreement with American Soil Technologies in Pacoima to service the entire state of South Dakota. Announces Harrah's Deal

Woodland Hill-based online gambling company has teamed with Harrah's Louisiana Downs Racetrack and Casino to build the online segment of the track's pari-mutuel wagering business.

Monday, May 15

Tuesday in the Valley

Valley Economic Development Center, All About Business Loans

Superior to Distribute Dividend

Superior Industries International, Inc., aluminum wheel manufacturer in Van Nuys, will distribute a quarterly cash dividend of $0.16 per share on its common stock.

Natrol Shows Positive Net Income

After several dismal quarters, Chatsworth-based Natrol Inc. managed to post a profit in the first quarter.

Planning Force Change Name to QPC Lasers

Planning Force Inc. has acquired the outstanding shares of the Quintessence Photonics Corp. in a reverse merger and changed its name to QPC Lasers, Inc., the company announced Monday.

Bobrick Celebrates 100 Years

Bobrick Washroom Equipment, which makes washroom accessories ranging from soap dispensing systems to air hand dryers and several others, celebrated its 100th year in business at its North Hollywood headquarters.

Friday, May 12

Magnetek Income Down

Power control producer Magnetek, Inc. reported an income loss for its fiscal year third quarter that ended April 2.

21st Meets Expectations

Woodland Hills-based auto insurer 21st Century Insurance Group posted a first-quarter net income of $21.3 million, or $0.25 per share on net premiums of $337.2 million, compared with income of $19.3 million, or $0.23 per share, on net premiums of $350.9 m

SunCal Purchases Santa Monica Blvd. High-Rise

SunCal Companies in Woodland Hills announced it will purchase property along Santa Monica Blvd. between Beverly Hills and Century City in deal worth more than $110 million.

Monday in the Valley

United Chambers of Commerce, Government Affairs Committee

Digital Insight Renews Credit Union Agreement

Digital Insight Corp., an online banking provider in Calabasas, announced a renewed and extended agreement with Service Credit Union in Portsmouth, N.H for the use of its Internet Banking and Online Payment services.

Thursday, May 11

Friday in the Valley

San Fernando Chamber of Commerce, General Membership Luncheon

Trio-Tech Income Rises

Trio-Tech International, which provides third-party semiconductor testing and designs semiconductor testing equipment, reported saw growth in revenue and net income after acquiring a division in Shanghai, China.

Iris Signs Deal with Novation

Chatsworth-based Iris International has signed a supply agreement with Novation LLC, which is the health care contracting services company of VHA Inc. and University HealthSystem Consortium.

21st Hire New CFO

Steven P. Irwin will joined 21st Century Insurance as senior vice president and chief financial officer for the company.

New Market Opening Cuts Net at Shoe Pavilion

Additional audit expenses and costs associated with opening a new market in Dallas pulled down earnings at Shoe Pavilion Inc. for the first quarter of 2006.

Wednesday, May 10

Image Ready to Field Offers

The Chief Executive Officer of Image Entertainment said Tuesday that the company's growing video and audio library continues to be eyed by competing firms for a potential acquisition.

West Hills Breaks Ground on ER, Unions Protest

West Hills Hospital and Medical Center broke ground on a 47,000-square-foot addition which is scheduled to open some time in 2008, as about a dozen union employees were on hand to protest staffing levels.

Crown Media CEO Resigns as Earnings Fall

Crown Media Holdings announced Wednesday the company saw a net loss of $47.2 million for the first quarter ending on March 31.

Yahoo and NBC Partner to Offer Hispanic Internet Presence

Yahoo! Inc. and NBC Universal Television Group and Telemundo announced that they will combine their U.S. Hispanic Properties to offer an Internet business called Yahoo! Telemundo.

Cal Lutheran Receives $1.5 million Gift

California Lutheran University has been given a $1.5 million donation by businessmen Corky and Steve Ullman for a new baseball stadium.

Thursday in the Valley

Valley Economic Development Center, Start Up Do's & Don'ts

Tuesday, May 9

Disney Revenues Down, Hopes Pinned on Summer Releases

The Walt Disney Company reported Tuesday a drop in its revenues from its entertainment division for the first quarter ending on March 31.

Burbank Airport Gets Soundproofing Money

Congressman Brad Sherman has secured $10 million for the Bob Hope Airport for its ongoing program to soundproof nearby homes, his office announced Tuesday.

Wednesday in the Valley

Valley Economic Development Center, All About Business Loans

ITC Will Investigate Amgen Claim

Amgen announced that the International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. has agreed to look into a claim that the Thousand Oaks biotech company lodged against Switzerland-based Roche.

Warner Bros. Makes Nice with BitTorrent

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group will distribute downloadable video content of its movies and television shows through BitTorrent Inc.'s publishing platform.

Monday, May 8

Blending in Is Part of Life for Area's Influential

San Fernando Valley-area wealthy individuals make their money quietly in home-grown enterprises.

A Movie Pitch -This Time to Angel Investors

Toonacious is hoping to bypass the studio system altogether and instead raise the funds it needs for a distribution deal from the angel investment community.

Tuesday in the Valley

Encino Chamber of Commerce, New Member Orientation

Vitesse Troubles Continue With Announcement of Suits

Jonathan D. Colburn reports on the latest news at troubled Vitesse.

Technical Support

A Woodland Hills company provides much needed support navigating the retirement plan maze.

Health Net Profit Triples

Health Net Inc. reported that increased enrollees in its Medicare prescription drug programs and an increase in other business segments led to a huge increase in its net income for the most recent quarter.

SBA Honors Several Local Companies for Business Efforts

Audrey Martinez-Keller will receive the Women in Business Champion of the Year Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Notable Individuals on Valley's Roster of Affluent People

A roster of some of the most influential local people.

Office Market to Tighten, Report Says

With a direct vacancy rate for office space now at 8.6 percent and little new space due to come online until next year, a just-released report by Colliers International predicted that the vacancy rates in the San Fernando Valley will drop to the 7 percent

News Talk, Internet Drive Salem Earnings

Salem Communications, a national radio broadcaster of Christian content, reported earnings of $2.7 million, or 11 cents per share, on sales of $50 million for the first quarter of 2006 due to increased revenues from the news talk stations and Internet mar

Notification System Gives Schools Easy Link to Parents

A Sherman Oaks company provides communication links between schools

Dull But Profitable Firms

Many of the local wealthy make fortunes at companies most people have never heard of.

Improved Condition

Health Net head Jay Gellert leads his company as it recovers from a troubled period.



Immigration Issues Need Measured Approach

Many in the Valley may feel detached from last week's massive immigrant marches and the whole larger issue of the impact of illegal immigrants on our economy.

Giant Auto Retailer Picks Burbank Site for Area Expansion

CarMax Inc. has signed a 15-year ground lease for six acres of land in Burbank and will open its first San Fernando Valley store on the site sometime this fall, Shelly Garcia reports.

Organizations Push Infrastructure In Sacramento, Washington

Several chambers of commerce and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association lobby Sacramento and Washington, D.C. legislators on issues.

Parking Meters Should Be Seen As Serious Source of Revenue

As the City of Los Angeles grapples with a $271 million deficit for the next fiscal year, there is a means to raise part of the needed revenue from the 39,000 city parking meters in our city.

Immigrant May Have Transportation Answer

In recent weeks, the media have been flooded with stories related to the issue of immigration.

West Valley Occupational Center Celebrating 40th Anniversary

West Valley Occupational Center Celebrating 40th Anniversary

Workers' Comp Market Opens Up But Uncertainty Remains

A national insurance advocacy organization reported that California's workers' compensation system is more reliable after major reform efforts.

TechnoConcepts Investors File Suit Over Technology Transfer

Technology that allows communication between mobile devices is at the center of a lawsuit filed by investors against a Van Nuys firm.

Philanthropic Activities are Personal for Valley's Wealthy

Philanthropic activities are very personal for many of the Valley's affluent.

Disney Completes Pixar Purchase

The Walt Disney Co. has announced that it has completed the acquisition of Pixar Animation Studios, the computer animation company behind such hits as "Toy Story," "Finding Nemo," and "The Incredibles."

Burbank Firm Was Early Entrant in Sept. 11 Films

A Burbank company was an early entrant into the Sept. 11 film genre.

Westfield Chief Will Speak at Valley Summit

Westfield Group Chairman Peter Lowy will headline the May 19 Valley Economic Summit.

Local Power and Wealth Don't Always Overlap

Often the most powerful people are not the wealthiest.

Friday, May 5

Monday in the Valley

Encino Chamber of Commerce, Board of Directors Meeting

Net Plummets at Beverly Hills Bank

Beverly Hills Bancorp Inc. today reported its net income declined to $2.5 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended March 31, versus $3.5 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, for the comparable period a year ago.

Padilla Receives 10 City Council Endorsements

City Councilman Alex Padilla received the endorsement of 10 of his colleagues on Friday in the race for a state Senate seat.

Pride Building New Lab

Camarillo-based Pride Business Development Holdings, Inc., a manufacturer of protective clothing, began construction of a ballistic testing laboratory used for body armor testing and certification.

Larger Loss for MannKind

Valencia-based MannKind Corp. posted a higher net loss after the company's research and development costs went up.

Thursday, May 4

Friday in the Valley

Studio City of Chamber of Commerce, First Friday Club Meeting

Diodes First Quarter Earnings Increase

Semiconductor manufacturer Diodes, Inc. announced Thursday the company posted an increase in income for the first quarter of the year ending March 31.

Superior Earnings Drastically Fall

Superior Industries, an aluminum wheel manufacturer in Van Nuys, reported first-quarter earnings of 2006 of $1.1 million, or $0.04 per share, on sales of $183.5 million.

Wednesday, May 3

United Online Net Increases

United Online, Inc. reported a net income increase of 10 percent in its financial performance for the quarter ending March 31.

Valley College Construction To Start

A majority of the $47.7 million in construction contracts awarded to the Los Angeles Community Colleges will go to the construction of the new Allied Health and Sciences Center at L.A Valley College in Van Nuys.

Time Warner Revenues Down

Time Warner Inc. saw a drop in revenues from its filmed entertainment divisions due to decreases in the home video and worldwide theatrical markets, the company said Wednesday in announcing its financial results for the quarter ending March 31.

Countrywide Finances Mall Purchase

Countrywide Commercial Real Estate Finance closed a $320 million dollar loan to fund the acquisition of six regional malls in the Southeast United States.

Thursday in the Valley

Los Angeles Jewish Home for the Aging, The Executives Monthly Breakfast, Building a Healthy City Luncheon Meeting

Tuesday, May 2

Wednesday in the Valley

Woodland Hills Chamber of Commerce, May Networking Breakfast Strikes Deal with Variety

Website and entertainment trade publication Variety announced Tuesday a cross-distribution agreement to provide content both online and in print.

Investors File Suit Against Vitesse

A New York-based law firm has filed a class action lawsuit against Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation on behalf of people who purchased common stock in the company between October 23, 2003 and April 26, 2006.

Superior Wins GM Award

Superior Industries International Inc., a manufacturer of aluminum wheels in Van Nuys was named a General Motors Supplier of the Year for 2005.

Net Declines at PS Business Parks

PS Business Parks Inc. said net income allocable to shareholders declined sharply in the first quarter ended March 31 due to a decrease in the gain on the sale of real estate.

Homestore Loses $2 Million in Quarter

Homestore, now doing business as Move, reported that it lost $2 million or $0.01 per share in the first quarter ended Mar. 31, compared with a loss of $395,000 or $0.00 per share in the same period a year ago.

Monday, May 1

Tuesday in the Valley

Valley Economic Development Center, All About Business Loans

North American Scientific Receives Delisting Notice

Chatsworth-based North American Scientific received a notice from the Nasdaq Stock Market dated April 28, 2006 saying that it will be subject to delisting unless it meets certain requirements.

Film Production on the Rise

Television and feature film production helped spur a first quarter increase over the same period last year, FilmLA reported on Monday.

Guitar Center Earnings Dip on Payout

Earnings at Guitar Center dipped slightly in the first quarter of 2006 due to retirement payments to its former CFO.

THQ Signs Development Deal

Agoura-based THQ Inc., a developer of interactive entertainment, announced a multi-title deal with Swedish game developer, SimBin Development Team AB to adapt a race car video game franchise, GTR, to the game system Xbox 360.