Business In Brief - October 18, 2007

SCBT Financial reports third-quarter earnings

South Carolina Bank and Trust Financial reported its earnings for the third quarter this week.

The company reports third-quarter net income of $5.6 million, up 7.3 percent from last year and year-to-date net income of $16.4 million, up 9.1 percent. Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.61, up 7.5 percent. Year-to-date earnings per share are $1.78, up 9 percent.

Rock Hill-based South Carolina Bank and Trust of the Piedmont reported a 40.7 percent increase in net income to $837,000.

Provident reports earnings up over last year

Provident Community Bancshares reported its earnings for the third quarter this week.

Net income for the third quarter was $727,000, compared with $651,000 for the third quarter of 2006, an 11.7 percent increase. Earnings per share were $0.40 per share, compared with $0.35 per share in 2006. Net income for the nine months ended Sept. 30 was $2 million, or $1.07 per share, compared with $2 million, or $1.05 per share, for the same period in 2006.

Tonya Gillen named marketing coordinator

Provident Community Bank has appointed Tonya Gillen as marketing coordinator. Her responsibilities will include assisting the marketing director with all aspects of the bank's marketing plan.

Gillen previously served for 20 years as an account executive with The Herald.

ERA Wilder Realty adds two team members

ERA Wilder Realty has added Mike Brooks and Judy Hamilton- Brooks to its team of real estate sales professionals serving consumers in the Charlotte area.

Brooks is a Gaston County, N.C., native with a background in sales, marketing and promotions. He has been a HOA president for more than six years and chairman of the Community Watch in his Charlotte neighborhood.

Hamilton-Brooks is an associate with the Mike Brooks Team with experience in the real estate market. She holds a specialist degree in school psychology.

EBay reports loss but beats expectations

SAN FRANCISCO -- EBay reported Wednesday a third-quarter net loss of more than $936 million -- a rare plunge into the red for the e-commerce juggernaut caused by previously announced charges to its Skype telecommunications division.

But San Jose-based eBay still easily exceeded Wall Street's expectations for the quarter ended Sept. 30, thanks to record revenue of $1.89 billion, up 30 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Executives credited record revenue at the PayPal electronic payment division and brisk sales outside of the United States and at ticket broker

Early this month, eBay announced it would take a $900 million write-down in the value of Skype. That charge, for what accountants call impairment, essentially acknowledged that eBay executives drastically overvalued the $2.6 billion Skype acquisition, completed in October 2005.

EBay also said on Oct. 1 that it paid certain Skype shareholders $530 million to settle future obligations -- a one-time payment known as an "earn-out."

Including the Skype charges, eBay lost $936.6 million, or 69 cents per share in the third quarter. In the year-ago quarter, the online auction company earned $280.9 million, or 20 cents per share.

JPMorgan Chase ekes out 2 percent profit rise

NEW YORK -- Despite losses from souring home loans and tough-to-sell corporate debt, JPMorgan Chase managed to beat Wall Street's expectations and eke out a 2 percent profit rise in the third quarter.

The nation's third-largest bank sees a rocky road ahead for the lending business and gave few details about how it's going to weather the fourth quarter. But executives said they have the pieces in place to navigate it properly -- and investors appeared confident, too, sending the bank's shares up more than 2 percent.

The New York-headquartered bank reported a profit despite marking down $1.3 billion on leveraged loans; $339 million in debt obligations backed by collateral, including subprime mortgages; and $186 million in mortgages it has issued and that are in the pipeline. It also padded its provisions -- essentially, its emergency fund for loan losses -- by about $2 billion.

The bank's results, which brought its investment banking income down 70 percent from a year ago and retail financial services income down 14 percent, were nothing spectacular compared to the double-digit percentage gains the bank's profit has logged in previous quarters.

GMAC Financial to cut 3,000 ResCap jobs

MINNEAPOLIS -- GMAC Financial Services said on Wednesday it would cut about 3,000 jobs, or 25 percent of the work force at its Residential Capital LLC mortgage operation.

It blamed the cuts on "sharp downturns in the U.S. residential real estate markets and the global dislocation of the mortgage finance and credit markets."

ResCap employs about 12,000 people after cutting 2,000 jobs earlier this year.

The company said the largest job cuts would happen in business units most affected by the drop-off in mortgage originations.

Spokeswoman Gina Proia said approximately 460 jobs would be eliminated in Minneapolis, where ResCap is based and employs 1,550 people. That would be the largest job loss in any one city.