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REGION



Published: Thu, July 14, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



REGION

Center grand opening

LIBERTY -- Atlas Rehab & amp; Wellness Center, 1325 Church Hill-Hubbard Road, will celebrate its grand opening from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday.

The center will conduct personal tours and serve refreshments.

For more information, call (330) 759-5904.

NATION

Shareholders approveSprint-Nextel merger

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- With shareholders' blessing in hand, Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications Inc. are pressing forward to have their unified brand in stores in time for the holidays.

The two companies still must receive regulatory approval from the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, as well as the 18 states in which Sprint's local phone division operates.

Shareholders of both companies on Wednesday overwhelmingly supported Sprint's $35 billion acquisition of Nextel, taking the next step in creating the nation's No. 3 wireless company with more than 40 million wireless customers and $40 billion in annual revenue.

Abbott posts profit gain

CHICAGO -- Health care products maker Abbott Laboratories Inc. posted a 38-percent gain in second-quarter profit Wednesday, but its stock fell after the company forecast third-quarter earnings below Wall Street's expectations.

Strong sales of diagnostic products and rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira helped net income climb to $877.1 million, or 56 cents per share, from $634.3 million, or 40 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, Abbott's earnings from continuing operations were 58 cents per share, a penny higher than the average estimate from analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

North Chicago, Ill.-based Abbott also said it would lay off 700 workers at its Lake County, Ill., facilities in a bid to boost profit margins by realigning its manufacturing operations.

Staff and wire reports




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