The CEO of

IHOP Corp.

, Julia A. Stewart, said Thursday that she was "somewhat disappointed" with the company's first quarter performance, sending the stock plunging. While the Glendale-based owner and franchiser of International House of Pancakes restaurants announced today that its same-store sales increased 0.61 percent for the quarter ended March 31, Stewart said the company could have done better, hoping for results in the 2 percent to 4 percent growth range.

Still, the CEO said the sales outlook remains positive for 2005. IHOP will release its first-quarter results on April 28. The company's stock fell 8 percent to $44.54 on Thursday.

- A former employee of Chatsworth-based NMB Technologies Corp. was arrested Thursday by FBI agents on charges he copied company trade secrets and then e-mailed them to NMB's competitors. Adam Samuel Platts, an employee of NMB until February 2004, is accused of downloading the company's closely guarded pricing strategy for the upcoming fiscal year and then emailing it to NMB's competitors from a computer at Cal State Northridge, just days before he was to be laid off.

The complaint alleges Platt d to have written, "[h]ope[d] this competitive information helps," according to a press release by Debra W. Yang, U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. The complaint charges Platts with two offenses, possessing NMB's trade secrets without authorization and sending them to others. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years. Platts makes his initial court appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

- Intermix Media, Inc. stepped forward to try to correct what it called "certain inaccuracies and misstatements of facts" that occurred in recent media stories about the Internet Bureau of the New York Attorney General's office investigating its Web site toolbar and redirect application. The attorney general's office alleges, among other things, that the toolbar is deceptive because it downloads programs on users' computers without their consent and monitors their online activity.

Intermix said today that its toolbar and application do not collect information about a user's Web surfing habits or collect or transmit any personal information about them. "They simply do not 'spy' on consumer Internet activity," the L.A.-based company said in a press release.

Intermix said the allegations were obtained from third-party databases and are inaccurate and outdated. The company said the bureau's inquiry concerns issues of disclosure and how to remove the programs that are downloaded. Intermix said it is cooperating "in the hopes of reaching a resolution as quickly as possible."

- American Soil Technologies Inc. , a Pasadena-based agriculture technology firm, announced that FLD Corp., its largest creditor, and Benz Disposal have agreed to convert a total of $2 million of debt to common stock. The Benz Group, the company's largest shareholder, also converted 2 million preferred shares to common stock. The company said the conversions were made to limit debt and to benefit future financing.

& #8226; East West Bancorp , the San Marino-based holding company for East West Bank, reported first-quarter net income of $23.5 million (44 cents per diluted share), compared with $16.9 million (33 cents) for the like period a year earlier. The company reported total assets of $6.4 billion and made a negative loan loss provision of $4.4 million in the first quarter. Normally, banks add to their bad-loan reserves each quarter, but if the reserves are more than required they can be decreased, resulting in a negative loan loss provision. In the year-ago period, East West also had a negative loan loss provision of $3.8 million.

The company increased its estimate for diluted earnings per share for the full year 2005 from the previously stated range of $1.76 to $1.78 to a new range of $1.82 to $1.84.

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