Business News - Local News

Pulse of the Heartland
House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and St. Louis scored a major coup June 19 when leaders from some of the country’s largest technology companies gathered here for Focus on the Future: Tech Summit 2000.

Commentary
Following are excerpts from a speech given at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Annual Rail Transit Conference June 12 in St. Louis.

Meet your match
How’s this for a new phrase: You can’t tell a book by its cover… in anything.

Allegiant Bank board scores
Mighty MOX Rob and Sally Tippett Rains are collecting memories of KMOX-AM staffers — past and present — for a book they are writing in connection with the radio station’s 75th anniversary. The book, to be published by Diamond Communications in South Bend, Ind., is expected out in November.

St. Anthony’s, Unity settle lawsuit
St. Anthony’s Medical Center and Unity Health jointly announced they reached an out-of-court settlement in a legal dispute over their planned separation. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. Both the hospital and the health care system announced they had withdrawn legal filings. In the original filing, Unity officials said it had offered St. Anthony’s a payment of $44 million as part of the breakup, but St. Anthony’s was not satisfied with that offer. St. Anthony’s and Unity are scheduled to separate June 30.

Sinclair to sell six radio stations to Emmis
Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. said it will sell the assets of six St. Louis radio stations to Emmis Communications Corp. for $220 million as part of a settlement to litigation concerning the properties. Sinclair said it will keep ownership of its St. Louis television station, KDNL-TV. The company said the sale of the radio stations is subject to approval by the Federal Communications Commission and Department of Justice. Sinclair said after-tax cash proceeds of the deal will be about $175 million, which will be used to repay debt.

Solutia to sell polymer operations
Officials for Solutia Inc. said it will sell its polymer modifier business to Ferro Corp. Terms were not disclosed. Under the agreement, Cleveland-based Ferro would buy the Santicizer brand of plasticizers, Solutia’s Delaware River plant in Bridgeport, N.J., and other assets. About 200 Solutia employees will become Ferro employees. Officials for Solutia, a St. Louis-based chemical firm, said the deal should close later this summer, pending government review.

RightChoice second quarter income to top estimates
RightChoice Managed Care Inc. said it expects second-quarter net income to be between $7.5 million and $8.4 million, about double the year-ago level and well above analysts’ estimates. Chairman and Chief Executive John O’Rourke said enrollment and revenue numbers are strong, medical costs are in line with expectations and administrative overhead is lower than budget estimates. The health care benefits company reported net income of $3.9 million in the second quarter of 1999. The company expects to post second-quarter 2000 earnings July 27.

Express Scripts, PocketScript make tech deal
Express Scripts Inc. has partnered with Cincinnati-based PocketScript Inc. to bring PocketScript’s wireless, hand-held e-prescribing system to more than 15,000 physicians in the Express Scripts’ pharmacy benefits network. PocketScript’s device includes information about potential drug interaction and features Internet access and streaming video/audio capabilities. The financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

President Casinos announces first-quarter results
Financially troubled President Casinos Inc. announced a loss in the first quarter ended May 31. The St. Louis-based casino company had a net loss of $3.2 million, or 64 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $1 million, or 19 cents per share, a year ago. The company reported pre-tax revenue of $5.9 million in the first quarter, down from $7.8 million last year.

TALX receives $2.4M in contracts
TALX Corp. announced it gained $2.4 million in recent orders. The company, which provides payroll and human resources software, would not disclose the names of its six new clients. However, TALX officials said the clients operate in the health care, banking, pharmaceutical and service industries. Company officials said it will take several months to fulfill the orders.

Pulitzer Inc. buys Suburban Journals
Pulitzer Inc., owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is buying the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis from the Journal Register Co.

Regulators give OK to PrivateBank plans
PrivateBancorp Inc. received final approval from the Office of Thrift Supervision to open a federal savings bank in St. Louis. The PrivateBank will be a wholly owned subsidiary of PrivateBancorp, a Chicago-based bank holding company with $657 million in assets. Prominent St. Louis banker Richard Jensen is chairman and chief executive of PrivateBank. The bank will open for business in the Magna Place building in Brentwood. It is PrivateBancorp’s first facility outside of Illinois.

Mazzola to step down at Unigraphics
John Mazzola, president and chief executive of St. Louis-based software and consulting company Unigraphics Solutions Inc., will retire March 31, 2001. Mazzola will continue to be employed by Unigraphics Solutions in an advisory capacity after that date. A search committee has been formed to find a replacement. Unigraphics’ board also said it will promote Anthony Affuso to the position of chief operating officer, effective immediately. He was the executive vice president in charge of research and development.

TWA gets more time to consider Global buyout
Officials for Global Airlines Corp. said it extended the deadline for its offer to buy Trans World Airlines Inc. until July 6. The offer originally expired June 25. Global had offered June 19 to buy St. Louis-based TWA for $380 million, or $5 per share. TWA has declined comment on the bid by New York-based Global, a holding company with no airline operations.

Primary Network sold to Mpower
Mpower Communications completed its acquisition of Primary Network Holdings, a St. Louis-based telecommunications company. Rochester, New York-based Mpower issued 1.4 million shares of stock, valued at $71.4 million, to Primary Network shareholders, and assumed approximately $72 million of net debt. Rich Phillips, former chief operating officer of Primary Network, was named to lead the combined company’s national network expansion.

State cracks down on National Bullion & Coin
Missouri Secretary of State Rebecca Cook and Securities Commissioner Douglas Wilburn issued a cease and desist order against National Bullion & Coin Services Inc. and five Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based employees. The order alleges that the firm and its agents offered to sell gold and silver under commodity contracts to at least two Missouri residents, telling them to expect large profits in a short period of time. The order said the agents failed to inform buyers that they were not registered to sell commodities with either the National Futures Association or the state.

Firstar wins Missouri banking contract
Missouri Treasurer Bob Holden awarded the state’s contract for electronic banking and securities clearing to Firstar Corp. The contract to handle an estimated 1.2 million electronic transactions annually will begin Oct. 1 and run for four years. The contract is worth about $300,000 in annual service fees. Bid also were received from Central Bank and Bank of America.

Cejka signs deal with VHA
VHA Inc. signed an agreement with Cejka & Co. to provide physician recruitment services. Under the agreement, Cejka will offer physician search, compensation planning and other services to members of VHA, a nationwide network of 1,900 community-owned health care organizations and their affiliated physicians. The three-year contract is expected to produce about $2.5 million in revenue annually for Cejka, a health care consulting and search firm in St. Louis.

Engineered Support ships chemical shelters
Engineered Support Systems Inc. said it had delivered the first six production units of its Chemical Biological Protected Shelter (CBPS) system under a contract with the U.S. Army. CBPS is a self-contained, environmentally controlled and contamination-free work area that can serve as a mobile medical aid station, field command post or emergency facility. Engineered Support has a $43.8 million contract to produce 113 CBPS units through November 2001.

Schnucks prepares for strike
Schnuck Markets Inc. said it would begin advertising for checkers and clerks to work as temporary employees in 60 St. Louis area stores in case of a strike by employees belonging to United Food and Commercial Workers Local 655. Schnucks’ decision to advertise came after receiving a notice from the union that its contract extension will expire at 10 a.m. June 30. Members previously authorized the union to strike. Schnucks said it remained hopeful employees would ratify the contract.

Court okays Everest & Jennings plant shutdown
A bankruptcy court judge has approved a plan by Graham Field Health Products Inc. to close the Everest & Jennings wheelchair production plant in Earth City, Mo. by June 30. Manufacturing and distribution operations are being shifted to the Graham Field plant in Hazelwood, and customer support operations are moving to Atlanta, Ga. Bay Shore, N.Y.-based Graham Field has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization since 1999.

Viasystems options to trade on AMEX
The American Stock Exchange will launch trading in options for Viasystems Group Inc. on July 3. Stock for St. Louis-based Viasystems, an electronics manufacturing services provider, trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

Pulitzer issues earnings warning
Pulitzer Inc. officials said the company may fall short of current Wall Street earnings expectations for the second quarter. Officials cited recent transactions as an underlying reason for the shortfall. Pulitzer has agreed to buy the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis for $165 million. Ronald Ridgway, senior vice president for finance, said the second-quarter earnings expectation of 52 cents a share may be slightly high. In the year-ago second quarter, the company earned 48 cents a share.

Laser Vision buys Louisiana company
Laser Vision Centers Inc. said it acquired closely held Southeast Medical Inc. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Southeast Medical, based in Mandeville, La., is a mobile cataract-services company that operates in Louisiana and Mississippi. The purchase will give St. Louis-based Laser Vision 18 additional locations for mobile cataract services. Laser Vision, which provides excimer lasers for vision correction, expects the acquisition to add to its earnings for the first quarter ending July 31.

Tripos signs research collaboration
Tripos Inc. signed a one-year, multimillion-dollar discovery research agreement with Lipha S.A. in Lyon, France. Lipha, a pharmaceutical subsidiary of Merck KGaA in Darmstadt, Germany, agreed to use Tripos’ technologies for the discovery of drug candidates for the treatment of metabolic and other diseases. Tripos, a St. Louis-based software and services firm, will receive a technology license fee and payments for its research and discovery services. Tripos officials said it is the company’s most significant contract to date for discovery research services.

Bunge closes Vicksburg operation
Bunge Corp., a St. Louis-based soybean processor, shut down its Vicksburg, Miss. operation. Company officials said a poor international market for soybeans forced the shutdown. The closing comes four months after Bunge announced layoffs for 72 of the firm’s 95-member Vicksburg work force.

First Banks America to buy Commercial Bank of San Francisco
First Banks America Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire Commercial Bank of San Francisco.

Mallinckrodt to be acquired by Tyco
Mallinckrodt Inc. has agreed to be acquired by Tyco International Ltd. in a stock deal valued at about $4.2 billion. Mallinckrodt stockholders stand to receive stock valued at $47.50 a share, representing a 50 percent premium over the stocks closing price June 28 of $31.625.

Schnuck Markets associates ratify contract
Schnuck Markets associates who are members of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 approved a three-year contract with the grocer.

C. Rallo gets BIG contract
C. Rallo Contracting Co. Inc. has won a $500 million contract to build 50 data centers nationwide for St. Louis-based Broadband Investment Group Corp.

Union Financial hires Stifel to look for capital, buyer
Union Financial Group Ltd. has hired Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. to help find capital, a move that could lead to a sale of the Swansea, Ill.-based firm.

Did Pulitzer pay too much for papers?
The comfort of owning the most-widely circulated newspapers in St. Louis is priceless.

A conviction to work
April Nash was a little skeptical when Arlanda Cook showed up this spring looking for a job. After all, Cook had spent more than two years in a Missouri prison for stealing.

Capco tax credits face possible Carnahan veto
A Missouri tax credit program that helped provide funding for start-up businesses such as PaylinX and Birch Telecom is in danger of being vetoed by the governor to balance the state budget.

Gaming Commission plans inquiry into Lazaroff bonus
The Missouri Gaming Commission has scheduled an Aug. 30 fact-finding inquiry, in part to probe the $500,000 in bonus payments Station Casinos Inc. made to Michael Lazaroff.

Firm gets $10 million for online trading with China
A group of local entrepreneurs has started an online marketplace for trade with China, with backing from China’s State Administration of Light Industry and financing from a Swiss bank.

Express Scripts unfazed by PlanetRx.com write-off
Express Scripts Inc. is expected to remain financially healthy, despite losing a $14.6 million annual cash payment from online drugstore PlanetRx.com Inc.

Buffen fills niche in underserved health, beauty markets
Business activity: While local competitors focused on a narrow market, often dominated by one customer, N.A. Buffen assembled a variety of customers by going into areas shunned by others.

Displaced businesses look for new sites in Brentwood
With all the talk about development along Brentwood Boulevard and Eager Road, almost lost in the shuffle is what will happen to the merchants being uprooted to make room for the new projects.

Reality of selling? The way you do the things you do
Jeffrey, what’s the easiest way to make a sale? Jeffrey, what’s the best way to make a sale? Jeffrey, what’s the fastest way to make a sale?

Use a firewall to prevent network from being burned
Always connected to the Internet? While a dedicated high-speed connection is certainly convenient, without a firewall protecting you, it also leaves you vulnerable to hackers finding their way into your computer system.

Diverse dining provides draw for out-of-towners
St. Louis residents are well aware of the city’s reputation for good food. But most out-of-towners only know St. Louis for its Arch.

Variety of ethnic cuisines tempt venturesome diners
Authenticity and ethnicity — the two can be hard to come by when eating out.

Restaurants, patrons love outdoor dining experience
Patrons linger long, table turnover is slow, staff scheduling becomes trickier and waiters don’t like the extra walking from the kitchen.

Dining lists help introduce new employees to St. Louis
Bank of America workers new to St. Louis have Maggie Vogelweid to thank for their introduction to local dining.

Governor’s veto would send wrong message
If you could invest $40 million and reap a tenfold return of more than $408 million in less than four years, how long would it take you to agree to the same investment a second time around?

Feedback
“A couple of books come to mind: one is `Invest in Yourself.’ Another is `Die Broke.’ This one talks about inheritance, and the fact that kids think their parents owe them something. The guy says forget about that, you don’t owe them anything. That may be the source of my philosophy on that topic.”

What would Ozzie do
LELAND, Mich. As the years have passed, life has, unquestionably been more complicated.

More troublesome words
In previous articles I quoted words which, when used, they disturbed most people, and sometimes do so for a long time. They are words of common use and almost all of us have used them one way or the other. It usually all depends upon the circumstances.

Bommarito changes mind about Downtown St. Louis; prepare for a Shaq Attack
Vincent Bommarito, owner of Tony’s Restaurant, has changed his mind about resigning from Downtown St. Louis Inc. Bommarito said he was persuaded to stay on after a meeting June 26 with board chairman Dorothy White-Coleman and board members Jack Pohrer and Tom Purcell. Bommarito is a 32-year member of the organization and a senior board member.

St. Louis Rally’s restaurants sold
Checkers Drive-In Restaurants said it has sold 51 Rally’s restaurants in St. Louis, Little Rock, Ark. and Virginia Beach, Va. to Altes LLC of Boca Raton, Fla. for $16.4 million. Altes will operate the newly acquired Rally’s restaurants as a franchisee and will pay ongoing royalties based on sales at the restaurants. Clearwater, Fla.-based Checkers will use the net proceeds to reduce debt.

Purina Mills emerges from Chapter 11
Purina Mills Inc. said the company has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization protection. All of the old common stock of Purina Mills, which was held by Koch Agriculture Co., was canceled, and substantially all of the new common stock of the firm will be distributed to unsecured creditors of the company before it filed for bankruptcy protection in October. The first distribution of common stock is expected to occur in August. The stock will trade on Nasdaq.

Regulators to monitor Equality Bancorp
Equality Bancorp said it has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Missouri Division of Finance. Equality has agreed to make a dozen changes called for in the memorandum, including preparing a revised 2001 budget and taking action to improve the bank’s earnings. Equality reported $1.2 million in net earnings for the year ended March 31, 2000, a 2 percent increase from the previous year.

Sigma-Aldrich plans $7 million plant expansion
Sigma-Aldrich Corp. said it would spend $7 million to expand its cell culture production facility in Scotland. The expansion is designed to satisfy the demand for biopharmaceutical-grade products. Sigma, a St. Louis-based chemical firm, said the plant expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2001.

Moody’s considers Mallinckrodt debt upgrade
Moody’s Investors Service placed Mallinckrodt Inc.’s long-term debt rating under review for possible upgrade following an announcement that Tyco International would acquire Mallinckrodt for $4.2 billion. Moody’s said there could be meaningful cost-savings as Tyco incorporates Mallinckrodt’s respiratory care, diagnostic imagining and analgesic pharmaceuticals operations into its own operations.

First Banks realigns operations
First Banks Inc., a privately held St. Louis-based bank, and First Banks America Inc., its publicly owned sister company, signed an agreement to realign banking interests in California and Texas. Under the agreement, the publicly owned bank will acquire First Bank & Trust in Newport Beach, Calif., from the private bank for 6.5 million shares of stock. After the transaction, the private bank will own 93 percent of the public bank, up from the 84.3 percent of stock it currently owns.

Air Tran ends bid for TWA
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Air Tran Holdings Inc. ended preliminary talks on the possible acquisition of Trans World Airlines Inc. The president of Air Tran declined comment and TWA could not be reached for comment. Air Tran is a low-fare carrier based in Orlando, Fla. TWA is the subject of a second acquisition effort by Global Airlines Inc., a New York-based holding company with no airline operations. Global has extended its $5 per share offer for TWA until July 6.

LaBarge, Clayco sell wireless joint venture
LaBarge Inc. sold its 90 percent interest in its LaBarge Clayco Wireless LLC joint venture to Evolution Holdings Inc. of Phoenix, Ariz. Evolution Holdings also purchased the remaining 10 percent owned by Clayco Construction Co. LaBarge, a St. Louis-based electronics firm, said its net proceeds from the sale would be about $4.7 million, including $4.5 million in cash and a $225,000 convertible note. Evolution Holdings intends to operate LaBarge Clayco Wireless under the name LCW LLC and to continue the business at its St. Louis location with current employees.

Arch Air Medical expands to southeast Missouri
Arch Air Medical Services Inc. will assume the operation of LifeBeat, the air medical service of Southeast Missouri Hospital in Cape Girardeau, Mo. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Arch officials said LifeBeat would remain based at Southeast Missouri Hospital until a community location is found. LifeBeat employees will be offered jobs either at the hospital or through Arch. St. Louis-based Arch, which was acquired in March by California-based Mercy Air, provides air ambulance service throughout the metropolitan area.

United ends Medicare HMO in Metro East
UnitedHealthcare said it would not renew its Medicare+Choice contracts in 21 counties across the United States, including two counties in Metro East St. Louis, effective Dec. 31. The company blamed changes stemming from the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. United said people losing the coverage will need to switch to traditional Medicare fee-for-service coverage or enroll in another health plan that offers an HMO-type Medicare program. United is ending coverage in Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois. Coverage will continue on the Missouri side of the St. Louis area.

Kroenke clears hurdle in Denver deal
Stan Kroenke and city officials in Denver reached agreement on a plan that is expected the pave the way for Kroenke’s $404 million purchase of the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Avalanche and the Pepsi Center. The agreement calls for Kroenke, a St. Louis developer and minority owner of the St. Louis Rams, to place the assets in a trust, so that the teams will not leave Denver if Kroenke dies.

Unity, St. Anthony’s break ties
Unity Health and St. Anthony’s Medical Center completed their separation. St. Anthony’s and its subsidiary, St. Alexius Hospital (formerly Alexian Brothers Hospital), will now operate separately from Unity Health. Details of the separation agreement were not released.

May to acquire David’s Bridal
The May Department Stores Co. is acquiring David’s Bridal Inc. for $436 million. May officials said the company would pay $20 per share in a tender offer to existing David’s Bridal shareholders, who have about 30 days to tender their stock. David’s Bridal, based in suburban Philadelphia, is the largest retailer of bridal gowns and other bridal party-related merchandise in the United States, with sales of $175 million last year. David’s Bridal will operate as a division of St. Louis-based May, and Bob Huth will continue as president and chief executive of the division.

Insight Technology bought for $25M
Icon Medialab International in Brussels, an Internet consulting company, acquired the Insight Technology Group in St. Louis, an Internet systems analysis and consulting agency. Insight has 80 employees and net sales of more than $13 million from clients like AT&T and Boeing. Icon is buying Insight by issuing more than 2 million shares of Icon stock valued at about $25 million; an additional 300,000 shares could be issued in the next 12 months, depending on the performance of Insight.

Gore criticizes drug manufacturers
Vice President Al Gore toughened his criticism of drug manufacturers by blaming “price gouging” for the soaring cost of prescriptions. In a speech in St. Louis, Gore promoted his plan to offer prescription drug coverage to Medicare recipients. Under the plan, Medicare would pay for half of prescription drug costs up to $5,000 a year. The proposal would cost $255 billion over 10 years. Gore, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, was accompanied on the campaign swing by Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-St. Louis, who said that prescription drugs would be a key issue in Democratic efforts to regain control of Congress.

Laclede Gas asks for rate hike
Laclede Gas Co. asked regulators to raise the rate it charges its residential customers for the rest of the summer by $4.97 a month to offset higher natural gas costs. Laclede is asking that the increase take effect July 15. Laclede said its wholesale cost of gas, plus storage expenses and the costs to deliver gas supplies to the St. Louis area, make up about two-thirds of a customer’s total monthly gas bill. The company’s cost for gas is exceeding its receipts for gas service by about $100,000 a day, it said.

TWA reports increased June traffic
Trans World Airlines Inc. said June traffic rose 6.9 percent to 2.63 billion revenue passenger miles, compared with 2.46 billion revenue passenger miles in June 1999. A revenue passenger mile is one paying passenger flown one mile. The airline’s capacity, measured in available seat miles, increased to 3.26 billion available seat miles, compared to 3.06 billion in June 1999. The percentage of seats filled was 80.5 percent for June 2000, compared to 80.2 percent a year earlier.

United ends Medicare HMO in Metro East
UnitedHealthcare said it would not renew its Medicare+Choice contracts in 21 counties across the United States, including two counties in Metro East St. Louis, effective Dec. 31. The company blamed changes stemming from the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. United said people losing the coverage will need to switch to traditional Medicare fee-for-service coverage or enroll in another health plan that offers an HMO-type Medicare program. United is ending coverage in Monroe and St. Clair counties in Illinois. Coverage will continue in Madison County, Ill. and on the Missouri side of the St. Louis area. The Business Journal reported this information incorrectly June 30.

TWA responds to Global
Global Airlines Inc. said Trans World Airlines Inc. has asked Global to contact TWA’s investment banker about Global’s buyout offer. According to Global, TWA Chief Executive Bill Compton faxed a response to Global’s $5 a share offer June 30. In the response, Compton also asked for a better understanding of Global’s operating plan and details of its cash dividend and convertible preferred bond financing. Global said it plans to contact TWA’s investment banker and try to set up meetings with Compton, TWA’s pilots and its board of directors.

Data Research, epixtech to work together
Data Research Associates Inc. and epixtech inc. signed a letter of understanding, designed to allow their library automation products to work together. St. Louis-based Data Research and epixtech, based in Provo, Utah, said it is the first such agreement between competing library automation companies.

International Fuel gets financing
International Fuel Technology said it expects to receive $1.5 million in financing from GEM Global Yield Fund Limited and Turbo International Limited, in exchange for debentures convertible into International Fuel’s common stock. International Fuel said the new money will be used primarily for testing required by the state of California and for commercial fleet testing. St. Louis-based International Fuel is seeking to commercialize a process for treating diesel, gasoline and other petroleum-based fuels to produce less pollution and better mileage.

Two federal agencies strike deal with Talx
Talx Corp. said the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and the Department of Interior’s National Business Center joined the IRS and other federal agencies in using a Talx product, The Work Number, for employment and salary verifications. Terms were not disclosed. St. Louis-based Talx, which provides Internet and telephone-based voice response systems, said The Work Number serves 2.3 million federal government employees.

TWA to add LA to DC route
Trans World Airlines Inc. said it would add daily nonstop flights between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, effective Sept. 10. The new service was made possible after the U.S. Department of Transportation awarded two slots at the Washington, D.C., airport to TWA.

May Department Stores posts sales increase
The May Department Stores Co. reported net retail sales of $1.24 billion over the five-week period ended July 1. That was a 1.7 percent increase from the similar period last year. Store-for-store sales decreased 1.4 percent. Sales for the first five months of fiscal 2000 were $5.33 billion, up 3.3 percent compared to the first five months of fiscal 1999.

Brown Shoe sees gains at Famous Footwear, Naturalizer
Brown Shoe Co. Inc. said June retail sales at its Famous Footwear chain rose 5 percent to $95 million for the five weeks ended July 1. Same-store sales for June decreased 3.2 percent. Retail sales at Brown Shoe’s Naturalizer division rose 9 percent to $14.5 million for the month, with same-store sales up by 0.3 percent. For the first 22 weeks of fiscal 2000, Famous Footwear sales were up 5.9 percent to $413 million and Naturalizer sales rose 9.7 percent to $63.4 million.

Holman wins with Mallinckrodt sale
C. Ray Holman, chief executive of Mallinckrodt Inc., is expected to receive about $21.5 million in Tyco stock — and an estimated $14.4 million severance package — as part of the sale of the company to Tyco International Ltd.

Merger fallout: Jacobsen leads Civic Progress
Tom Jacobsen, chairman of Firstar Corp., has become the first head of a company based outside of St. Louis to take the reins at Civic Progress.

The cost of NOT building a stadium
Much of the debate over a new St. Louis Cardinals stadium has focused on what it would cost taxpayers to build. But a more important question might be what it will cost taxpayers if a new ballpark is not built, team officials say.

Sports Authority to study stadium plan
The Greater St. Louis Sports Authority is preparing to hire a consultant to study the St. Louis Cardinals’ proposal for a new stadium.

Atisma will rent software to schools via the Internet
Jerry Bryan has gone from bricks to clicks with an Internet start-up that hopes to rent software over the Internet to schools.

Sheraton hotel planned for Des Peres quarry site
For nearly four years, Mike and Tom Roberts have waited patiently for the right set of plans to develop their 26-acre parcel near Manchester Road and Interstate 270.

CEO Smith sets menu for Aurora Foods’ rebound
Since becoming the new president and chief executive of troubled Aurora Foods Inc. in April, James Smith has set the table for the company’s turnaround.

Delmar Gardens plans $12 million nursing home
Delmar Gardens of St. Charles County Inc. has bought the former Ellisville Health Care Center and plans to transfer the license for the nursing home’s 120 beds to a $12 million nursing home to be built in St. Charles County.

Titan Tube manufactures success with mix of products
Business activity: Titan Tube Fabricators was listed as one of the fastest-growing companies in the metropolitan area in the St. Louis Business Journal for 1999 and made Inc. magazine’s Inner City 100 list.

Heyl acquires Antimite, Environmental Solutions
Heyl Ltd., a network of companies that provides property inspection, remediation and consultation services, has acquired two subsidiaries: Antimite Termite and Pest Management and Environmental Solutions.

Profitable relationships based on value, not price
In the age-old battle of price vs. cost, who loses? You do, if you’re selling price.

Trade shows help business exposure
Exhibiting at a trade show is a valuable way to expose your business to many new customers simultaneously. Whether you’re tackling a major trade show or a smaller industry-specific show, it can be quite an expensive endeavor. But I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to keep your budget in line.

Advertising agencies need to focus their efforts
Two fraternity brothers of mine, whom I haven’t seen in decades, run a venture capital firm named Vcapital.com. Vcapital is a network of 190 firms that represent a third of all the venture capital dollars in the country.

Transition to work after retirement has rewards
Retirement used to be the end of the career road. Not anymore.

Hospitals use technology to track, correct problems
Hospitals that are looking to reduce medical errors might check the airplanes.

Area health providers: Buying practices was good idea
One of the most controversial issues in health care today is hospital ownership of physician practices.

Kirby blends financial, pharmacy backgrounds
Investors in Pharmacia Corp., American Home Products and other major drug companies often look for guidance from Robert Kirby, a financial analyst who follows the pharmaceutical industry for Edward Jones.

CID names Stach leader, adds to off-site operations
The Central Institute for the Deaf has hired a new leader to bring its clinical services to more locations throughout the St. Louis area.

Geriatric care managers help elderly find services
Valerie Van Booven recently was referred to an elderly woman, who had been hospitalized several times with pneumonia and had no one to care for her.

Olson’s photos capture babies’ births, first hours
In those chaotic, yet precious, moments when a woman is giving birth, the last thing on her husband’s mind may be taking pictures.

IMed aims to trim costs, boost patient satisfaction
IMedNetworks, an Indianapolis start-up company, is testing its medical software in St. Louis by allowing doctors to use it free.

Women’s study looks at exercise, blood pressure
Twelve percent of women in America have mild hypertension. One in four adults has high blood pressure, and a third of them don’t know.

Times are a-changin’
The changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace is purely ceremonial with one stern-faced, red-uniformed man replacing another. No emotion is shown.

Commentary
I am tired of flimsy talk of change for the sake of change by politicians in both parties. I am tired of empty promises. Every four years we see a revolving door showcasing the new candidates and repackaged ideas that keep coming back in the form of new and improved products. Some will even contend that politics has become a haven for the destitute and the unqualified. No, I don’t think so.

A long road
LELAND, Mich. — It was the stuff of one of those late night, 1940s movies… where things happen to people and you ask yourself if such things were really possible.

Express Medical on the fast track; Symington plans military museum
Spreading out New HMO contracts mean nationwide expansion for Arnold-based Express Medical Transporters. Bernie Squitieri, founder, president and chief executive of Express Medical, said an office to provide medical transportation to the elderly and disabled opened July 5 in Hampton, Va. It’s headed by Basharat Ali, who has become a part-owner. Additional offices will open in Scottsdale, Ariz., and in Washington, D.C., by early next year. Squitieri expects $1 million in revenue from each office for his fast-growing, five-year-old firm, which posted $2.6 million in revenue last year.

Charter to buy cable from Belden
Charter Communications Inc. agreed to purchase more than 5 million feet of coaxial cable from Belden Inc.’s electronics division. Belden, a St. Louis-based wire and cable producer, will design the cable specifically for Charter. The purchase price was not disclosed. The cable will be used in more than 500 buildings St. Louis-based Charter will construct, as part of its $3.5 billion network upgrade.

OSI appoints Meyer as group president
Outsourcing Solutions Inc. said Mike Meyer has been appointed Financial Services Group President. Meyer has served as chief information officer at OSI since 1997; prior to that, he worked at Ernst & Young and IBM. St. Louis-based OSI provides receivables management services for businesses.

Dierbergs, union reach tentative contract agreement
After five hours of negotiations, a tentative agreement was reached between United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655 and Dierbergs Markets. Union workers will vote on the contract proposal July 12. Local 655 represents 2,700 Dierbergs workers. Their contract expired June 11. Negotiations were on hold pending the outcome of union talks with Schnuck Markets. Schnuck’s workers approved a contract in late June.

Siboney buys Teacher Support
Siboney Corp. said it completed the purchase of the publishing assets of Teacher Support Software. Terms were not disclosed. Teacher Support Software’s software for schools will be folded into Siboney Learning Group’s portfolio of products and will be sold through the company’s network of dealers and sales representatives. St. Louis-based Siboney said it will retain the Teacher Support Software name and employ selected personnel.

Kroenke buys Colorado teams
St. Louis real estate developer Stanley Kroenke completed his $450 million purchase of the Colorado Avalanche, the Denver Nuggets and the Pepsi Center, only 10 weeks after the deal was announced. Kroenke, a minority owner of the St. Louis Rams and a Wal-Mart heir, won approval for the deal after he agreed the teams would stay in Denver for at least 25 years, even if he died. Liberty Media retains 6.52 percent interest in the teams.

Charter, AT&T end talks
Charter Communications Inc. and AT&T said they ended talks to swap some cable television systems. The talks focused on Charter’s cable systems serving some 632,000 customers in Texas, Connecticut, Massachusetts and California, and AT&T’s systems serving 704,000 customers in Illinois, St. Louis, Alabama and Georgia. St. Louis-based Charter, a cable systems operator, and AT&T said they were unable to agree on the mix of assets and the value of those assets.

Pharmacia sues Central Garden
Central Garden & Pet Co. said Pharmacia Corp. had sued the company, which manufactures and sells lawn, garden and pet supply products. California-based Central said in a statement Pharmacia sued in a Missouri state court seeking unspecified amounts due under its four-year alliance with Central, which expired in September 1999. The pharmaceutical company, created when St. Louis-based Monsanto Co. merged with Pharmacia & Upjohn earlier this year, also is seeking damages for breach of contract. Central said it also faces suit from Scotts Co.

Boeing plans to double in size
Executives at Boeing Co. want to move into new business areas as the company works to double its size every five years. Modest acquisitions would form part of that strategy for Boeing, one of the largest employers in St. Louis since purchasing McDonnell Douglas Corp. Chief Financial Officer Michael Sears said Boeing’s goal is to match the annual revenue gains of the fastest-growing major U.S. companies, which he pegged at 15 percent.

CitiMortgage sells Central Pacific
CitiMortgage said it has sold Central Pacific Mortgage to John Courson. Courson is a private investor and the president of Central Pacific. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. CitiMortgage, the St. Louis-based mortgage business of Citigroup, acquired Central Pacific Mortgage as part of the purchase of Source One Mortgage Corp. in May 1999.

Riney’s CRI to buy Computer Research
A new company formed by Rodger Riney, the founder and president of St. Louis-based Scottrade Inc., plans to buy Computer Research Inc. for about $9.8 million. Riney’s company, CRI Acquisition Inc., already has purchased 1.4 million shares, or 34.76 percent of the outstanding shares, from James Schultz, president and chief executive of Computer Research, and David Vagnoni, executive vice president. CRI has a tender offer for the outstanding shares for $2.42 per share. Computer Research is a Pittsburgh-based company that provides computerized accounting and record-keeping services to financial firms.

Area hospitals make U.S. News list
Several area hospitals were included as among the best in the United States, in the July 17 issue of U.S. News and World Report. Barnes-Jewish Hospital was ranked No. 8 overall, and was the only Missouri hospital on the magazine’s “Honor Roll.” Saint Louis University Hospital was cited among the top 50 medical centers in 12 separate program offerings. St. John’s Mercy Medical Center was named one of the top hospitals in the nation in orthopedics and St. Luke’s Hospital was on the list for respiratory and geriatric care.

PaylinX to be acquired by CyberSource
CyberSource Corp. signed a definitive agreement to acquire PaylinX Corp. The deal is valued at about $138.6 million. CyberSource agreed to issue approximately 8.4 million shares of its common stock to acquire all of the outstanding stock of PaylinX, and will assume PaylinX’s outstanding stock options and warrants. PaylinX is a privately held company with principal operations in St. Louis. CyberSource of Mountain View, Calif., said the purchase would extend its e-commerce transaction capabilities. John “Jack” McDonnell Jr., PaylinX chairman and chief executive, is expected to join the CyberSource board.

ESCO changes name
ESCO Electronics Corp. said it has changed its corporate name to ESCO Technologies Inc. The company said the new name reflects the strong technology foundation that supports its engineered products, and effectively characterizes the evolution of ESCO from a defense contractor to a major supplier of engineered products to growing industrial and commercial markets. ESCO’s trading symbol (ESE) will not change.

Fleishman, Cole form partnership
Fleishman-Hillard Inc. said it has formed a strategic partnership with David Cole, one of the automotive industry’s leading consultants. The partnership is designed to bring reputation management counsel and services to auto manufacturers and suppliers. Cole is director of the Office for the Study of Automotive Transportation at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Fleishman-Hillard, based in St. Louis, is that nation’s largest public relations firm, with 1999 fee income of $213 million.

Ameren plants rank high on EPA list
AmerenUE’s Labadie, Mo. plant earned the top spot among U.S. coal-fired power plants as the nation’s lowest emitter of nitrogen oxide (NOx). In addition, the power plants of St. Louis-based AmerenUE and Springfield, Ill.-based AmerenCIPS, hold 13 of the nation’s top 20 spots in a 1999 ranking by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of generating plants with the lowest NOx emissions. NOx emissions can contribute to ozone formation under certain summertime hot weather conditions, and reduction of those emissions can help to lower ozone levels and improve air quality.

LeuTech wins FDA committee approval
The Food and Drug Administration’s Medical Imaging Drugs Advisory Committee determined that LeuTech, a radiopharmaceutical used for imaging infections, is safe and effective for diagnosing appendicitis. LeuTech, developed by Princeton, N.J.-based Palatin Technologies, is marketed and distributed by Mallinckrodt, a medical products manufacturer and supplier headquartered in St. Louis. Mallinckrodt said it is preparing for the launch of LeuTech in the United States, once full FDA approval is received.

Sendouts.com, Brainbench form alliance
St. Louis-based Sendouts.com, which makes the Sendouts Pro online applicant tracking system, has partnered with Brainbench of Sterling, Va., which online offers online skills certification and assessments. Under the agreement, Sendouts will use Brainbench’s assessment tests, certifications and exam results on the Sendouts Pro software. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Earthgrains reports sales increase
Earthgrains said its first-quarter sales increased 33.4 percent, to $599.6 million, from the same period a year ago. The St. Louis-based baked goods maker said profits fell 12.8 percent, to $10.9 million, in the first quarter. The company said the drop in profits reflected acquisition-related costs. Earthgrains brands include Colonial, Rainbo and IronKids.

Laser Vision posts increased case volume
Laser Vision Centers Inc. said U.S. case volume for June increased 47 percent, compared to the same month a year ago. The St. Louis-based provider of excimer lasers for vision correction said June was its best month to date for U.S. case volume. The company also said it expects to hit a milestone within the next 30 days — performing 250,000 procedures worldwide.

IBM acquires Aragon Consulting Group
IBM purchased Aragon Consulting Group, a marketing research firm headquartered in St. Louis. IBM said the Aragon purchase will strengthen its e-business services division. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Aragon employs 20 full-time workers and 100 contract employees locally.

Thompson Coburn makes Lazaroff announcement
Five people associated with Thompson Coburn including two partners have identified themselves as the individuals who made political contributions involved in a guilty plea to federal charges by former partner Michael Lazaroff. The partners are Lawrence Friedman and Steven Graham. The U.S. Attorney’s office previously had said the individuals received imunity in exchange for their cooperation in the investigation. Lazaroff pleaded guilty to three felony charges June 13.

Mallinckrodt video wins film honor
Mallinckrodt Inc. received a Silver Screen award in the specialty promotions category at the 2000 U.S. International Film and Video Festival for its product dramatization “Extreme Measures”. The video features Mallinckrodt’s Nellcor oximetry device, a pulse monitoring system. Produced in 1999, “Extreme Measures” depicts three patient-care scenarios using the Nellcor oximetry device. The video was shown at several clinical conferences Mallinckrodt attended last year.

Dierbergs workers reject contract
Union officials and Dierbergs Markets will go back to the bargaining table after workers rejected a contract offer from Dierbergs following two days of negotiations. Members of United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655 voted 298 to 284 to reject the contract. The union’s contract with Dierbergs expired June 11. It covers some 2,700 Dierbergs employees working in 18 stores. Late last month, workers at Schnucks Markets approved a new three-year contract and averted a possible strike.

Esco buys Holaday Industries
Esco Technologies Inc. said it purchased Holaday Industries from Spirent plc for $4.3 million in cash. Holaday, based in Eden Prairie, Minn., supplies specialty measurement probes to several markets. The business has annual sales of about $5.5 million, and a double-digit operating margin, according to Esco. Holaday will report to Esco’s EMC Test Systems subsidiary, headquartered in Austin, Texas.

Affuso named head of Unigraphics
Unigraphics Solutions Inc. said Tony Affuso was named president and chief executive, replacing John Mazzola who previously announced his plans to retire. Mazzola will remain with Unigraphics Solutions in a senior executive capacity. Affuso joined Unigraphics Solutions in 1991, and most recently he has been chief operating officer and executive vice president of products and operations.

Solutia opens Brazil powder resin plant
Chemical company Solutia Inc. opened a production facility to manufacture Alftalat polyester powder resins, used to make powder coatings for metal products, in Suzano, Brazil. Solutia claims powder resins plant is the largest such facility in South America. It serves customers in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela and other South American countries. To keep pace with the demand for its powder resins products, Solutia said it plans to double its production capacity in Brazil by summer 2001.

Amdocs gains Cellcom contract
Amdocs has implemented a data mining-based application for enhancing customer loyalty at Cellcom, a mobile phone company with more than 1.5 million customers in Israel. St. Louis-based Amdocs, which develops software for the telecommunications industry, did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction.

Trans State pilots vote against proposed contract
Pilots at Trans States Airlines overwhelmingly rejected a tentative agreement. Eighty-five percent of the pilots who voted turned down the agreement, which included a pay increase, prescription drug agreement and a shorter contract term. By rejecting the proposed agreement, pilots have the right to strike at any time. A spokesman for the St. Louis-based airline said company officials hope to meet with the union and federal mediators in three to four weeks. The airline provides connecting service with flights of Trans World Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.

Talx strikes deal with Fannie Mae
Talx Corp. said that Fannie Mae has chosen Talx’s Work Number to automate salary and employment verifications for its workers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. St. Louis-based Talx said its Work Number database has nearly 40 million employee records on file from more than 600 organizations nationwide. Fannie Mae, the largest provider of funds for home mortgages, has used Talx’s automated benefits enrollment system for the past three years.

$68 million powers up Celox
Celox Networks Inc., a year-old company started in a local high-tech incubator, has landed a $68 million venture capital infusion.

Hotel price climbs to $260 million
The price tag on the proposed convention center hotel has jumped $17 million to a total of $260 million.

Daniels aims for $200 billion prize
Models of the United States’ air power swoop out from nearly every corner of Boeing’s St. Louis headquarters. The modern-day war machines — the Super Hornet and F-15E Eagle — hang in perpetual watches from ceiling wires. A missile-loaded F-22 Raptor rises from a pedestal near a conference room.

O’Rourke leads turnaround at RightChoice
When John O’Rourke took over RightChoice Managed Care Inc. in 1997, the company couldn’t even join the national marketing program of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

Wallis Oil buys Cooper, gets 21 stations, stores
Wallis Oil Co., the area’s largest Mobil gas station operator, and convenience stores, has 21 more locations after buying most of Cooper Oil Co.’s assets.

KFNS scores — doubles market share in two years
Since a group of investors took over KFNS in July 1998, the all-sports radio station has more than doubled its market share.

Riney puts up $10 million to buy Pittsburgh company
Rodger Riney, founder, president and chief executive of Scottrade Inc., will pay $9.8 million from his own funds to buy Computer Research Inc., a Pittsburgh-based company that does back-office processing for brokerage firms and banks.

Ribaudo hits the beach with surgery center expansion
Surgical Synergies Inc., a year-old company headed by Dr. Michael Ribaudo, is expanding into new markets in Florida.

E-business propels PureLogix performance
Business activity: There’s the feel of the future as you enter PureLogix’s office in the Missouri Research Park in Weldon Spring in St. Charles County. Not only is everything new in the 40,000-square-foot building opened May 1, but there’s still enough empty, undeveloped space to suggest this is a company expecting to continue its strong growth.

Federal contract in bag, Melbourne adds workers
Dan Fendelman’s Melbourne Manufacturing Co. has landed its first government contract — a three-year deal worth $455,000 the first year.

Boost worker morale with incentives program
Every once in a while, I like to take my employees out for a company-sponsored dinner. It works wonders — it’s much appreciated by my staff and really boosts morale.

Make a sale on Monday; it will make your week
I’m often asked if there is some secret for consistent sales performance.

Construction could face 9,000 worker shortfall by 2004
St. Louis faces a 9,000-worker shortage in construction by 2004, according to the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City.

Working hard a tradition for Otten family members
Dave Otten Jr. grew up playing with his father’s construction tools, but he never planned on pursuing a career in the industry.

Telecom hotels bloom in older properties downtown
It’s old. It’s new. It’s bricks and mortar. It’s fiber optic. They call it a telecommunication hotel — but few people stay there.

Hospitals must build but also be budget-conscious
Architects at The Christner Partnership push their health-care clients to plan projects carefully.

Bussen offers controlled environment “down under”
With a sort of reverse construction, Bussen Underground builds spaces to suit tenants.

Higginbotham to complete Plaza in Clayton interiors
Higginbotham Brothers Inc. was recently awarded a $20 million contract to complete the interior of The Plaza in Clayton’s residential tower.

Architecture increasingly is career choice of women
The ranks of women are swelling within the field of architecture.

Realtors focus on personal data to attract new clients
To make themselves stand out in a highly competitive business, some real estate agents are choosing a more personal approach.

Falstaff site to see rebirth as retail, lofts complex
What once was one of the nation’s premiere breweries, the historic Falstaff Brewery, is being readied for a rebirth of significant proportions.

High-tech, biotech buildings spur construction boom
Buildings that house companies in the high-tech and biotech industries are one of the fast-growing specialties for local construction firms.

Regional distributors are key to warehouse growth
St. Louis area warehouses need to bulk up.

Shafer plans homes where pilots can taxi to front door
If boat owners can build houses on the waterfront, and golfers can live next to the fairway, airplane pilots ought to have an equivalent choice.

Vatterott’s St. Vincent Park features `new urbanism’
Even higher than anticipated are the number of home sales at the new St. Vincent Park development, a 106-unit single-family residential community under construction by one of St. Louis’ oldest home builders, C.F. Vatterott & Co.

`Aging in place’ concept takes hold with retirees
The homes in Cape Albeon, a new community in southwest St. Louis County, are clean, new and spacious — much like the apartments up the hill or the rest of the county’s new construction.

Rec centers help satisfy need for family activities
Since opening last June, the $13.5 million Fenton recreation center has become the city’s crown jewel.

Eden aims to add students with $15 million upgrade
Eden Theological Seminary is in the first stages of a $15 million renovation project aimed at meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse student population.

Concrete homes gain fans with strength, durability
Concrete isn’t just for basements and driveways any more.

`Green’ design translates to big savings for owners
Sustainable design appears to be an idea whose time has arrived — or at least is on the verge of arriving, several St. Louis area architects say.

Batter Up!
It was Santayana who taught that those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

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The one-cent adventure
LELAND, Mich. — With all of the fun and interesting books flying off the shelves, and the Amazon site, this summer looks like folks will be on the beach with a book.

A.G. Edwards lacks urge to merge; A-B targets Latino market
Merger mania Wall Street is buzzing with speculation that A.G. Edwards could be the next brokerage takeover target, following the $10.8 billion purchase of PaineWebber Inc. by Swiss bank UBS. Analysts are citing German banks, such as Commerzbank, Dresdner and Deutsche, and U.S. firms including, J.P. Morgan and Chase Manhattan, as possible suitors. But Ben Edwards III, chairman, president and chief executive, told Dow Jones Newswires that the brokerage isn’t on the sale block and has no intention of being sold.

Jones Pharma sold for $3.4B
King Pharmaceuticals Inc. has agreed to acquire Jones Pharma Inc. for about $3.4 billion in stock. Shareholders of St. Louis-based Jones would get 1.13 shares of King common stock for each share of Jones stock, a premium of about 38 percent. After the deal is completed, Jones’ chief operating officer Andrew Franz will join King’s board of directors, and will become president and chief executive of Jones, as a wholly owned subsidiary of King. Dennis Jones will step down as chairman and chief executive officer of Jones Pharma but stay on as a consultant and significant shareholder. Officials at Bristol, Tenn.-based King, which specializes in acquiring cast-off branded prescription drugs from larger companies and then reselling them, said the merger will provide King with a more diversified portfolio of branded pharmaceutical products.

Microsoft’s Ballmer sees roles for big and small firms
Computer technology and the Internet will keep changing in coming years, said Microsoft Corp. President and Chief Executive Steve Ballmer. Speaking at a town hall forum sponsored by the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association, Ballmer said no one company will help get technology to its next stage, with the entire industry being involved in that process, from start-ups to large companies. He said that’s the argument that Microsoft has made to the Justice Department in its ongoing disagreement over whether the company is a monopoly.

Commerce, Mississippi Valley, Allegiant report earnings
Commerce Bancshares Inc. said its second-quarter earnings were $45.6 million, a 9 percent increase from the same period in 1999. Mississippi Valley Bancshares reported second-quarter net income of $5.53 million, a 2.1 percent decrease from the year-ago period. Allegiant Bancorp Inc. said net income was up 18 percent in the second quarter, to $1.6 million.

Esco added to Russell 2000 Index
Esco Technologies Inc. said it was added to the Russell 2000 Index of small capitalization stocks. Esco, a St. Louis-based electronics manufacturer, was added to the index through the Frank Russell Co.’s annual reconstitution process, a procedure that adjusts Russell’s stock indexes to reflect current market capitalization and style attributes.

Carnahan vetoes Capco extension
A Missouri tax credit program that helped provide venture capital for a number of start-up businesses here was vetoed by Governor Mel Carnahan. His chief of staff, Chris Sifford, said the measure, an extension of the so-called Capco legislation, would have thrown the state budget out of balance. Previous Capco funding has financed new businesses such as Haystack Toys and PaylinX. The extension would have cost Missouri $5 million a year in uncollected taxes.

Ralcorp wraps up Red Wing purchase
Ralcorp Holdings Inc. said it has completed the purchase of the Red Wing Co. Inc. for $132.5 million. Red Wing is a leading manufacturer of private label shelf-stable wet filled type products with sales of $348 million for its fiscal year ended April 29. St. Louis-based Ralcorp, a cereal and cracker company, purchased Red Wing from a subsidiary of Tomkins PLC.

Pulitzer earnings increase
Pulitzer Inc. said second-quarter 2000 earnings from continuing operations increased 13.4 percent to $11 million. The St. Louis-based publishing company said that last year’s earnings from continuing operations had included a $1.2 million loss from the sale of its newspaper property in Hamilton, Mont.

Earthgrains boosts dividend
The Earthgrains Co. said it is raising its quarterly cash dividend by 20 percent to 6 cents per share. Shareholders at the company’s annual meeting also elected three board members to terms expiring in 2003. Elected were E. Byron Glore Jr., chief executive of The Glore Group; Jaime Iglesias, retired chairman of Anheuser-Busch Europe Inc., and retired chairman and president of Bimbo S.A.; and William E. Stevens, chairman and chief executive of The Wesmark Group. Glore is newly elected to the board. Iglesias and Stevens have been directors since 1996.

Merchants’ Exchange to list futures contracts
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission awarded designated contract-market status to the Merchants’ Exchange of St. Louis, allowing it to operate as an exchange for the listing of futures and futures-options contracts. The Merchants’ Exchange initially will offer two contracts based on barge freight rates — one on Illinois waterway rates, the other on St. Louis harbor rates. All futures trading will be executed electronically, with trading expected to begin in the fall.

Arthur Andersen partners with Habitat for Humanity
Arthur Andersen’s St. Louis office will donate $10,000 to Habitat for Humanity. About 75 volunteers who work at the St. Louis office also will build a three-bedroom, one-bath home here. It’s part of a national program that will include more than 1,900 participants volunteering 15,000 work hours and about $200,000 in donations in 20 cities in the United States.

Momentum acquires Diamond Promotions
Sales promotion firm Momentum North America, headquartered in St. Louis, has merged with Diamond Promotions of New York. Momentum said the merger will expand its sales promotion capabilities in New York. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TWA picks Los Angeles as focus city
Trans World Airlines Inc. said Los Angeles will be the airline’s second “focus city.” A focus city is a location where TWA offers expanded service to several destinations. TWA’s first focus city was San Juan, Puerto Rico. In Los Angeles, TWA will partner with American Eagle to support Trans World Connection regional service between Los Angeles International Airport and seven California cities. TWA said it already has begun the buildup of service and as of Sept. 10, will have increased service 70 percent year-over-year.

S&P rates St. Louis airport bonds
Standard & Poors said it assigned its triple-B-minus rating, a low investment grade credit, to a $90 million bond issue by the city of St. Louis to support work at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. S&P said the rating reflects several concerns, including possible delays, decreases or revocation of federal grants that make up the primary pledge revenue source for the bonds. However, S&P said the Federal Aviation Administration also has a consistent and positive track record in making sure airports receive money due them.

Harbour Group buys chimney supply firm
Harbour Group has acquired Copperfield Chimney Supply Inc. of Fairfield, Iowa. Terms were not disclosed. Copperfield provides chimney maintenance, replacement, restoration and cleaning products to the chimney professional market. The company has 170 employees in six regional distribution centers and three primary manufacturing facilities. Sam Fox, chairman and chief executive of St. Louis-based Harbour Group, said the Copperfield purchase offers significant opportunities for new products, greater penetration in the retail sector and acquisitions of complementary businesses.

Premcor boosts capacity at Port Arthur plant
Premcor Inc., the former Clark Oil, has increased the amount of crude oil it produces at its Port Arthur, Texas, refinery by 18,000 barrels a day, up to 250,000 barrels. The increase comes as Premcor works to wrap up an $835 million upgrade project at the refinery. The Port Arthur facility underwent a 33-day maintenance turnaround in April and early May. The maintenance project now is more than 85 percent complete. Premcor operates four refineries through its subsidiaries that process 565,000 barrels per day.

Apex boosts offer for Crown
Apex Oil Co. Inc. said it has increased its offer for Crown Central Petroleum Corp. to $10.50 per share. St. Louis-based Apex previously offered $10 per share for all the Crown common stock it did not already own. Apex said it believes its cash proposal is superior to the cash offer of $9.50 per share from a competing bidder, Rosemore Inc. Crown, a Baltimore-based oil company, earlier accepted the Rosemore bid.

Cass posts earnings increase
Cass Commercial Corp. said second quarter net income was $1.7 million, a 16 percent increase from the same period a year ago. The St. Louis-based financial firm credited the increase in net income to strong loan demand, an increase in earning assets and increases in the general level of interest rates. For the six months ended June 30, net income was $3.6 million, a 19 percent increase from the first six months of 1999.

Grace & Co. teams with Centerprise accounting firms
Grace & Co. the St. Louis region’s eighth-largest accounting firm with a staff of 100, has merged its ownership with six other accounting firms from across the country. The new business, Centerprise Advisors Inc., will be the 13th-largest professional services firm in the country, according to principals of the company. The new Centerprise is a scaled down version of an accounting and financial services firm that planned to make an an initial public offering last year. The principals in that venture canceled that offering.

Marriage tax impacts 500,000 Missourians, Ashcroft says
With a vote breaking down along party lines, the U.S. Senate passed the “marriage penalty” bill that would provide $248 billion in tax relief over 10 years.

Business Response plans to hire 300 in six months
Business Response Inc. unveiled plans to hire 300 employees by the end of the year. The company, which provides corporations with customer service programs at four different call centers in Missouri and Illinois, expects to have 1,500 employees at the end of the current hiring streak. Business Response said the expansion comes from increasing service work at its three Missouri locations: Columbia, Overland and Creve Coeur, which also serves as the company’s headquarters.

Ameren predicts it will beat analyst estimates
Ameren Corp. said it expects to report earnings per share between 80 cents and 85 cents for the second quarter, which ended June 30. The results would exceed analysts consensus estimates of 66 cents. Ameren earned 63 cents per share for the same period a year earlier.

Equality Bancorp reviewing business options
Equality Bancorp Inc. said it may seek a sale or merger of the company to enhance shareholder value. No decision has been made to enter into any transaction or as to what form any such transaction might take, the St. Louis-based company. Equality Bancorp is the holding company for Equality Savings Bank. As of the end of March, Equality Savings had total assets of $323.3 million and consolidated stockholders’ equity of $19.9 million. Trading in shares of Equality Bancorp had been halted at $8.94 on the American Stock Exchange, pending an announcement.

Amdocs posts third-quarter results
Amdocs Limited reported that for the third quarter ended June 30, revenue reached $297.0 million, an increase of 80.1 percent over last year’s third quarter. Excluding acquisition-related charges, net income increased 102 percent to $51.4 million, while earnings per share increased 76.9 percent to 23 cents. The acquisition-related charges derive primarily from the acquisition of Solect Technology Group Inc., which was completed in April.

Insituform reports second-quarter revenue
Insituform Technologies Inc. announced record quarterly revenue and earnings for the second quarter, which ended June 30. Insituform had $99.4 million in the second quarter compared to $85.6 million in the same period last year. St. Louis-based Insituform, which makes rehabilitates sewer, water and other underground piping, posted net income of $8.4 million, or 33 cents per share, up from $6.4 million in last year’s second quarter.

UFCW union rejects Dierbergs’ second contract
Members of the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 655 working at Dierbergs Markets rejected a second contract offer from the company by a vote of 584 to 414. The union also voted in a close race to strike against the grocery store chain. The motion to strike requires a two-thirds majority. The union’s strike motion passed by one vote. However, union officials said they will continue to work while both sides are at the bargaining table. The union’s contract with Dierbergs expired June 11.

Sheffield submits drug application to FDA
Sheffield Pharmaceuticals submitted an investigational new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration for cromolyn sodium delivered through the company’s Metered Solution Inhaler. St. Louis-based Sheffield has partnered with Zambon Group SpA of Milan, Italy, for the development of the drug, which is aimed at preventing asthma in children. Sheffield estimates the drug could gain $250 million in the $8 billion international market for respiratory treatments. This is the third drug under development using Sheffield’s Metered Solution Inhaler.

Insituform’s quarterly revenues grew $15M
Insituform Technologies Inc. saw its second-quarter revenues jump to $99.4 million compared to $85.6 million for the same period in 1999. That 16 percent increase was only outdone by the company’s 24 percent increase in revenues for the first six months of the year to $193.7 million. The gains pushed net income to a record $8.4 million for the second quarter and up 37 percent to $14.5 million for the first half of the year. Anthony Hooper the chairman and chief executive of the firm, said the gains mark the ninth consecutive quarter in which income from operations set a new quarterly record. Instituform operates internationally to repair and rehab sewer, water and other underground piping systems.

U.S. Sugar Corp. announces new CEO
Robert Dolson was named president and chief executive officer of United States Sugar Corp.

President Casinos sells Davenport operations
St. Louis-based President Casinos Inc. announced that it will sell its Davenport casino and hotel to Isle of Capri Casinos Inc. for $58.2 million. The sale serves as a key step toward restructuring of the company’s indebtedness, said the company’s president and chief executive, John S. Aylsworth. The company is in default on $100 million worth of bond and interest payments. “The net proceeds from the sale will be used to improve the company’s liquidity and to reduce its overall debt,” Aylsworth said.

Station Casinos to sell Missouri operations for $475 million
Station Casinos Inc. announced plans July 20 to sell its two Missouri casinos in St. Charles and Kansas City.

Jones Pharma deal in peril
King Pharmaceuticals Inc. shares have dropped more than 30 percent since the company announced plans to buy Jones Pharma Inc., nearing the trigger price for scuttling the deal.

Glennon plans $40 million expansion
SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital is planning a $40 million expansion and modernization project.

Veto could wash away Rainforest
The Rainforest Co., a gourmet food business in Maryland Heights, could become the first victim of Gov. Mel Carnahan’s veto of the Capco legislation.

Zapped!
For eight months, an investor using the screen name “cobrashark2000” posted disparaging and false comments about Laser Vision Centers Inc. and its management on the Yahoo! Internet message board.


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