Archive for Saturday, August 2, 2003

Briefcase

August 2, 2003

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ChevronTexaco to sell stations to boost profits

ChevronTexaco Corp. said Friday its second-quarter earnings nearly quadrupled, and vowed to become even more profitable with a financial tune-up that will include selling nearly half its U.S. gasoline stations.

The California-based oil giant earned $1.6 billion, or $1.50 per share, for the three months ended in June, up from net income of $407 million, or 39 cents per share, at the same time last year.

Hoping to appease investors dissatisfied with the returns from Chevron's $39 billion takeover of Texaco, company management met with analysts Friday to outline plans for boosting profits even higher. The plans include selling 1,450 gas stations, including 550 in the United States.

Above, traffic passes the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, Calif.

Aviation

American offered bonus to keep K.C. facility open

Missouri Sen. Kit Bond will seek $5 million to upgrade American Airlines' commercial overhaul base if the company keeps it open, he said in a letter released Friday.

A Republican member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Bond made the pledge in a letter to Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Kay Barnes.

American, which has drastically reduced its work force in recent weeks, also has maintenance bases at its Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters and in Tulsa, Okla. American has six months remaining on its lease for the Kansas City, Mo., base which employs 2,300 people.

Utility

Aquila seeks increase in Missouri gas rates

Aquila Inc. has filed a request for a natural gas rate increase with Missouri regulators.

The Kansas City, Mo.-based energy company is asking the Missouri Public Service Commission for increases for customers in the former Missouri Public Service and St. Joseph Light & Power service areas. Aquila said it needed the price hikes to recover system improvement and operating costs.

The company is seeking an 11 percent rate increase in the former Missouri Public Service area and a 13.5 percent increase in the St. Joseph area. Aquila operates the natural gas service in Lawrence.

Manufacturing

Big Three automakers report drop in sales

Detroit's Big Three automakers each reported July sales declined from a year ago, but last month's industrywide results were the best so far this year and automakers appear optimistic about prospects for the rest of 2003.

General Motors Corp., the world's largest automaker, said Friday that sales of its brands, excluding Saab, were off 5.7 percent in July. Car sales were down 11.6 percent. Truck volume fell 1.5 percent. Ford Motor Co.'s total sales fell 11.5 percent while DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group saw its sales drop 7.5 percent in July.

The GM results were better than many forecasts from Wall Street analysts, who said they expected sharp year-over-year industry declines because of beefed-up incentives used by automakers last year to clear lots.

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