News

Recruiter Newsflash

Manufacturers

Alcoa Inc. (AA) signed a 10-year, $300 million contract with Honeywell International Inc. (HON) to develop a program designed to boost productivity and reduce costs at seven Alcoa alumina-refining facilities. In a press release Monday, Alcoa said the Honeywell Industrial Control ManageAbility agreement will help improve process control and standardization of both equipment and processes across Alcoa’s refining network, reducing variability. Alcoa will standarize its automation technology using Honeywell’s systems, software and business optimization services that control the process of converting bauxite to alumina at Alcoa refineries. (DJ 2/26/01)
Alcoa Inc. (AA) completed the sale of its 204,000-metric-ton-per-year aluminum smelter located in Longview, Washington, to Chicago investment firm Michigan Avenue Partners. The two companies reached the sale agreement at the end of last December. In a press release Tuesday, Michigan Avenue Partners said the facility will be renamed as Longview Aluminum, L.L.C. and the additional details on the smelter’s future operation plan would be announced later this week. European Union regulators had required Alcoa to sell at least 25% of its interest in Longview as a condition of its $4.5 billion acquisition of Reynolds Metals Co. (DJ 2/27/01)

Houston-based Enron Corp. and an undisclosed Japanese power company are discussing a plan to exchange power plants and jointly purchase other ones overseas, Enron Japan’s resident said Tuesday. According to Joseph Hirl, Enron is seeking a venture with a Japanese power utility to develop long-term operations here. Mr. Hirl declined to provide the name of the partner. The U.S. energy giant has proposed to develop power-generation projects abroad with the Japanese company, and exchange an Enron power plant abroad for a local plant. (WSJ 2/27/01)

Enron Energy Services, a unit of Enron Corp. (ENE), received a $1.3 billion, 15-year energy management contract with Eli Lilly and Co. (LLY). In a press release Monday, Enron said it will manage the supply of electricity and natural gas for Lilly facilities in Indiana, as well as perform operations and maintenance on energy assets and related infrastructure upgrades. Enron, with 2000 revenue of $100.8 billion, expects its work will boost energy efficiency at Lilly facilities, and allow Lilly to realize future savings and focus on core operations — pharmaceutical research and development. (DJ 2/26/01)

Ford Motor Co. (F), which has begun shipping its redesigned 2002 Explorer sport-utility vehicle to dealers in the U.S. after months of delay, will produce the vehicle “at maximum capability” for the rest of the year, according to Martin Inglis, Ford vice president in charge of the Ford brand. Ford said its dealers have about 75,000 orders for the new Explorer, which comes with more safety features than the model it replaces. “I am looking to be producing at maximum capability for the balance of the year,” Inglis told Dow Jones Newswires late Thursday. Currently, Ford’s plants in St. Louis, Mo., and Louisville, Ky., are producing the new Explorer at a rate of 44 vehicles an hour. Inglis said the company plans to boost the pace to 54 vehicles an hour at the St. Louis factory in mid-April and to 49 vehicles an hour at the Louisville plant in mid-May. (DJ 2/23/01)

General Motors Corp. said Tuesday it will break ground next month on a Chicago-area parts distribution center that will replace a 35-year-old site there. Weather permitting, the world’s largest automaker expects the project in the village of Bolingbrook -25 miles from its existing site in Broadview -to be completed early next year, GM spokeswoman Susan Reyes-Nothoff said. The project’s cost was not disclosed. GM plans to eventually shift 210 to 225 of the Broadview center’s 388 workers to the new parts site, Reyes-Nothoff said. Workers not transferred to the new site would not be laid off, in accordance with United Auto Workers contracts, and could opt for retirement. The new 404,000-square-foot center would serve more than 570 GM dealerships in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. (DJ 2/27/01)

General Motors Corp.’s (GM) Jay Wetzel, vice president and general manager of the company’s technical centers, will retire April 1. In a press release Monday, the automaker also said it named Guy Briggs vice president and general manager, vehicle manufacturing, and Gerald Elson vice president and general manager, vehicle operations. GM also named James Queen named vice president, vehicle systems, and Thomas Stephens vice president, vehicle integration. The changes are part of an ongoing consolidation at GM’s North American Car, Truck and Technical Center groups. (DJ 2/26/01)

Major auto manufacturers are parting company in their tactical responses to California’s strict new vehicle-emission rules. On Friday, General Motors Corp. took the toughest stance when it filed suit in California Superior Court against the state Air Resources Board’s mandate that 10% of all cars and light trucks sold or leased in California by big manufacturers emit no pollution by 2003. But U.S. auto makers are competing against one another to win the environmental mantle, at least in the marketing world, and GM’s main competitors, Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler AG, declined to endorse GM’s legal assault. GM officials called the California requirement technically and economically difficult to meet, and said the air board refused to consider more reasonable options such as relying less on all-electric cars and more on cars that use a mix of electricity and gasoline. (WSJ 2/26/01)

Entertainment

Walt Disney Co. and Coca-Cola Co. formed a long-term agreement to market Disney-branded children’s beverages globally. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. The companies will market juices, juice drinks, milk-based and water-based drinks, punches and smoothies, which will be packaged in containers featuring Disney characters. The companies said the first products to be launched will be juices and juice drinks from Minute Maid Co., a Coca-Cola unit. The drinks, which will feature Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh, will enter the U.S. markets during 2001 and internationally in 2002. (DWSJ 2/28/01)

Walt Disney Co.’s Internet arm said it plans to cut more jobs, this time mainly from technology staff as well as ABCnews.com and ABC.com. The unit, known as Walt Disney Internet Group, said it will eliminate about 135 staff positions across its organization. The cuts are being made in the North Hollywood, Seattle and New York offices. (WSJ 2/27/01)

Banks

Deutsche Bank AG appointed Lee Zhang as managing director and head of the Greater China team in global investment banking. Mr. Zhang, who is expected to begin work with Deutsche Bank next month, will be based in Hong Kong and will spend a significant amount of time in China. Previously, Mr. Zhang was an executive director of corporate finance at Goldman Sachs, responsible for China and Hong Kong. (DJ 2/26/01)
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) has reshuffled its German management, shipping one senior banker back to New York and promoting Tim Plaut to be the sole head of the Frankfurt office. Dan Stanton, who moved to Frankfurt from New York in late 1999 to co-manage the Goldman office here, is now returning to New York as a senior partner in the investment bank’s equities business. Plaut, who is 45, was appointed co-head of the Frankfurt office in October 1999. He was previously head of investment banking for Germany and Austria. (DJ 2/23/01)

Luiz Carvalho, formerly a Latin American telecommunications analyst at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, has assumed coverage of U.S. wireless stocks at the firm after another analyst left for UBS Warburg. Carvalho, a managing director, replaces Colette Fleming, a principal, who resigned Friday morning for a post at UBS Warburg, Morgan Stanley told Dow Jones Newswires. Fleming will be the senior wireless services analyst and an executive director at UBS Warburg. In addition to
U.S. wireless stocks, Carvalho will continue to cover Latin American telecommunications stocks at Morgan Stanley. Carvalho was ranked No. 1 among analysts for Latin American telecom services stocks by Institutional Investor in 1999. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1996. (DJ 2/26/01)

High Tech

Intel Corp. agreed to buy VxTel Inc., a closely held semiconductor company, for about $550 million. Intel on Monday said the combination of VxTel’s products with Intel’s Internet Exchange Architecture networking components will help telecommunications providers accelerate their transition to an integrated voice-and-data network. VxTel, Fremont, Calif., makes semiconductors for delivering voice and data communications over optical networks. (WSJ 2/27/01)
Oral arguments in Microsoft Corp.’s (MSFT) appeal of its antitrust case began Monday with the seven judges aggressively questioning both sides. The judges suggested to Microsoft attorney Richard Urowsky that he was challenging the factual record in the case. Such a challenge, they noted, is difficult to sustain in the appeals court. But the judges also pressed the government to show how Microsoft had blocked competition when Netscape Communications did not seem to be pushing into the relevant market. Antitrust expert William Kovacic said that if the government can’t satisfy the court on that question it “will not be inclined to find liability.” (DJ 2/26/01)

Microsoft Corp. is facing federal charges of false and deceptive advertising for the second time in less than a year, casting new light on its business tactics just as it opens its appeal of the government’s antitrust case. Microsoft is already negotiating to settle the charges, pending before the Federal Trade Commission, lawyers close to the case said. The FTC focused on Microsoft’s aggressive advertising campaign targeting Palm Inc., whose products compete against those hand-held devices using Microsoft’s Windows software. (WSJ 2/26/01)

March 5, 2001
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