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17 posts from October 2012


Texas grid operator says Luminant can idle two coal-fired units

Luminant will proceed with previously announced plans to mothball two of three coal-fired units at its Monticello power plant south of Mt. Pleasant in northeast Texas after the Electric Reliability Council of Texas determined the units were not needed for the state's biggest power grid to maintain reliability. ERCOT can order a generator to keep a facility in operation if it's needed to meet demand or to maintain an acceptable power supply. That program is called "reliability must run," and includes compensation to the generator.

ERCOT said in September it was studying whether to require the two units to remain in service. Doing so would have meant ERCOT would have to make payments to Luminant. The issue is of particular interest because  Luminant's parent, Dallas-based Energy Future Holdings, is losing hundreds of millions of dollars each quarter. EFH is still carrying more than $40 billion in debt from its 2007 leveraged buyout of its corporate predecessor, TXU Inc., but its revenues have declined as wholesale electricity prices in Texas are kept low by cheap natural gas-fired power. There were concerns that gaining reliability-must-run status for the Monticello units would in effect be a subsidy to Luminant to help EFH pay its bills. Now, the two units will go off-line on Dec. 1, the company said.

-- Jim Fuquay


Southlake's Bonefish Grill looking for employees

Bonefish Grill is looking to hire about 100 Southlake-area residents for its new restaurant that will open Dec. 3 at 1201 E. Southlake Blvd.

Positions include angler, host and kitchen staff. Applications are available online at www.bonefishgrill.com or www.Bloominbrandscareers.com/Bonefish and enter the store number 60904.

_ Star-Telegram 



Baylor Surgical Hospital in FW buys land for new surgery facility

FORT WORTH — Baylor Surgical Hospital in Fort Worth said Monday it has completed the purchase of 5.3 acres of land near Park Place and Eighth avenues to build a three-story, 77,000-square-foot facility to replace its currently facility on 12th Avenue.

Construction is scheduled to begin in May and be completed in August 2014. Baylor said it has outgrown its current surgery center at 750 12th Ave.

The new facility will have 30 inpatient beds, 14 operating rooms, a 24-hour emergency room for minor emergencies, an imaging suite equipped with digital X-ray, CT scanner and MRI, Baylor said.

The new facility also will offer a broader range of surgical procedures, specializing in orthopedic, spine, pain management, urology, general, plastic, and ear, nose and throat surgery.

"The project marks the beginning of a new chapter for our hospital system," said Roger Rhodes, CEO of Baylor Surgical Hospital at Fort Worth, in a statement. "Healthcare is rapidly changing and our goal as an industry leader is to remain on the cutting edge of service for our patients, doctors and community."

Baylor Surgical Hospital at Fort Worth is a joint venture with the Baylor Health Care System, Dallas-based United Surgical Partners International and local physicians. United Surgical Partners owns and or operates 204 facilities in the U.S., of which 143 are jointly owned with not-for-profit healthcare systems.

Todd Burnette, Ryan Matthews and Paul Whitman with Jones Lang LaSalle represented Baylor Surgical Hospital.

Gary Vasseur with Coldwell Banker Commercial Searcy Vasseur Group represented the seller, Melric Inc., the John E. Quarles Co. Employee Profit Sharing Plan and the John E. Quarles Co.

_ Sandra Baker


Women employees of GM plant to hold Arlington car show Saturday

Women employees of General Motors Arlington assembly plant will host their own car show Saturday to raise funds for cancer research.

The Heels N Wheels Car Show will be from noon to 4 p.m. in the parking lot of the GM plant at 2525 East Abram Street. Visitors can enter at Gate Six, the closest Abram Street entrance to Highway 360.

Attendance is free to the public. Last minute car, truck or motorcycle entries are welcome. Day-of-event vehicle registration fee for the car show is $30. Availability is limited and first-come, first-served. Prizes will be awarded in seven categories. There will be children’s activities.

Some new GM vehicles, including the Chevy Spark subcompact and Buick Verano compact cars, will be available for test drives.

GM spokeswoman Donna McLallen said the group, GM Arlington’s Women in Manufacturing, will donate all proceeds from the show to the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides for Breast Cancer. For additional information contact McLallen at 972-849-8208.

-Bob Cox

OmniAmerican earnings rise

Fort Worth-based OmniAmerican Bank said Friday that it earned $2.3 million in the third quarter, or 22 cents a share, more than double the $1 million profit a year earlier. The bank said the improvement was driven by higher investment gains and lower losses on bad loans. OmniAmerican also expanded its outstanding loans by $83.1million, or 12.4 percent, from a year earlier. The bank finished the quarter with $1.28 billion in assets as of Sept. 30. "OmniAmerican's performance during the third quarter of 2012 is our strongest in recent history. These results clearly demonstrate that our financial strategy is working," CEO Tim Carter said in a prepared release. He said "the seasoned lending staff we added earlier this year has substantially strengthened the bank's lending relationships and increased our loan production."

-- Jim Fuquay


FW area mortgage late rate declining according to latest monthly report

The percentage of homeowners more than 90 days delinquent on their mortgages in the Fort Worth-Arlington area in August declined to 4.7 percent from 5 percent a year ago, according to CoreLogic.

The rate is the lowest it’s been in nearly two years, CoreLogic said.

The August rate was 4.1 percent statewide and 6.7 percent nationwide. The Fort Worth-Arlington area includes Tarrant, Wise, Parker and Johnson counties.

The delinquency rate measures the percentage of loans that are more than 90 days late, including those in foreclosure.

_ Sandra Baker

Cash America earnings down on cost of restructuring Mexico operations

Cash America, a pawn shop and payday lender, on Thursday reported a big drop in earnings but still beat Wall Street's expectations for the third quarter. The company said the profit decline was largely because of one-time expenses related to trimming operations in Mexico. Revenue jumped about 10 percent from a year ago, and the company expects future growth will be fueled by a need for loans. Cash America International Inc. makes money from loans to consumers, from service fees and from selling jewelry, electronics and other goods in its pawn shops.

Net income dropped by two-thirds, falling to $11.7 million from $34.8 million a year ago. On a per-share basis, earnings were 37 cents per share, down from $1.08. The company spent $18.5 million to reorganize its operations in Mexico, where it is closing its jewelry-only pawn shops. It also spent $1.9 million on a failed bid to spin off its online lending business, Enova International. In July it blamed the shelved plans for Enova on volatility in the market for taking companies public.

Without the one-time charges, net income would have been $31.2 million, down about 8 percent. Per-share earnings would have been $1.02, beating the 96 cents expected by analysts, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 10 percent to $439.7 million, boosted by fees from the online segment both in the U.S. and in foreign markets. Analysts expected $365 million. The company expects fourth quarter earnings of $1.15 to $1.25 per share, compared with $1.18 per share in the same quarter a year ago. In the U.S., Cash America operates under the names "Cash America Pawn," ''SuperPawn," ''Cash America Payday Advance," ''Cashland" and "Mr. Payroll." The company said that regulations of consumer loan products could affect future revenue, but it gave no specifics.

-- The Associated Press



BNSF staying in the oil shipping business

Burlington Northern CEO Matt Rose last week at a Montana economic development event said the railroad has invested billions in railcars, locomotives and track improvements to ship crude oil out of the booming Bakken Shale field in North Dakota and Montana, even if the Keystone XL pipeline is completed. Rose said BNSF’s oil shipments out of the Bakken went from 1.3 million barrels in 2008 to 90 million barrels in 2012, and with another 35 facilities for unloading crude oil from trains being built, there will be even more shipments, the Billings Gazette reported.

The story is here.

-- Jim Fuquay


New York investment firm buys Nissan of Fort Worth property, leases back to owner

FORT WORTH — The Nissan of Fort Worth property off of W. Loop 820 in southwest Fort Worth has been sold in a $66 million portfolio sale to an entity of the New York-based investment firm W.P. Carey & Co.

The portfolio included nine car dealerships totaling about 380,000 square feet and was sold by RLJ-McLarty Automotive Holdings. The facilities are being leased back to RLJ-McLarty for 16 years, W.P. Carey said.

In addition to the Fort Worth property, sold were three properties are in Alabama, two in Missouri, and one each in Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana.

The dealers sell and service Mercedes Benz, Nissan, Chevrolet, Toyota, Scion, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. The deal closed in September.

According to W.P. Carey, the acquisition is the first investment completed through a partnership with CapRocq Automotive, formed for the purpose of executing real estate sale-leaseback transactions in the automotive dealership industry. CapRocq is led by founders Franklin McLarty and Beau Blair.

McLarty bought the Fort Worth property in 2009 and moved its Nissan dealership to there after Frank Kent Honda and Dodge moved out last year.

"The formation of our relationship with CapRocq provides us with the opportunity to acquire commercial real property owned by operators of multi-site, multi-franchised automotive dealerships located in attractive markets throughout the United States," said Jason Fox, W.P. Carey’s managing director, in a statement.

W. P. Carey said it manages a global investment portfolio of about $12.7 billion.

_ Sandra Baker

Healthcare bill will be popular, attorney says

The Affordable Care Act will become as popular as Social Security with consumers when in full effect, attorney Quitman Stephens tells a Fort Worth Chamber healthcare summit this morning.


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