Tuesday PM May 29th, 2007

Globeleq selling power businesses in eight countries in $1 billion deal...Dynegy selling CoGen Lyondell power generating facility in Channelview...Pogo Producing selling Northrock Resources to Abu Dhabi National Energy in $2 billion deal...

Houston-based Globeleq is selling its operating power businesses in eight countries for more than $1 billion, according to the Houston Business Journal. The interests in Latin America, North Africa and Asia are being sold to a consortium of D.S. Constructions Ltd. of New Delhi and Tel Aviv, Israel-based Israel Corp. Ltd. The North African and Asian businesses, with operations in Egypt, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, are being sold to a consortium of Tanjong Energy Holdings of Malaysia and Aljomaih of Saudi Arabia. Globeleq focuses on emerging markets in Africa, the Americas and Asia.

Dynegy is selling its CoGen Lyondell coal-fired power generation facility in Channelview to EnergyCo for $470 million. This is the first acquisition for EnergyCo, a joint venture between Albuquerque, New Mexico-based energy holding company PNM Resources and Kirkland, Washington-based Cascade Investment.

Pogo Producing has agreed to sell Northrock Resources to Abu Dhabi National Energy for $2 billion in cash. Northrock is a Calgary, Canada-based oil and gas exploration production company acquired by Pogo in 2005.

More Houston companies are mindful of disaster preparedness as the hurricane season approaches. AT&T's Rick Duran says businesses re-evaluated their business continuity plans after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

"It shifted from a disaster recovery plan where disaster recovery is defined as how long can a company be out—truly out of service—before they can bring a facility back up, to a business continuity plan, in which there is little to no impact to the business from an operations standpoint. So we really saw the shift from an investment standpoint and also the sensitivity of the data has become so critical, even over the last three to four years, that business continuity--basically having the end user, your customer if you will, and/or the employee feel no impact if a corporate office was to go down--is really the ultimate goal for businesses in the Houston marketplace." Ed: "Do business continuity plans differ according to the types of businesses?" "They do. Each company will take a look at the criticality of the business applications, how sensitive the data is, as far as transmitting the data, as well as what is the cost to implement a business continuity plan. And what we see is based on the customer's vertical, the more the company invests in technology, typically the more they're apt to invest in a business continuity plan, as well, as opposed to a company that may not be technology-advanced in today's marketplace. Typically, those companies will not invest in a business continuity plan to the extent the others will."

AT&T's 2007 Business Continuity Survey of local information technology executives finds Houston ranks second—behind New York City--on having and testing a business continuity plan. The last time AT&T conducted a survey of Houston area IT officers was in 2005, before that year's devastating hurricane season that included Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The California Public Employees Retirement System--which owns 30 million shares of ExxonMobil--joined an effort to oust Michael Boskin, chairman of the oil company's Public Issues Committee. The largest public pension fund in the United States said Boskin should be removed "due to the company's inaction on the business risks from climate change.'' The move comes on the eve of Irving-based ExxonMobil's annual meeting tomorrow.

A new report says even with rising gasoline prices, the mood of consumers is hanging in there. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index has risen to 108, up nearly two points over the past month. In addition, the April number was revised higher. The latest increase puts the index close to where it was in March. The business research group explains the gain reflects a more positive view of current conditions. The report is stronger than expected.

A new report says U.S. home prices fell 1.4 percent in the first three months of the year, compared to a year earlier. The quarterly decline is said to be the first since 1991. The index, released by Standard and Poor's, tracks prices for existing home sales. S&P says 13 of 20 cities reported prices had dropped or were flat. Boston, Detroit, San Diego and Washington, D.C. had the greatest year-over-year declines in prices. Meanwhile, Charlotte, Seattle and Portland, Oregon had strong price gains over last year.

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