Tuesday AM September 18th, 2007

New York AG investigates Dynegy, four other energy companies over plans for coal-fired power plants...Newfield Exploration selling North Sea holdings in $486.4 million deal...Bush Intercontinental becoming one of three airports testing new interactive advertising system...

Dynegy is one of five major energy companies subpoenaed by New York about carbon dioxide emissions. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is trying to determine if plans to create coal-fired power plants present an undisclosed financial risk to investors. Cuomo has also sent subpoenas seeking internal documents to AES, Dominion Resources, Peabody Energy and Xcel Energy. He's using the Martin Act, the same state securities law that Governor Eliot Spitzer used to investigate corruption on Wall Street. Dynegy is being questioned about its planned 900-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Riesel, Texas. The Attorney General's Office is suggesting the companies could take a financial hit if federal lawmakers tighten controls on coal-fired plants that emit pollutants scientists have linked to global warming. The office is questioning whether investors had been adequately informed about the potential risk of developing plants that might hurt the environment.


Newfield Exploration is selling its North Sea holdings in a $486.4 million deal to Centrica, which owns British Gas. The sale has to be approved by British authorities. This marks Newfield's exit from the North Sea, where it had been active since 2005. The Houston-based company will focus on recent acquisitions in the Rocky Mountains, mid-continent region and offshore Malaysia.


A former Enron executive is seeking $150 million from U.S. and European investors to fund sugar cane plantations and refineries in Brazil, according to the British newspaper The Independent. Diomedies Christodoulou is the former boss of Enron South America, and now runs Gordian Energy Partners. Vehicles running on ethanol made from Brazilian sugar cane could emit up to 95 percent less in carbon emissions compared with conventional gasoline, while corn-based ethanol cuts emissions by as little as five percent, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Hospitals and schools in Maharashtra, India, were part of the original plan and supposed to be the responsibility of Enron, until the firm went bankrupt. India's The Economic Times reports the Maharashtra government is trying to revive those projects, after the revival of the Dabhol power plant. Ratnagiri Gas and Power now oversees the Dabhol project, which had been dormant for five years. The firm says it would like to discuss the revival of the hospital with officials of the state health ministry.


Waste Management is one of 195 U.S. businesses receiving perfect scores for offering benefits for and support of gay and transgender workers, according to a Human Rights Campaign Foundation's survey. Their Corporate Equity Index rated 519 businesses on factors such as non-discrimination policies, diversity training, benefits for domestic partners and transgender employees. Other Houston firms making the list include Andrews & Kurth, Baker & Botts, BMC Software, ConocoPhillips, Continental Airlines, Fulbright & Jaworski, Reliant Energy and Shell Oil.


Leap Wireless International says it's open to acquisition by Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications. That's even as San Diego-based Leap is defending its rejection of an unsolicited takeover bid by MetroPCS. Leap President and CEO Douglas Hutcheson refused to answer analyst questions about what it would take to complete a deal between the two wireless carriers that offer unlimited service for a flat monthly rate. A deal would create a nationwide wireless carrier dedicated to the discount market. Earlier this month, Dallas-based MetroPCS publicly offered to give investors in regional rival leap 2.75 shares of MetroPCS stock for every leap share they own. Leap's CEO said in a letter to MetroPCS's CEO that the proposal was inadequate and not in the best interests of leap and its shareholders MetroPCS issued a statement saying "we are disappointed, unimpressed and studying our options.''


General Motors and the United Auto Workers are back at the bargaining table. The talks had stopped in the pre-dawn hours Monday morning after a marathon 16-hour session. Thousands of GM union workers were on the job Monday morning at the automaker's 82 U.S. plants. There's optimism that both sides are getting close to reaching an agreement. GM's four-year contract with the UAW expired at midnight Friday, but the union decided to extend it on an hour-by-hour basis. The union named GM as the lead company in contract talks and potential strike target Thursday. But the threat of a walkout have seemed to fade. A UAW local told its members to report to work at the GM assembly plant in Arlington as scheduled. But it said it's committed to a strike, if necessary. Local 276 represents 2,800 workers at Arlington's GM plant and 2,700 retirees.


Dow Jones has reached a tentative deal on a new contract with the union representing reporters at the Wall Street Journal, ending several months of sometimes contentious talks. The vice president of the Independent Association of Publishers' Employees says the union's board agreed Saturday to send the contract deal to its membership and recommend that they ratify it. The union had been at odds with Dow Jones management over several issues including pay and health care costs.


Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport is one of three markets for Florida-based Monster Media's new interactive advertising system, in partnership with airport advertising firm JCDecaux North America. MonsterVision is an advertising medium using advanced motion-activated technology to engage audiences. Viewers physically interact with the display using body movements across the projected image.


PPG Industries has agreed to sell its fine chemicals business to a subsidiary of Italy's Zambon Company for $65 million. The Pittsburgh-based company employs about 360 people at plants in Laporte, as well as Avrille, France. The sale is expected to close in the fourth quarter. PPG is a coatings, glass and chemical maker.


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