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Wednesday June 22nd, 2005

KBR awarded troop support contract for Balkans…Hewlett-Packard produces ten millionth server…Former Enron strategist says company conveyed to Wall Street that broadband venture was new and growing business… Despite criticism of performance and costs in Iraq, Halliburton has been awarded a contract to support American troops in the Balkans and other areas. The contract is valued […]


KBR awarded troop support contract for Balkans…Hewlett-Packard produces ten millionth server…Former Enron strategist says company conveyed to Wall Street that broadband venture was new and growing business…

Despite criticism of performance and costs in Iraq, Halliburton has been awarded a contract to support American troops in the Balkans and other areas. The contract is valued at more than $1 billion. It gives the Halliburton subsidiary KBR the job of washing clothes, serving meals, repairing roads, building housing and providing other support for troops performing peacekeeping duties in the Balkans. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the contract to the Houston-based company anticipating the army will need about $68 million in logistical support for troops in the Balkans the first year and $234 million over five years.

California-based Hewlett-Packard has produced its 10 millionth HP Proliant server at its manufacturing facility in northwest Houston. It’s destined for use by Continental Airlines. Continental’s Bob Edwards (pictured on the right of HP’s Paul Miller and Mike Winkler) was on hand to collect the ten millionth server.

Bob Edwards audio

HP Executive Vice President Mike Winkler helped collect the unit off the assembly line.

Mike Winkler audio

It took Hewlett-Packard seven years to produce its first million servers, but now it ships a million every seven months. HP has held the number one ranking for worldwide server shipments for 35 consecutive quarters. HP’s Paul Miller says many businesses depend on the reliability of the servers.

Paul Miller audio

Huy Hoang Le is an HP Industry Standard Server sales specialist.

Huy Hoang Le audio

HP acquired Houston-based Compaq Computer in 2002.

A former Enron strategist says the company clearly conveyed to Wall Street that its internet venture was a new and growing business. Scott Yeager returned to the stand today in his Houston fraud and conspiracy trial related to the defunct Broadband unit. The government contends Yeager and his co-defendants knew the venture was in its infancy when the company unveiled it to analysts who influenced Enron’s stock. Within two days of the fanfare, Enron stock jumped by nearly $20 per share. Yeager reiterated the defense position that Enron’s broadband network and its operating system were working when it was unveiled to analysts in early 2000. Different parts of it were implemented in phases. Yeager faces more than 100 criminal counts–the most of the defendants.

A defendant in the Enron Nigerian barge trial has asked U. S. District Court Judge Ewing Werlein to postpone his prison surrender date for at least a month. James A. Brown wants to surrender August 5th or later because his 22-year-old son has been critically injured in a car accident in Colorado. Brown was the former head of Merrill Lynch’s asset lease and finance group. He was convicted for lying and obstructing justice along with conspiracy and fraud in the barge deal.

The sentencing date for former Arthur Andersen partner David Duncan has again been postponed. U. S. District Judge Melinda Harmon reset his sentencing date to June 2006. Sentencing has repeatedly been pushed back for Enron defendants cooperating with the government until the last Enron trial has been completed. Duncan pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing justice in April 2002, and faces up to ten years in prison.

Houston-based freight shipment manager EGL Eagle Global Logistics says it will lay off 350 workers from units not meeting financial expectations. Layoffs will be at facilities primarily in the United States and Europe. The company says business units that show growth will add staff to help support the company’s customers.

Members of a family that owns and operates three Chinese Wok restaurants in the Houston area have been arrested for conspiring to entice and smuggle illegal aliens into the United States to work at their restaurants for well below minimum wage. Hin Khai Phu and his son Alan Phu are also charged with harboring Mexican illegals from detection by law enforcement authorities. Also charged are the wives of the two men.

Houston’s Baylor College of Medicine is allying with San Francisco-based biotech firm Genetech and the Intercultural Cancer Council to improve participation of minorities and underserved patients in clinical research trials. Genetech is providing $5.5 million over four years to support the program that focuses on recruitment and retention of patients in oncology and asthma clinical trials.

With oil prices hovering near $60 a barrel, at least one of the major airlines is raising prices again. United has announced an immediate three percent increase in most of its domestic and international fares. In a statement, United’s top marketing executive says with oil continuing to trade at historically high levels, industries must act responsibly to offset rising costs. The nation’s older airlines have been losing hundreds of millions of dollars, with high oil prices making fuel expensive and competition from discounters keeping fares low.

Six Chambers of Commerce representing minority groups in north Texas have united against Southwest Airlines’ campaign to repeal the Wright Amendment. The Wright Amendment, passed in 1979, restricts long-haul flights from Dallas Love Field, Southwest’s base of operation. The intent was to help the then-new Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport grow. DFW is American Airlines’ home base. A spokeswoman for the chambers, Mary Little, said in the Dallas Morning News that each has passed a resolution encouraging Southwest to move to DFW.

The skies could be a little friendlier toward the nation’s capital, as far as one lawmaker is concerned. District of Columbia Councilman Jack Evans wants Dallas-based Southwest Airlines to decorate one of its jets in the DC flag. Evans today introduced a measure for a resolution asking the carrier to do so. Southwest last week unveiled a jet called “Maryland One” with the red, white, black and gold state flag to honor Maryland. The carrier has other jets painted with state flags, representing Arizona, California, Texas, Nevada and New Mexico–plus there’s a jet decorated like “Shamu,” the killer whale. But Southwest says Evans shouldn’t get his hopes up because the low fare carrier would probably need to be flying out of DC to consider wrapping a plane. The 61 square mile district has no airport.

American Airlines said Tuesday it has made a $75 million contribution to its defined benefit pension plans. With the $138 million American contributed earlier this year, total contributions to the plans in 2005 have reached more than $200 million. American has been working with employees and unions on pension-reform legislation. A group of union officials and employees plan to rally on Capitol Hill in Washington today to back proposals to make funding employee pensions more flexible and affordable.

El Paso Corporation is selling its stakes in four Chinese power plants to GP China in a $71 million deal. This sale and others will help El Paso cut its liabilities to about $15 billion by year’s end.

Investors gave a tepid welcome today to the initial public offering of home-building supplier builders FirstSource. The Dallas-based company’s IPO of about 12.5 million shares priced at $16 a share. The shares opened on the Nasdaq stock market at $16.52. Observers had said before the issue priced that the IPO would reflect whether buyers believe the United States is on target for more new home growth in the next decade–or whether they are worried about Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s warnings about unsustainable prices in local housing markets. The average homeowner likely has never heard of builders Firstsource–but pro home builders in the east and south buy everything from wall panels to roof and floor trusses from the company.

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