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Monday October 3rd, 2005

Texas Genco to be acquired by New Jersey firm…Reliant Energy selling three New York City power plants…Symantec acquiring Bindview Development in $209 million deal… Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG Energy is buying Texas Genco in a $5.8 billion deal. Texas Genco operates eight plants and owns a 44 percent stake in the South Texas Project nuclear […]

Texas Genco to be acquired by New Jersey firm…Reliant Energy selling three New York City power plants…Symantec acquiring Bindview Development in $209 million deal…

Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG Energy is buying Texas Genco in a $5.8 billion deal. Texas Genco operates eight plants and owns a 44 percent stake in the South Texas Project nuclear power plant. Houston-based Texas Genco has about 11,000 megawatts of power generation, all in Texas. The company is second only to TXU in power generation in the state. With natural gas hitting new highs, plants that run on less expensive fuels–such as about half of Texas Genco’s capacity–can earn huge profits. The power plants were at one point part of Houston Lighting & Power. That company split with deregulation into CenterPoint Energy, Reliant Energy and Texas Genco.

Reliant Energy today announced a deal to sell its three New York City power plants. A group led by Madison Dearborn Partners and U. S. Power Generating Company is buying Reliant’s Astoria, Gowanus and Narrows plants for $975 million. The three Long Island plants have a combined summer capacity rating of about 2,100 megawatts. Reliant is a leading retail power supplier in Texas. It acquired the units as part of its purchase of Orion Power Holdings in February 2002. The transaction is to help Houston-based Reliant pare debt by about $4 billion going back to 2003. The company says the sale is expected to help it book a third-quarter loss, before taxes, of about $160 million. Reliant was formed in 2000 by CenterPoint Energy, formerly Reliant Energy. CenterPoint spun off its 83 percent stake in Reliant in 2002.

Symantec today announced a deal to acquire Bindview Development Corporation for about $209 million. Bindview is a Houston-based maker of computer-network management and security software. It makes software for managing network password policies and managing file directories. It had 2004 revenue of almost $73 million. The deal is expected to close early next year. Cupertino, California-based Symantec makes network security software. It had revenue of more than $2.5 billion for the year ended March 31st.

Harris County’s application for a disaster declaration has been approved, allowing local businesses and individuals to receive disaster benefits from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for damage to real property and the loss of personal property. Official estimates of damages in Harris County from Hurricane Rita exceeded $111 million.

The federal government has approved Governor Rick Perry’s request that Hurricane Rita evacuees be eligible for the same federal housing, transportation and medical benefits extended to those impacted by Hurricane Katrina. Governor Perry says he’s extending the waiver of the hotel and motel tax for those displaced by the storms for another month and a half. The Texas Fire Service is partnering with the USDA, Army Corps of Engineers, FEMA, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to transition from emergency feeding operations to more sustainable methods of providing meals to those who need them.

The Bush administration stands ready to use the country’s emergency reserves to cope with supply disruptions of crude oil and heating oil in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman told a news conference the president is prepared “to do what is necessary with strategic reserves.” The two million barrel Home Heating Oil Reserve, which was set up in 2000, has never been tapped. Bodman says the U. S. has been hurt by the disruption in the energy infrastructure. But he added that the nation’s economy will remain strong and that “we won’t be dealing with a recession or a matter of that sort.”

Several Houston hospitals estimate they each may have incurred about $10 million in costs for aid given during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But the hospitals’ officials say the costs are just a part of their mission to help the needy. Officials don’t expect the losses to lead to job cuts or the cancellation of projects, but there will be system-wide belt-tightening. Hospital executives say many of the costs are related to medical treatment of Katrina evacuees–many of whom had no health insurance. The threat of Rita cost hospitals millions in preparations and the loss of patient revenue. Hospital executives are still figuring out how to cover their losses. Federal aid may help, but several hospital executives said that won’t cover all their costs.

Many of the thousands of utility workers sent to Southeast Texas to help restore power after Hurricane Rita are having to live in tent cities. That’s something they say makes their already arduous task more difficult. Contract utility worker Terry Snyder of South Bend, Indiana says he can’t sleep in a tent–so he’s sleeping in his truck until he can find a hotel room. Entergy Texas officials say about 3,500 workers are living in tent cities in Beaumont, and another 1,000 are staying in tents in Port Arthur. Some tents are equipped with air conditioning, but others aren’t. Workers eat inside a center cooled by large fans and shower in two large trailers with 24 stalls connected to a fire hydrant. Tent city residents have access to water, ice, gas and food. But those provisions are closely guarded because companies are worried about looting.

Marathon Oil is shutting down its Detroit refinery for about 50 days to complete a $300 million expansion. The Houston-based company is installing and upgrading equipment to produce gasoline and diesel that meets Environmental Protection Agency low-sulfur standards taking effect next year. The expansion will increase the refinery’s capacity from 74,000 to 100,000 barrels per day.

The Transocean Deepwater Pathfinder drill ship has been awarded a 800-day contract beginning in April 2006 to drill offshore Nigeria from a consortium led by Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company. The rig currently operates offshore Nigeria for a consortium of operators

Consolidated Graphics is acquiring Atlanta-based Graphcom for an undisclosed sum, according to the Houston Business Journal. Consolidated is a commercial printer based in Houston.

A J. Ray McDermott International subsidiary has been contracted to provide engineering, procurement, construction and installation services for new facilities in Qatar’s North Field. The contract is with Ras Laffan Liquified Natural Gas Company Limited, and includes two LNG processing trains, and the development of offshore facilities to supply feed gas produced from the North Field.

Complete Production Services has registered for an initial public offering of up to $300 million in common stock. The Houston-based oil and gas services company disclosed its plans in a Friday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Details about the number of shares to be offered or an estimated price range for the IPO weren’t disclosed. The company says it intends to use the net proceeds from the IPO to repay debt and for general corporate purposes. For the six months ended June 30th, the company posted net income of $24 million. That’s up from the prior year’s $6.33 million.

Dallas-based Brinker International says it’ll sell its Corner Bakery Cafe brand to CBC Restaurant Corporation for an undisclosed amount. Brinker said today the sale is expected to close by the end of the year. Corner Bakery Cafe has 92 restaurants in eight states and Washington. Brinker also owns Chili’s Grill and Bar, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and On the Border Mexican Grill and Cantina. CBC is affiliated with Italian restaurant and bakery company Ii Fornaio Corporation and New York-based private equity firm Bruckmann, Rosser, Sherrill and Company.

Brandywine Realty Trust says it will buy Dallas-based Prentiss Properties Trust for $2 billion. The deal would create one of the largest office real-estate investment trusts. It will add properties in Washington D.C., California and Texas to the portfolio of Pennsylvania-based Brandywine. As part of the transaction, Prudential Real Estate Advisors will acquire about $753 million of Prentiss assets. Brandywine says after completion of the deal, it will own and manage 49 million square feet of office space. Before closing, Prentiss intends to proceed with the planned sale of 20 Chicago-area office and industrial properties, along with its one office property in the Detroit area.

Houston-based Saint Arnold Brewery has won two medals from the 2005 Great American Beer Festival this past weekend at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver. Judges awarded Saint Arnold a silver medal in the Munchner-style Helles category for Saint Arnold Summer Pils and a bronze medal in the Bitter category for Saint Arnold Amber Ale. Some 2,335 beers from 466 domestic breweries were evaluated at the festival, with Texas taking home 13 medals.

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