Tuesday AM August 28th, 2007

Governor leads energy trade mission to Mexico…CenterPoint Energy linemen helping Chicago with power restoration…The Woodlands-based CB&I buying Lummus Global operations of ABB in $950 million deal… Governor Rick Perry is leading an energy trade mission of more than 150 Texas business and government officials to Mexico City. Governor Perry will meet with the general director […]

Governor leads energy trade mission to Mexico…CenterPoint Energy linemen helping Chicago with power restoration…The Woodlands-based CB&I buying Lummus Global operations of ABB in $950 million deal…

Governor Rick Perry is leading an energy trade mission of more than 150 Texas business and government officials to Mexico City. Governor Perry will meet with the general director of Pemex and Mexican President Felipe Calderon. Earlier, the governor addressed the Invest in Texas Seminar for Mexican companies interested in establishing business relations with Texas. He also met with Mexico Secretary of Energy Dr. Georgina Kessel and was joined by U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza hosting a reception in support of Texas energy company efforts to create business relations with Mexican companies.

About 67 CenterPoint Energy linemen and support personnel are in Chicago helping Commonwealth Edison with power restoration efforts after severe storms. The storms toppled trees and snapped power lines in the Chicago area, leaving some 300,000 customers without electric service. They left Houston for Chicago on two planes last Friday. This year, crews restored power to thousands of customers following severe weather in Oklahoma and ice storms in Dallas through mutual assistance agreements.

The Woodlands-based CB&I has agreed to buy the Lummus Global operations of Switzerland-based ABB in a $950 million deal. Lummus Global, which has three units in Houston, provides hardware and technology for the oil and gas and petrochemical businesses.

Cooper Industries, which has administrative headquarters in Houston, is acquiring io Lighting and Powerline Communications in two deals worth a total of $22 million, according to the Houston Business Bournal. io Lighting is a light-emitting diode lighting fixture company based in Illinois. Powerline Communications, which manufactures digital lighting control panels, is based in Vermont.

The nation’s top economists see the sub-prime meltdown and the credit crunch as the biggest near-term threats to U.S. growth. A survey released by the National Association for Business Economics indicates those concerns have topped terrorism as the greatest worry in the short-term. Longer-term, the group sees rising health care costs and an aging population as the most serious challenges facing the U.S. economy. NABE says the market turmoil is considered a short-term risk because the five-year outlook for housing is still strong. More surveyed members expect home values to appreciate in the next five years than fall. Very few expect a serious drop in home prices in the next five years. The survey is based on the views of 258 members of the trade group.

A Spacehab subsidiary has been awarded its first fully-funded contract under the Vandenberg Air Force Base indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract. Webster-based Spacehab’s Astrotech Space Operations won the contract for the ocean surface topography mission, set to launch from the California base in mid-2008. The mission will measure sea surface height to an accuracy of less than four centimeters every ten days to help better understand ocean circulation and its effect on global climate.

The staffing industry’s second-quarter employment of three million workers is a record, according to the American Staffing Association. That’s a 4.8 percent increase in workers employed than in the first quarter.

Dallas-based Provident Realty Advisors has purchased 2,795 acres on Bolivar Peninsula near High Island, according to the Houston Chronicle. Cade Ranch is one of the largest beachfront properties on the Gulf Coast, with more than 13,000 feet of frontage on the Gulf of Mexico and Intracoastal Waterway.

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has approved a $293 million expansion that will add nine floors to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, according to the Houston Business Journal. The expansion adds 300 beds as well as pharmaceutical facilities and nursing stations. Renovations will be made to existing top floors and a mechanical floor is being added. Construction begins this fall and is expected to be completed by 2013.

Quality Infusion Care has sold its eight-story office building on U.S. 59 South to NHP Houston MOB, but the firm has no plans to move, according to the Houston Chronicle. The company has leased it back from the owner for a ten-year term, with options for renewal.

Acer says it plans to buy computer maker Gateway for $710 million in a deal that will push the Taiwanese company past China’s Lenovo Group as the world’s third largest vendor of personal computers. Acer says it is offering to buy Gateway for $1.90 per share. That’s a premium of 57 percent to Gateway’s Friday closing price. It is only two percent of Gateway’s high of $82.50 in late 1999. With the acquisition, Acer will absorb a company founded in 1985 in an Iowa farmhouse and known for packaging computers in cow-spotted boxes. Now based in Irvine, California, Gateway struggled in recent years amid fierce competition and had difficulty selling its products over the Internet and the phone.

A group backed by various companies plans to seek legislation next year to revamp the Louisiana workers compensation system. Backers want changes along the lines of updates made recently in Texas and California. Louisianians for Workers Compensation reform says the cost of claims and coverage in the state is too high. The group suggests setting up a stricter and more consistent set of guidelines for how injured workers would get care through medical provider networks. The lobbying effort could be the biggest push for change since lawmakers created a workers comp program in the early 1990s, a time when insurers were leaving the state because of the high costs of claims.

A Houston company is launching a free social networking Web site on September 1st called, according to the Houston Business Journal. The site will provide those in the arts, theater, culinary, fashion, music, film, photography and written fields to socialize. Yippykya has been capitalized by more than $2 million in investments.

Yahoo! is introducing new features for its Web-based e-mail program. They include software that allows computer users to type text messages on a keyboard and send them directly to someone’s cell phone. The enhancements make it easier to send e-mail, instant messages or text messages from a single Web site. There won’t be a need to launch or toggle between separate applications or devices. It will take up to six weeks for all the new features to become available to all 254 million Yahoo! mail subscribers in 21 languages worldwide.

Let’s see the counterfeiters match this. When the new $100 bill comes out, it’ll seem to be alive. The Associated Press has learned that the Ben Franklin bill, which is the one that’s most frequently copied by counterfeiters outside the U.S., will contain a new security thread. And the way it works looks like something out of the Hogwarts School. It uses a combination of micro-printing and hundreds of thousands of tiny lenses. The lenses magnify the tiny printing so that if you move the bill from side to side, the image appears to move up and down. Move the bill up and down, and the image seems to move from side to side. The redesign of the bill is about one-third complete. The bill is expected to go into circulation late next year.

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