• Comment

Roby Brock

Posted: October 13, 2012 - 8:17pm

Arkansans may not be voting to expand casino operations in the state this year, but that won’t stop gamblers from playing the slots.

Electronic games of skill (EGS) wagering at Arkansas’ two racetracks and casinos set a new record topping $2 billion for the year with three months to go. The cumulative total of EGS wagering is the highest since the gambling began in late 2006. For all of 2011, EGS gambling at the two tracks totaled $1.967 billion. EGS wagers include video blackjack, poker and slot machines.

Bank of the Ozarks reported net income for the quarter ended September 30, 2012 of $19.3 million, a 2.0% increase from $18.9 million for the third quarter of 2011. Diluted earnings per common share for the third quarter of 2012 were $0.55, unchanged from $0.55 for the third quarter of 2011.

For the nine months ended September 30, 2012, net income totaled $56.4 million, a 32.7% decrease from net income of $83.8 million for the first nine months of 2011. Diluted earnings per common share for the first nine months of 2012 were $1.62, a 33.3% decrease from $2.43 for the first nine months of 2011.

Lowell-based J.B. Hunt Transport Services reported third-quarter revenue was up 11 percent and net income was up 13.9 percent. Net earnings rose 14 percent to $78.2 million in the current quarter from $68.7 million in 2011, primarily due to the growth of revenue, slightly less interest expense and a slightly lower tax rate.

Intermodal revenue during the quarter was $794 million, up 15 percent, with operating income up 25 percent to $97.9 million. Dedicated contract services segment saw revenue increase 1 percent to $273 million, with operating income up 14 percent to $25.6 million. The integrated capacity solutions segment posted quarterly revenue of $121 million, up 30 percent. Operating income was $5.5 million, up 43 percent. Trucking segment revenue was down 8 percent, with operating income falling 41 percent compared to the same quarter of 2011.

Arkansas Best Corp. and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters have agreed to begin negotiations toward a new labor contract for about 7,800 unionized company employees. The dealing is set to begin Dec. 18. Most of the 7,800 are drivers, but the union membership also includes dockworkers, mechanics and office staff. Arkansas Best employs more than 10,000.

Entergy Arkansas said it will close a Pine Bluff systems operations center by the middle of 2015, eliminating 100 jobs at the location and possibly moving some of them to Little Rock. Entergy’s parent company, Entergy Corp., is consolidating six system operations sites in multiple states to two centers in Little Rock and Jackson, Miss.

The decisions to consolidate involve aging facilities, expiring leases and proximity to hurricane regions. Currently, the six centers are in

Beaumont, Texas; West Monroe and Gretna in Louisiana; Jackson, Miss.; and Little Rock and Pine Bluff.

Firestone Building Products Co. held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its Prescott manufacturing plant to celebrate the completion of a $36 million expansion project. The expansion project included adding 52,500 square feet to the facility and 100 new jobs to the existing workforce. The company also celebrated one million hours worked without a lost-time accident.

The University of the Ozarks Board of Trustees has elected Richard L.

“Rich” Dunsworth, J.D., as the university’s 25th president, effective July 1, 2013. Dunsworth, 43, has served as vice president for enrollment at Millikin University in Illinois, since 2004. He will succeed Dr. Rick Niece, who is retiring in June after a 16-year tenure as president of the private, Presbyterian-affiliated university.

Dunsworth, who has a juris doctorate from the University of Illinois, has been at Millikin since 1991, including stints in student life and academic development. In his role as vice president for enrollment, he oversees numerous departments, including admission, athletics, financial aid, institutional research, marketing, media relations, registrar and student development.

Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his Web site address is www.talkbusiness.net.

  • Comment