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Brock: Entergy cutting 165 jobs in Arkansas

Posted: August 3, 2013 - 4:51pm

An unfavorable tax ruling dropped Entergy Corp.’s net income by 55 percent and the New Orleans-based electric utility company said it would cut nearly 800 jobs across its multi-state footprint.

Nearly 165 jobs will be shed in Arkansas, where Entergy is the state’s largest electric utility provider. The company employs approximately 2,750 workers in the state.

Entergy Arkansas President Hugh McDonald said no front-line workers in the field would lose their jobs, but he expects a call center to close in Little Rock by the middle of 2014.

Murphy Oil earnings see second quarter boost

Murphy Oil Corp., which is poised to spin off its retail and refinery operations, posted higher second quarter net income compared to one year ago. The El Dorado-based oil and gas company recorded earnings of $402.6 million, or $2.12 per diluted share, compared to $295.4 million, or $1.52 per diluted share, one year ago.

Revenues climbed to $7.21 billion for the quarter, up from $7.15 billion in the previous year’s second quarter. A contributing factor to the boost in income was an after-tax gain of $71.9 million from the sale of two oil fields during the just completed quarter.

Acxiom retooling efforts after first quarter ‘bad luck’

Acxiom Corp. saw revenues slide and earnings hold close to unchanged, as company leaders disclosed a string of lost business and efforts to turn around what leaders called “bad luck.” The Little Rock-based data marketer and management company reported first quarter earnings of $13.18 million compared to $13.33 million one year ago. Revenues dipped from $271.66 million in last year’s first quarter to $266.19 million in the most recent period.

Metropolitan National Bank posts profit

Metropolitan National Bank cleared a $1.28 million second-quarter profit, a big improvement from its $423,000 net loss one year ago. The Little Rock-based privately held financial institution is undergoing a somewhat convoluted ownership change in the wake of former major shareholder Doyle Rogers’ death and a regulatory consent order to shore up its capital ratios. For the first six months of 2013, Metropolitan’s total net income was $1.9 million.

KATV, Allbritton stations selling to Sinclair Broadcast Group

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase the stock of the holding company that owns Little Rock’s KATV Ch. 7 and other Allbritton TV stations for $985 million. KATV is the ABC affiliate in the Little Rock television market. The markets included in the sale include Little Rock, Washington, D.C., Birmingham, Ala.; Harrisburg, Pa.; Tulsa, Okla.; Roanoke/Lynchburg, Va.; and Charleston, S.C.

Cobb-Vantress takes majority stake in China venture

Tyson Foods subsidiary, Cobb-Vantress, has taken a majority shareholder position in China-based integrated chicken producer Hubei Tong Xing Agriculture Co., LTD. The joint venture company, officially known as Hubei Tong Xing Cobb Breeding Company, will be 85 percent owned by Cobb and 15 percent by Tong Xing. The two firms will invest $35 million to establish hatchery facilities in the city of Suizhou and start producing parent stock early in 2015.

Argenta Innovation Center announced

Following the trend of other successful local business incubators across the state, downtown North Little Rock will be the new home to the latest entrepreneurial hub, the Argenta Innovation Center. The center, which has raised close to half of its $2.5 million goal from private sources, will be the first phase of the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub, which will house three inter-connected ventures that will work together to provide education, training, prototyping and start-up and entrepreneurial opportunities.

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 website address is www.talkbusiness.net

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