Business Briefs for Dec. 4, 2006

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Dec. 4, 2006 12:00 am  

• The Moll Industries plant at Fort Smith has been sold to River Bend Industries. The purchase price of the plastics manufacturer was not disclosed. Moll, based in Dallas, had announced that it was closing the plant, which employed 137 people. Most of those workers are expected to be hired by River Bend, which will take over the plant this month.
• Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it planned to offer banking services in Mexico in the second half of 2007. Mexico's treasury secretary approved the opening of five new banks, including one by Wal-Mart de Mexico S.A. (Walmex), the country's largest retailer.
• Michael Brown, senior executive vice president with IberiaBank Corp. of Lafayette, La., will oversee the management of all of the company's markets, including Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee and Oklahoma. Brown's wealth management responsibilities will include the trust business the company is buying in Arkansas through its purchase of Pulaski Investment Corp., the holding company for Pulaski Bank & Trust of Little Rock. As part of his promotion, Brown will move from Louisiana to Little Rock. In addition to buying Pulaski Bank, IberiaBank also bought Pocahontas Bancorp of Jonesboro.
• Russ Harrington, president and CEO of Baptist Health, was recently elected chairman of the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce for 2007. He succeeds Randy Wilbourn of Alltel Corp. Elizabeth Small, CEO of PDC Cos., is the new chairman-elect. New board members are Ronnie Dedman of AT&T, Jeff Gardner of Windstream Communications, Dr. Mary Good of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Jeff Hildebrand of First Security Bank, Mike Maulden with Entergy Arkansas, David Schindler of Pulaski Bank & Trust Co., Gordon Silaski with Twin City Bank and Tom Schueck of Lexicon Inc.
• HSAToday, a comprehensive administration system for health savings accounts, has been selected by Provident Bank of Baltimore to serve as its mutual fund investment platform for health savings accounts. The HSA plan is offered by DataPath Inc. of Little Rock, a management-owned, privately held company that produces software for administering employee benefit plans.
• DHL, the express delivery unit of Deutsche Post, said prices in the United States would increase up to 5.9 percent next year. Prices for its Domestic Air Express and International Express services will rise 3.9 percent. Excluding a 2 percent reduction in the company's air fuel surcharge index, the real price increase is 5.9 percent. Rates for DHL Ground shipments and DHL@home products will increase 4.9 percent. The new rates will be effective Jan. 1.
• The Little Rock Port Authority is hosting an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 20 at the Port Authority office at 7500 Lindsey Road.
• The Arkansas Bar Center, the home of the Arkansas Bar Foundation and Arkansas Bar Association, has relocated to 2224 Cottondale Lane in the Riverdale area of Little Rock.
• State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the largest insurer of autos in Arkansas and in the nation, has lowered its overall rate level in Arkansas an average of 4.4 per-cent. This means an annual savings of $13.4 million to Arkansas customers. Premiums for the collision coverage are decreasing the most. The price of the liability and medical payments coverage is also going down. The cost of the comprehensive coverage will go up for most customers.
• Gunner DeLay, the former Republi-can candidate for state attorney general, has been appointed by Gov. Mike Huckabee to be prosecuting attorney for the 12th Judicial District in Sebastian County. Delay, who was in the state House of Representatives and state Senate, will fill the unexpired term of Stephen Tabor, who was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Judge Jim Marchewski as Circuit Judge in the 12th Judicial District in Sebastian County.
• Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has announced a campaign to sell 100 million compact fluorescent light bulbs at its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations by the end of 2007. If it achieves its goal, customers could save customers as much as $3 billion in electrical costs over the life of the CFLs.



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