Houston Chronicle Sunday - - BUSINESS - From staff and wire re­ports

Mon­day Change for tech cen­ter

The Hous­ton Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter, largely con­sid­ered a found­ing fa­ther of tech startup as­sis­tance lo­cally, is be­ing folded into a new or­ga­ni­za­tion called Hous­ton Ex­po­nen­tial as part of an ini­tia­tive to boost Hous­ton’s ap­peal to tech­nol­ogy in­vestors and in­no­va­tors. “Hous­ton Tech­nol­ogy Cen­ter, as it was es­tab­lished, met that ex­ist­ing need at that mo­ment. But look at where we are right now,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “And quite frankly, we’ve been los­ing ground.”

Hal­libur­ton puts up fight

Hal­libur­ton said it sharply in­creased its rev­enue from a year ear­lier, show­ing that it doesn’t plan to cede its place as the world’s No. 2 en­ergy ser­vices com­pany to its Hous­ton ri­val Baker Hughes, which merged in the sum­mer with Gen­eral Elec­tric’s oil and gas divi­sion.

Kelly blasts O’Reilly

Megyn Kelly took on her for­mer Fox News Chan­nel col­league Bill O’Reilly in blunt terms, re­veal­ing she had gone to her bosses to com­plain about O’Reilly’s be­hav­ior and say­ing the size of a newly re­vealed $32 mil­lion set­tle­ment of ha­rass­ment charges made by a Fox an­a­lyst was “jaw-drop­ping.”

Cranes fin­ish jour­ney

Three 270-foot-tall cranes ar­rived at Bar­bours Cut Con­tainer Ter­mi­nal after a three-month trip from China. Once in­stalled, they will give Bar­bours Cut seven cranes ca­pa­ble of load­ing and un­load­ing the larger ships that can now tra­verse the ex­panded Panama Canal.

Tues­day Heights H-E-B ahead

After Heights res­i­dents struck down a cen­tury-old ban on off-premise al­co­hol sales in part to make way for H-E-B to ex­pand into their neigh­bor­hood, the San An­to­nio-based gro­cery chain kept its end of the bar­gain, break­ing ground on a two-story project that is ex­pected to give a lift to lo­cal re­de­vel­op­ment.

Ra­dio-TV rule falls

Fed­eral reg­u­la­tors have voted to elim­i­nate a long­stand­ing rule cov­er­ing ra­dio and tele­vi­sion sta­tions, in a move that could ul­ti­mately re­shape Amer­ica’s me­dia land­scape. The reg­u­la­tion, which was adopted al­most 80 years ago, re­quires broad­cast­ers to have a phys­i­cal stu­dio in or near the ar­eas where they have a li­cense to trans­mit TV or ra­dio sig­nals. The rule had en­sured that res­i­dents of a com­mu­nity could have a say in a lo­cal broad­cast sta­tion’s op­er­a­tions.

Wed­nes­day For­eign cat­tle sales climb

See­ing strong beef de­mand, Viet­namese pro­duc­ers have been in­vest­ing in their herds. That’s why 10 Brah­man bulls were loaded onto a cargo plane at Bush In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Air­port for a trip across the Pa­cific. In­ter­na­tional sales of Texas cat­tle are not new, but they are in­creas­ing.

Big plant in the works

Lyon­del­lBasell said it planned to build a more than $2 bil­lion petro­chem­i­cal and plas­tics plant along the Gulf Coast, but a fi­nal de­ci­sion on whether to go for­ward with the project is likely a year away.

‘Re­tail will re­bound’

Ex­ec­u­tives from Weingarten Realty ad­dressed fall­out from Hur­ri­cane Har­vey, an­nounced a large lease with a prom­i­nent vet­eri­nary clinic and dis­cussed head­winds fac­ing the re­tail in­dus­try. “Gen­er­ally speak­ing, re­tail comes back a lot quicker than other things,” pres­i­dent and CEO Drew Alexan­der said. “Peo­ple need to re­plen­ish their clos­ets and their freez­ers. Har­vey was an in­cal­cu­la­ble, huge, unique amount of rain, but I do think the city and re­tail will re­bound from it.”

Toy­ota changes course

Toy­ota Mo­tor Corp. con­firmed that a planned Mex­ico auto plant is be­ing scaled back, but a top ex­ec­u­tive said the de­ci­sion was driven by mar­ket needs and was not a po­lit­i­cal move. The in­vest­ment for the Gua­na­ju­ato plant will fall to $700 mil­lion from the $1 bil­lion com­mit­ment an­nounced in 2015. An­nual pro­duc­tion will de­crease to half at 100,000, the com­pany said, and in­stead of Corol­las be­ing as­sem­bled at the plant, work­ers there will build Ta­coma pick­ups.

Open door for Ama­zon

Ama­zon said it will launch a ser­vice called Ama­zon Key next month that will let peo­ple al­low the door to be un­locked when they’re not there so pack­ages can be left in­side.

Thurs­day Group 1 sets sales records

Group 1 Automotive deal­er­ships in Hous­ton and Beau­mont set records for new ve­hi­cles sold dur­ing the weeks after Hur­ri­cane Har­vey. Some dou­bled their typ­i­cal new-ve­hi­cle sales for Septem­ber. “We’ve never seen any­thing like that be­fore, and I don’t think we’ll ever see any­thing like that again,” pres­i­dent and CEO Earl Hester­berg told in­vestors dur­ing an earn­ings call.

Rev­enue up for waste gi­ant

Hous­ton-based Waste Man­age­ment re­ported a 4.7 per­cent rise in rev­enue in its third quar­ter, with ex­pected gains to come from pro­cess­ing Hur­ri­cane Har­vey de­bris.

St­ing from hur­ri­canes

The fi­nan­cial dam­age from the hur­ri­canes that struck Texas, Florida and the Caribbean in re­cent months crossed the At­lantic when Ger­man in­surer Mu­nich Re warned that vir­tu­ally all of its profit this year would be wiped out by the hor­ren­dous cost of the dis­as­ters..

Fri­day Health plan breach

About 900 Texas Chil­dren’s Health Plan mem­bers were no­ti­fied by mail that their per­sonal and med­i­cal in­for­ma­tion may have been com­pro­mised in a se­cu­rity breach late last year.

Strong lo­cal pres­ence

Hous­ton-area com­pa­nies made a strong show­ing on the Ag­gie 100 list of fastest-grow­ing com­pa­nies. Twenty-seven Ag­gie-owned or op­er­ated busi­nesses in the greater Hous­ton area earned spots on the list.

God­ofredo A. Vasquez / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

A crate car­ry­ing Brah­man bulls is loaded into the Boe­ing 747 plane that will take them from IAH to Viet­nam.

Les­lie Plaza John­son

The Zhen Hua 13 brought gi­ant ship-to-shore cranes to the Port of Hous­ton Au­thor­ity at Mor­gan’s Point last week.


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