SHIPPER CONSOLIDATES IN TAMPA: The container shipping division of Calgary-based Canadian Pacific Limited is consolidating its information systems activities from sites in California and England to Tampa, creating about 100 new jobs here. The shipping unit, called CP Ships, next month plans to begin hiring up to 100 systems analysts and architects, systems developers and network and database administrators. It also will need another 50 contractors and consultants to run the operation, which will be based at Netprk, an east Tampa business park.
RAYMOND JAMES BANK INCOME FLAT: Raymond James Bank of St. Petersburg said net income for its fiscal third quarter ended June 30 dipped 0.4 percent to $1.031-million from $1.035-million in the year-ago quarter. Theresa Schefstad, bank president and chief executive, said net margins were hurt by rapidly falling interest rates. The falling rates, however, also have caused a substantial increase in refinances, leading to record residential lending volume, she said.
ALLSTATE ENTERS BANKING: Allstate Corp. has won approval from the Office of Thrift Supervision to begin offering FDIC-insured banking products and services through its business unit, the Allstate Financial Group. The Allstate Bank expects to offer a range of banking products geared toward retirement savings, from savings accounts to certificates of deposit, beginning Sept. 30. The bank's services will be available online, by telephone, through ATMs and at participating Allstate agencies.
AEROSONIC UPBEAT: Aerosonic Corp., the Clearwater aircraft instrument manufacturer, apparently is navigating around the economic turbulence hitting most business sectors. "The economy is not hurting us at all," Aerosonic chief executive J. Mervyn Nabors said after the company's annual meeting. "Our backlog is the highest in history, and we have several new programs we're working on." Citing restrictions on government projects, Nabors was vague about describing new contracts. He also was reluctant to project earnings for the rest of the year, except to say he is "very positive." The company is to report second-quarter results in mid-August.
Earnings FPL Group Inc.
The Juno Beach utility company said it increased its customer base during the quarter ended June 30 while growing its business in trading and generation projects outside the state. Operating results of $1.27 a share matched the average estimate of analysts.
Merck & Co. Inc.
For the three months ended June 30, drug company posted its smallest quarterly gain in eight years as it struggled to meet sales targets for the Vioxx painkiller. Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, N.J.
Per Share78 cents73 cents
The German-American automaker's income fell 58 percent in the quarter but still beat forecasts despite a big loss at its troubled Chrysler division and lower profits at its ailing commercial truck unit.
Per Share62 cents$1.47
Profits rose in the quarter ended June 30 despite lower sales. The Boston company's latest results matched expectations by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.
Per Share22 cents-31 cents