Chevron: Refinery fire fallout
Almost a thousand people have sought treatment near Chevron’s (CVX) Richmond refinery in northern California after a fire at the plant sent large plumes of smoke billowing over the area. Residents flocked to area medical centers with minor complaints, such as respiratory problems and eye irritations, after the blaze broke out on Aug. 6 at the 240,000-barrel-a-day refinery. Chevron has established a compensation fund to reimburse the medical expenses. It contained the fire in several hours but has struggled to get the refinery back in full operation. The fire and outage sent California spot gasoline prices spiking in the largest single-day increase since at least November 2007.
Defense industry: Executive pay dwarfs that of bankers
Chief executives of the top five U.S. military contractors earned a combined $107 million last year, 43 percent more than chiefs at the five biggest U.S. banks. (That’s a reversal from 2007, when defense execs got $97 million, 41 percent less than the bankers.) The defense chiefs probably won’t see their pay slide sharply even if the U.S. trims military spending, says Paul Dorf, managing director of Compensation Resources. Despite concerns about automatic budget cuts, he says, their companies have continued to generate investor returns.
DreamWorks: An entertainment district in Shanghai
Oriental DreamWorks, a Chinese venture of DreamWorks Animation SKG (DWA), will invest more than $3.1 billion to build a riverfront entertainment center in Shanghai that aims to rival New York’s Broadway and London’s West End. The Dream Center will include theaters, shops, restaurants, hotels, and a record-size Imax screen that can be used for film premieres and other events. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2016, around the same time as a previously announced $4.4 billion Shanghai Disneyland theme park.
Apple: Trying to push out YouTube
The next version of Apple’s (AAPL) mobile operating system, due out later this year, is slated to include more than 200 new features, but not Google’s (GOOG) YouTube. Apple didn’t renew a contract to pre-install YouTube for users of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, so people who want to watch the site’s latest videos will have to access it through a Web browser or download the app on their own. The relationship between the two companies has frayed as Google’s Android software has grown into the most widely used mobile platform.
Hewlett-Packard: A writedown for enterprise services
Technology giant Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) is taking an $8 billion writedown because of losses related to its 2008 purchase of Electronic Data Systems for $13.2 billion. HP is bringing in new leadership at the troubled unit, which competes with IBM to provide companies with computing services and outsourcing. HP says new management combined with job cuts should improve profits next quarter. It raised its third-quarter earnings forecast, excluding the charges, to $1 a share, up from a prior projection of between 94¢ and 97¢.