Business & Technology

Business
2:21 am
Wed September 5, 2012

'Quite Good' May Not Be Good Enough For GM

The General Motors logo is displayed atop the Renaissance Center in Detroit. The automaker, while doing much better following the government bailout, is still lagging some of its competitors.
Carlos Osorio AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 3:54 pm

When you talk to car people about General Motors, they all say the company has gotten better.

"I think General Motors, productwise, is in a better position than it's been in a decade or so," says Jack Nerad of Kelley Blue Book. "The new products, we feel ... are all quite good."

Like many people, however, Nerad adds an important caveat. He says GM's improvement doesn't mean the company is completely out of the woods, because the competition is very good as well.

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Hornbeck Offshore Services
6:08 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

Hornbeck to spend $230M on new boats, upgrades

Hornbeck Offshore Services Inc. will spend $180 million to build four vessels in anticipation of increased demand for oilfield supply vessels in the Gulf of Mexico and Latin America.

New Orleans CityBusiness reported Tuesday that the Covington-based company plans to exercise the first four of 48 options to build the supply vessels, which will be delivered in late 2014 and early 2015.

The plans are part of a building program the company launched in November. Hornbeck already has 16 new vessels under construction at U.S. shipyards.

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Port of New Orleans
4:35 pm
Tue September 4, 2012

LaGrange to receive port award

Port of New Orleans President Gary LaGrange has been selected to receive the C. Alvin Bertel Award.

The presentation by the World Trade Center of New Orleans will take place during a luncheon Sept. 26 at the Westin Canal Place Hotel. The award is presented annually in recognition of outstanding contributions to ports in the New Orleans area.

More information on the award luncheon is available by calling 504-619-9834.

Business
11:25 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Shaw sells energy, chemicals unit

The Shaw Group Inc. has completed the $290 million sale of its Energy and Chemicals business to Technip.

The Energy and Chemicals sale, which was completed on Friday, also helps Baton Rouge-based Shaw meet one of the requirements for Shaw to eventually be acquired by CB&I -- having at least $800 million in cash.

Shaw and Technip announced their deal on May 21, and the sale of the Energy and Chemicals unit was expected to close by the end of August.

The company said the sale will give Shaw an adjusted cash balance of around $1.3 billion.

The Two-Way
10:28 am
Tue September 4, 2012

Big Three All Posted Double-Digit Gains In Auto Sales Last Month

A Dodge Ram pickup on sale at Criswell Chrysler Jeep Dodge in Gaithersburg, Md.
Gary Cameron Reuters /Landov

"All three Detroit automakers saw double-digit sales increases in August compared with the same month last year," the Detroit Free Press writes. The gains "show that the automotive industry remains one of the economy's few bright spots," it adds.

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All Tech Considered
3:53 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

When A Kickstarter Campaign Fails, Does Anyone Get Their Money Back?

In seeking financial backers for her Ouya game console, Julie Uhrman was looking for about $1 million. The business received far more than that amount.
Kickstarter

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:48 pm

Crowd funding began as a way to support the arts on the Internet. Artists could go online to pitch a new album, for example, in the hope that thousands would give small amounts. But now it's expanded to entrepreneurs, and the rules aren't quite as clear.

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Out to Lunch
1:00 pm
Mon September 3, 2012

Company Social

Peter, with guests Megan Hardgroder and Will Scott.
Grant Morris It's New Orleans

Peter's guests address the philosophical Cartesian conundrum, "I Tweet therefore I am." If your business is not on Twitter or Facebook, do you really exist?

Megan Hardgroder is the founder of Conversations, focused on using social media to make small businesses effective online.

Will Scott is the founder of Search Influence, the largest online marketing firm on the Gulf Coast, working with over 1,000 local businesses.

Asia
5:24 am
Sun September 2, 2012

Pakistan's Lone Brewery Sets Sights On India

Isphanyar Bhandara, the head of Pakistan's only brewery, Murree Brewery, sits at his grandfather's desk at the headquarters in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad. Bhandara's grandfather was a director at the brewery when Pakistan gained independence in 1947, and he bought a controlling stake in the company. The brewery has been run by the Bhandara family ever since.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Sun September 2, 2012 10:46 pm

Islamic Pakistan has just one brewery, but it has a rich history.

Bottles of beer have been rolling off Murree Brewery's assembly line since 1860, when the company was founded outside the capital Islamabad — making it Pakistan's oldest private company.

"The brewery was here before Pakistan was here," says CEO Isphanyar Bhandara.

Sitting at his grandfather's desk, he tastes new samples and describes how he ended up running a brewery in a Muslim country, where alcohol is virtually banned.

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The Salt
7:03 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Want To Grill Like A Zillionaire? There's An App For That

The iGrill on display at Macworld 2011in San Francisco.
Tony Avelar Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:14 pm

There are so many cooking apps out there, it's easy to get lost. Good thing the iGrill has Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on its side.

Sales of the $80 device spiked by 400 percent after Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Aug. 19 with an enthusiastic thumbs up for the iGrill, a cooking thermometer that uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

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Economy
4:55 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

Weekly claims for unemployment insurance rise

First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending Aug. 25, increased from the previous week's total.

The state labor department figures released Friday show the initial claims increased to 2,956 from the previous week's total of 2,835. Initial claims were below the comparable week a year earlier at 3,648.

The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,055 from the previous week's total of 2,963.

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