Vanguard Caged By Bankruptcy
Vanguard Airlines grounded its aircraft and
dismissed its employees on July 30th. Over 1,000 employees were let go
with little more forewarning than the general knowlege their employer
was in trouble. The company had been close to folding before and had found
extra financing at the last minute, said CEO Scott Dickson. They had hoped
to do the same this time as well. The airline had struggled since its
founding in 1994 to become a profitable business.
To Restructure Debt
Birch Telecom announced its filing of Chapter
11 as the concluding step of its debt restructuring. The company will
reduce its institutional debt from $310 million to $100 million by exchanging
it for equity in the company. With a strong improvement in operating cash
flow over the last year, the company expects to quickly emerge from Chapter
Also effected by the industry, BizSpace Inc., founded in 1996, has closed
its doors. The telecommunication industry pulled down the Internet publishing
company, which had 14 employees operating nine Web sites in the industry
before it closed on July 31.
The Dodson Group Resizes
The Dodson Group reduced its work force by
63 positions due to the need to reduce expenses and remain competitive
in the insurance industry. Six employees were bridged into retirement
and all were offered severance packages.
Area Banks Building Branches
Gold Bank, of Leawood, announced plans to
buy four Encore Bank branches in Johnson County. Deposits for those branches
total $144 million, and the sale is expected to close by Sept. 30. The
Encore branches would expand Gold Banks coverage in Fairway, Mission
and Prairie Village.
Valley View Bancshares Inc. completed its acquisition of Guaranty Bank
& Trust earlier this year and is now planning to merge the banks
five branches into two of Valley Views banks. Security Bank of Kansas
City will acquire Guarantys Kansas City, Kan., branches while First
Bank of Missouri, based in Gladstone, will obtain one branch in Pattonsburg
and two in Clay County.
Lafarge Unveils New Plant
Lafarge North America is digging in for the
long haul in Sugar Creek. Its new $200 million, state-of-the-art cement
plant sits on a 700-foot-deep mine that is estimated to provide resources
for more than 100 years.
The plant is capable of producing one million tons of finished cement
annually and will allow the company a more competitive stance in the industry.
For the Kansas City economy the plant will also produce an estimated $9
million in payroll per year. The new technology employed at the plant
will serve as a model for future cement production facilities throughout
the industry, according to John Stull, president of Lafarge North America
PB&J Joins Up With
PB&J Restaurants have signed an exclusive
development agreement with Colorado-based Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and
Spirits for the state of Kansas and multiple counties in Missouri. The
deal calls for an initial seven new restaurants in the area. One will
open in southern Johnson County and one in Independence, Mo., as soon
as the beginning of 2003. The Red Robin Gourment Burgers chain operates
191 restaurants in 24 states and Canada..
Sprint To Layoff 1,100
Continuing to focus on meeting its financial
commitments and reduce operating expenses, Sprint announced that it would
reduce the Global Markets Group by 1,100 employees. The Sprint E|Solutions
group will be merged into the Sprint Business and Network Services departments.
The telecommunication company will also discontinue its three-year primary
sponsorship of NASCAR driver Kyle Petty at the end of the 2002 season..
DED Regional Offices Close
Budget cuts have been a strain on most state
agencies this year. The Missouri Department of Economic Development general
revenue funding dropped from $63.5 million to $41 million in fiscal year
2002 and has forced the closing of its seven regional offices. The offices
were located in Trenton, Moberly, Dexter, Houston, Springfield, Kansas
City and St. Louis and housed 41 employees.
Congress works to shore up accounting
The House voted 423 to 3 and the Senate
voted 99 to 0 to pass the Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor
Protection Act of 2002. The bill, which President Bush has stated his
intent to sign into law, tightens the reins on accounting practices by
holding top executives to a higher level of respons- ibility for their
companies accounting documents. Financial statements are to be accompanied
by a written statement signed by the CEO and CFO that certifies their
accuracy. The consequences for falsifying the documents are the loss of
any bonus, incentive-based compensation or profits realized from the sale
of securities in the 12 months following the issued financial reports.
The legislation also creates a five-member oversight board that will have
the power to investigate, subpoena and discipline accountants who examine
public companies financial documents to ensure adherence to FASB standards.
Holden signs new insurance regulations
A bill restricting the use of credit information by insurers was signed
into law by Gov. Bob Holden. The bill, which takes effect July 1, 2003,
prohibits insurers from taking adverse action against an applicant or
currently insured individual when the credit information is the only underwriting
The bill also provides against adversely using credit-report information
that the insurer knows to be in current dispute or using the number of
insurance inquiries an applicant has made from being used negatively in
Funds for Kan-Ed network
Added telephone fees will pay for the continued construction of the Kan-Ed
network. The network was established in April 2001 and is working to link
all schools, libraries, hospitals and cities with high-speed connections
to increase economic and educational development.