Business Briefs

Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2000

Cross Timbers borrows to repay loans

Forth Worth, Texas-based Cross Timbers Oil Co. says it has received $850 million revolving credit facility through 23 U. S. and international banks.

Initial loans total $800 million. Based on outstanding bank debt March 3, roughly $109 million of the facility remains uncommitted.

Cross Timbers used the proceeds to retire prior bank debts. It put up its oil and gas properties as security. It can repay the loans at any time without penalties.

J.P. Morgan Securities Inc., Bank of America Securities LLC, Chase Securities Inc. and FleetBoston Robertson Stephens Inc. lead the banking group.

"We are pleased with the results of this loan syndication and value the support of our banks," said Louis G. Baldwin, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Phillips licenses sulfur-removal process

Phillips Petroleum Co. has licensed its sulfur-removal technology to Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC.

The license allows Marathon Ashland to install the process at seven refineries representing 6 percent of total U.S. refining capacity.

Phillips developed the process to help oil companies comply with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations that require significant reductions in the sulfur content of gasoline by 2004.

Conventional sulfur-reducing technologies can result in a loss of octane and volume in the manufacturing process, Phillips said. The Phillips process lowers the sulfur content in gasoline with minimal loss of octane and volume and costs no more to implement. It uses a regenerative sorbent that chemically attracts sulfur and removes it from gasoline blendstocks.

"We believe our technology is superior to any other being developed to satisfy EPA requirements," said Brian Evans, fuels technology manager.

Halibut 100 draws 120 anglers

The second annual Halibut 100, a one-day derby sponsored by the Kenai Peninsula Tourism Marketing Council, drew 120 anglers Saturday. More than half the participants came from outside the Kenai Peninsula.

Last year's Halibut 100 took place in Homer and drew 103 entries. This year, the derby expanded to include Seward and Ninilchik. Faron Owen, marketing council executive director, said there were roughly 75 Homer entries, 80 from Seward and 37 from Ninilchik.

"Some of the Anchorage people that drove to Homer last year may have stopped in Ninilchik this year," he said.

Of the 120 entries, 12 came from outside Alaska, 53 came from Anchorage and the rest live on the Kenai Peninsula.

To draw more entries next year, the marketing council will consider running Anchorage television and radio advertisements, Owen said.

This year's winner was Tom Barkman of Anchorage, whose 52-pound, 2-ounce fish came closest to the 53-pound target weight announced shortly before the derby. Barkman, who fished with Silver Fox Charters in Homer, won $3,000.

Harold Shirey of Anchorage took second place and $1,440 for a 52-pound halibut caught with Catch-A-Lot Charters of Ninilchik.

Barry Wright of Ninilchik took third and $720 for a 54-pound, 2 ounce halibut caught with Saltwater Adventures of Ninilchik.

Dave Baumann of Palmer took fourth and $360 for a 54-pound, 3-ounce halibut caught aboard the Homer charter vessel Obsession.

Peter Hardy of Anchorage took fifth and $240 for a 51-pound, 6-ounce halibut caught with Crackerjack Charters of Seward.

In addition, Doris Andrews of Anchorage won $500 in a drawing from tickets purchased before May 11. North Country Charters in Homer, which carried the most derby entrants, won a free advertisement in the marketing council's 2001 visitor guide.

Excel enters Alaska market

Dallas-based Excel Communications Inc. now offers long distance plans, calling cards, toll-free services and Internet service in Kenai, North Kenai, Soldotna and Homer.

Excel recently announced the advent of service in those and 14 other Alaska communities and said it will expand into six other Alaska communities within a month.

Homer lures spring visitors

Homer businesses offer a host of specials this Friday, Saturday and Sunday in a campaign to lure more spring visitors to Homer recreational opportunities.

There are numerous $20 specials and 2-for-1 offers for lodging, sight-seeing and fishing, according to the Homer Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the Homer Exposure weekend.

Big minus tides make this a good weekend for clam diggers, tidepoolers and beach walkers.

Alaska Nitrogen Products cuts emissions

The 1997 installation of new water scrubbers and flares cut emissions from the Alaska Nitrogen Products LLC plant in Nikiski by 53 percent, according to Unocal, which recently agreed to sell the plant to a Canadian firm.

Unocal reported the reduction in its 1998 Toxic Release Inventory filing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The 1998 numbers are the most recent available.

Ammonia accounts for 91 percent of the plant's emissions. The water scrubbers trap ammonia, which is recovered and returned to the process stream. The flares burn ammonia, producing nitrogen and water vapor.

Unocal says it has cut the plant's emissions by nearly 70 percent since 1993.

First National wins A+ rating

Weiss Ratings Inc. gave First National Bank of Anchorage an A+ rating for financial security. First National also remains on the Weiss recommended list of companies, which represents the top 28.1 percent of banks and thrifts.

Weiss rates financial institutions for financial security, capital adequacy, asset quality, profitability, liquidity and stability.

"Over the last year, we have increased outstanding loans to an all-time high while maintaining our strong financial integrity," said Betsy Lawer, First National's chief operating officer and vice chair.

First National recently declared a dividend of $8 per share payable June 15 to shareholders of record as of June 1.

Mortgage delinquencies down

Alaska Housing Finance Corp. reported a 3.4 percent delinquency rate in March for first mortgages on single-family homes, excluding mobile homes. That is down from a rate of 3.85 percent in February and from 3.51 percent in March 1999.

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