Business Notes


Versailles-based engineering company to open W.Va. office

A Versailles-based engineering company that provides technical services to the oil and natural gas industry plans to open an office in West Virginia. Energy Management Services Co. said Thursday it plans to hire 30 to 40 engineers within 12 to 18 months. Robert Tomblin, the Charleston branch manager, said the company is working on securing a location in Teays Valley. The company also has offices in Southfield, Mich.; Baytown, Texas; and Houston. Energy Management also provides technical services to the chemical, manufacturing, general industrial and utility industries, and to the U.S. government.

Community Trust raises dividend a cent

Community Trust Bancorp Inc. announced a 1-cent increase in its quarterly dividend on Friday. The new dividend of 30 cents a share will be payable Jan. 1 to shareholders of record on Dec. 15. Community Trust is a Pikeville-based banking company with 77 locations in Kentucky and West Virginia, and $2.9 billion in assets. The stock is listed by Nasdaq as CTBI.

Date for Cliffs shareholder vote changed

Iron ore producer Cliffs Natural Resources says it has received court approval to change the date of a shareholder vote on its proposed $3.3 billion takeover of coal mine operator Alpha Natural Resources. Cleveland-based Cliffs said the new Dec. 19 date can't be changed without the OK of Alpha or a judge. Alpha, which has a division in Letcher County, had sought a court order Monday requiring Cliffs to hold the shareholder vote Nov. 21 — the date agreed upon by both companies.

Comair comes in last in September

Comair, whose main hub is the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, had the worst on-time performance of any U.S. airline in September, the Transportation Department said Friday. Overall, the U.S. airlines' on-time performance and baggage handling improved in September, though the carriers overall posted a higher rate of domestic cancellations compared with the same month a year ago. The DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics said the 19 carriers reporting on-time performance recorded an overall on-time arrival rate of 84.9 percent in September, higher than the 81.7 percent recorded a year earlier and 78.4 percent recorded in August of this year. Second-to-last in August, Comair's on-time arrival rate in September was 77.4 percent. Atlanta-based Delta's on-time arrival rate ranked ninth in September, at 84.4 percent. Hawaiian Airlines had the best performance.


Consumer borrowing up in September

The Federal Reserve says consumers boosted their borrowing in September, defying expectations for a cutback. The Federal Reserve's report, released Friday, says consumer credit increased at a 3.2 percent annual pace in September. That was up from a 2.9 percent rate of decline in August and marked the biggest increase since July. Economists expected consumers trimmed their borrowing at a 0.5 percent pace in September. The Fed's measure of consumer borrowing does not include any debt secured by real estate, such as mortgage or home equity loans.

Pending home sales fall

Pending U.S. home sales fell more than expected in September after posting a big jump in the previous month. The National Association of Realtors said Friday that its seasonally adjusted index of pending sales for existing homes fell 4.6 percent to a reading of 89.2. That's down from an upwardly revised August reading of 93.5. The index was 1.6 percent above year-ago levels. It sunk to a record low of 83 in March, and stood at 87.8 in September 2007. The reading should provide a preview of October's existing home sales numbers when the Realtors group releases them on Nov. 24.

Changes expected at DHL

As the German parent of struggling shipper DHL prepares to release third-quarter results, analysts and industry observers predict Deutsche Post AG will announce major changes at DHL, though it's unclear whether those changes would affect a deal DHL has been working out with rival UPS. DHL scheduled a conference call with reporters for Monday afternoon to discuss news that was to be announced earlier in the day and answer questions about DHL's U.S. Express business. DHL spokesman Jonathan Baker declined to provide details Friday on what will be announced Monday. As to the talks with UPS, he said, "We are continuing to talk with UPS. The talks are constructive. We expect to finalize our negotiations by year-end."

Compiled from Staff, wire reports