Business Notes


Racing veterinarian to appeal suspension in drugs case

The veterinarian in the Patrick Biancone cobra-venom case will appeal his five-year suspension at a hearing Wednesday at the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

Dr. Rodney Stewart was suspended after three vials of cobra venom, along with two drugs to treat Parkinson's disease and other improperly labeled medicines were found in a raid of Thoroughbred trainer Biancone's barn at Keeneland in June 2007. Stewart also was fined $2,000 for failing to report Biancone.

Biancone worked out a settlement with the racing commission that resulted in a six-month suspension. The suspension was extended after Biancone was found to have violated the terms of that agreement. The suspension was extended on Oct. 31.

Kentucky American chief gets extra duties

The president of Kentucky American Water will also serve as senior vice president of the eastern division of American Water Works Co., the company announced Tuesday. Nick Rowe, who has been with American Water since 1987, will continue to serve as president of Kentucky American Water. American Water's Eastern Division includes Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Tennessee, New York and Kentucky.

Ashland CEO's salary down 25% for 2008

Ashland Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jim O'Brien took a 25 percent pay cut, down to $4.8 million, in fiscal 2008, the Business Courier of Cincinnati reported. Ashland is a Covington-based chemical company that owns Valvoline in Lexington. Part of the pay cut reflected the declining value of Ashland's stock in the wake of its acquisition of Hercules Inc. and the recent announcement that it was slashing its quarterly dividend, the Business Courier said. O'Brien's base salary increased by 5 percent to $1.1 million in fiscal 2008, but his annual incentive pay was halved to $445,355. The value of his stock grants under long-term incentive plans also decreased to $3.2 million from $4.4 million.

125-year-old Louisville restaurant closed

A 125-year-old Louisville restaurant has closed its doors. Mazzoni's Cafe shut down this weekend, less than a year after opening its Middletown location. The family-owned business opened in 1884 and was known for its rolled oysters, which were highlighted by national food writers. Owner Greg Haner wrote WHAS-11 in an e-mail that "the current business climate has been an unprecedented challenge" and the family expended all of its resources to compensate for increases in the minimum wage and rising prices of food.


Fed extends programs to stabilize economy

The Federal Reserve has extended the life of key programs aimed at busting through credit clogs and restoring stability to financial markets. The Fed said Tuesday that the programs, originally slated to last through Jan. 30, will be extended through April 30. The Fed said it was taking the action "in light of continuing strains in financial markets." The Fed's emergency lending facility, which investment firms can tap for a ready source of cash, is covered by the decision. This category was recently broadened to include any loans that were made to the U.S. and London-based broker-dealer subsidiaries of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch.

Retail gas prices might be hitting bottom

Retail gasoline fell to a new three-year low Tuesday and in an unprecedented decline, crude oil costs $100 less a barrel than it did four months ago with a U.S. recession eating away at energy demand. Analysts say prices at the pump might finally be bottoming out after a precipitous decline from record highs this summer. Yet demand could fall even further in January with job losses reducing the number of people who drive to work. Light, sweet crude for January delivery fell more than 4 percent, or $2.32 to settle at $46.96 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Sears posts $146 million quarterly loss

Sears Holdings Corp. posted its biggest quarterly loss since financier Edward Lampert combined Sears and Kmart into one retail company, largely because of hefty charges related to store closings and disappointing U.S. sales. The company also withdrew its operating profit outlook because of the country's economic woes. The $146 million third-quarter loss — worse than had been expected and the company's second quarterly loss in the past year — is another sign of how difficult it will be for the venerable retailer to right itself amid growing competition and customers who are shopping at its stores even less than before because of the recession.

Compiled from Staff, wire reports