February 25, 2001
1 Unocal Gas Patents May Boost Prices: The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by five major oil companies of lower court rulings that patents on cleaner-burning gasoline held by Unocal Corp. are valid. Unocal invited the losing companies--Atlantic Richfield Co. (now part of BP Amoco), Chevron USA, Exxon Mobil Corp., Shell Oil Products Co. and Texaco Refining Inc.--to negotiate a licensing fee, which the El Segundo oil company predicted would be less than 1 cent per gallon.
December 17, 2000 |
Investors and economists are watching anxiously for any hints of recession. But for textile dyer Helmut Ackermann and many other local manufacturers, economic meltdown has already arrived in the form of their natural gas bills. This month Ackermann will pay nearly $600,000 to stoke the massive machines needed to color and dry his customers' fabric. That's 2 1/2 times more than he paid just two months ago. And he's been warned that his rates may double again in January.
December 27, 2000 |
Early this year, local manufacturers such as furniture maker Larry Parnell were focused on tight labor supplies and rising wages--byproducts of a bustling economy. Then came higher interest rates, a flood of cheap imports and an energy shock that has fouled production and sent power bills soaring. Add Wall Street turmoil that has shaken consumer confidence to the core. Suddenly, it's as though someone hit the off switch on the nation's growth machine.