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Business Today

By wire services
Published March 5, 2005

FIRST HOME NAMES PRESIDENT: Seminole's First Home Bank has promoted Larry C. Cunningham, 55, to president of the 6-year-old, $70-million community bank. The former executive vice president, who retains his role as chief operating officer, will manage day-to-day functions. The bank's CEO and founding president, Jeffory H. Forbes, 57, plans to devote more time to business development and the June opening of a Pinellas Park branch.

PROGRESS DELIVERS REFUNDS: Progress Energy Florida said Friday that it will distribute $9.05-million in customer refunds this month as part of a revenue-sharing pact included in its 2002 rate-reduction settlement with the state. Customers will receive a refund of $3.36 per 1,000 kilowatt hours of electricity consumed. Under this formula, typical households consuming 1,200 to 1,400 kilowatt hours would receive refunds of $4.03 to $4.70. The rate-reduction settlement expires at the end of this year. Progress has asked state utility regulators for permission to increase its base electric rates once the settlement expires.

TITAN TO BUILD SLAG FACILITY: Titan America LLC will build a facility to grind slag, a byproduct of steel-making used in concrete, at the Port of Tampa. The facility will be at the same site on Hooker's Point where Titan opened a $12-million cement terminal in December.

CHOICEPOINT EXECS UNDER INVESTIGATION: Embattled data broker ChoicePoint Inc. said Friday the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating stock sales by its two top executives, and said it was strictly limiting its sale of consumer information to small businesses. Company CEO Derek Smith and president Douglas Curling earned $16.6-million from ChoicePoint stock sales after the company learned of a major security breach and before that was made public.

DELPHI CFO RESIGNS: The chief financial officer of Delphi Corp., the world's largest automotive supplier, resigned under pressure Friday after the company's internal audit committee found accounting problems and indicated it had lost confidence in him. Delphi said Alan Dawes had resigned after more than six years as CFO.

TWO PUBLIX STORES TO BECOME HISPANIC-ORIENTED: Publix Super Markets said Thursday it will convert two existing stores into Hispanic-oriented groceries with bilingual workers, imports from Latin America and Spanish music over the loudspeakers. The stores, which will be in Kissimmee and Hialeah, will be called Publix Sabor when they open in May.

AON SETTLES INVESTIGATION: Companies that bought property and casualty insurance through Aon Corp. will get $190-million in restitution under a settlement announced Friday that ended an investigation into anticompetitive business practices. Aon, the nation's No. 2 insurance brokerage, will provide the money over three years and agreed to end the practice of soliciting incentive fees under the agreement with New York, Illinois and Connecticut.

CONTINENTAL REDUCING FIRST CLASS: In a bid to make more money, Continental Airlines is changing its seating on some planes, shrinking first class a bit and expanding coach. Continental is boosting the number of seats from 104 to 114 on its 737-500 aircraft. When it is done by early 2006, first class will go from 10 seats to eight seats, and coach will expand from 94 to 106 seats.

MCI CEO GETS $13.5-MILLION BONUS: MCI Inc. chief executive Michael Capellas is getting a $13.5-million bonus for 2004 after leading the former WorldCom out of bankruptcy and putting the long-distance phone company up for sale. Capellas was awarded $5-million in cash plus 357,241 shares of restricted MCI stock, worth nearly $8.5-million.

[Last modified March 5, 2005, 00:57:32]

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