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Talk of the bay: Agriculture giant's income grows little

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 19, 2008


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Farmers will never be happy. Though Florida has been hurricane-free for a couple of seasons, that translates into bad news for citrus growers, who got lower prices for a larger crop last year. And Florida's drought has stressed out the cattle, resulting in lower weight. Don't even ask about the real estate market: If you're in the sod business, fewer new homes means fewer lawns. All of the above contributed to a lackluster quarter for Florida's biggest public agricultural company, Alico Inc. of LaBelle. Alico, controlled by descendants of legendary Ben Hill Griffin Jr., reported earnings of $2.8-million on sales of $23.6-million for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with income of $2.6-million on revenue of $26.5-million a year ago.

9 stores sign on at Ellenton outlet site

Prime Outlets Ellenton has lined up nine new tenants to fill all its empty storefronts. Designer handbagmaker Kate Spade, Lucky Brand Jeans, Luggage Factory and TravelPro opened recently. They will be joined this spring by outlet stores for Columbia Sportswear, Stuart Weitzman shoes, Charlotte Russe, Disney Outlet and Liz Golf. The outlet mall at Interstate 75 and U.S. 301 has confirmed that Last Call, the Neiman Marcus outlet operation, will anchor the proposed new wing at the Manatee County center.

Utility cleans up act, data show

Tampa Electric continues its corporate makeover from grimy, coal-burning villain to a cleaner, greener utility. The company said Monday that its 10-year, $1.2-billion investment in cleaner technologies led to a 93 percent reduction in acid rain-inducing sulfur dioxide from 1998 levels, a 60 percent reduction in smog-producing nitrous oxide, a 70 percent reduction in particulate pollution, a more than 70 percent reduction in mercury, and a 20 percent reduction in carbon dioxide. Most of the reductions came from switching one plant from coal to cleaner natural gas and installing pollution controls.

[Last modified February 19, 2008, 00:09:01]


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