Archive for November, 2009

Power Breakfast: Coke poised for growth, Fulton cuts, Delta lease, Beazer, Microsoft

For the first time in more than a decade, Coca-Cola invited investors, analysts and journalists to Atlanta to detail its strategic plans.

The two-day event at the World of Coca-Cola on Monday and Tuesday highlights how the globe’s changing demographics serves the company over the next decade.

By 2020, CEO Muhtar Kent said revenue of Coke’s entire global system should more than double, reports Joe Guy Collier for the AJC.

Despite the current soft worldwide economy and recent volume declines in North America, growth in the middle class and urban areas around the globe will significantly boost the ready-to-drink beverage business through 2020, Kent said. And the Coke system, which includes Coca-Cola Co. and its bottling partners, are poised to capture a large slice of the new business, he said, delivering a bullish assessment of the company’s prospects.

Coke and its bottlers have a far-flung network that’s in both developed nations and emerging markets, such as Brazil, India and …

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Now it’s Gen Xers turn to complain

First, it was retirees and baby boomers who got hit hard as their life savings were pummeled by this recession.

Next, it was Generation Y, who found it very difficult to land jobs after graduating from high school or college.

Now, says Gen X, step aside.

The Associated Press is reporting strong rumblings of discontent from the 32- to 44-year-olds who are wedged between baby boomers and their children. They often feel like forgotten middle siblings — and increasingly restless at work as a result, AP says.

“All of a sudden, we’ve gone from being the young upstarts to being the curmudgeons,” Bruce Tulgan, a generational consultant who’s written books about various age groups, including his fellow Gen Xers, told AP.

“We were starting to buy into the system, at least to some extent,” Tulgan says, “and then we got the rug pulled out from under us.”

Sound familiar? If you’re a Gen Xer, does this sound like you? What are you feeling?

And if you’re part of another generation, what …

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Should union election rules be changed for airlines?

One of the most vexing problems in corporate mergers is melding the work force.

Over time, it has become an especially trying task in the airline industry, with a wide variety of labor skills, thorny seniority issues and different levels of unionization.

Delta’s merger with Northwest is proving to be no exception, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.

Add a new issue to all the normal problems of combining a largely non-union carrier (Delta) with a heavily unionized one (Northwest ) — a proposed change in the voting rules that could affect the union representation elections of flight attendants and ground workers.

A switch in the election rules to a “yes-no” vote, as proposed, would mean that instead of needing approval from a majority of those eligible to vote in order to unionize, unions would only need a majority of those who actually vote, Yamounchi writes. That is generally is a far smaller number.

Airline workers are governed by different rules than most other …

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Power Breakfast: Delta-Hartsfield lease, stimulus, Lou Dobbs, Chick-fil-A, GM, GE

It’s a big day for Delta in Atlanta.

The Atlanta City Council is scheduled today to take up the airline’s proposed new lease at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

By most accounts, Delta will be getting a bargain if the deal goes through, AJC reporter Kelly Yamanouchi writes.

The proposal is to keep Delta’s basic airport expenses at roughly the same level, aside from cost increases when the new international terminal opens in 2012.

Atlanta is still Delta’s largest hub by far. It operates some 1,000 daily flights from Atlanta, making it the largest airline hub in the world with nonstop flights to cities around the globe.

Also in the AJC:

In other media:

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Power Breakfast: Economy ‘inching up,’ foreclosures down, Burger King, Popeyes, Hartsfield

How about some good economic news for a change?

If Thursday’s big equipment auction at Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers in Newnan is any indicator, the economy is on the way back, writes AJC reporter Jeffry Scott.

Prices were up and attendance was good – about 500 at the Ritchie facility, another 500 plugged in by the Internet, from 20 countries around the world. Nearly 1,200 bulldozers, dump trucks, ditch witches, excavators and their ilk moved off the lot, Scott writes.

“They say heavy equipment is a mirror of the real estate and stock markets,” said Darrin Hogeboom, regional manager of the company, which auctions heavy equipment all over the country.

“When we’re up, they’re up; when we’re down, they’re down. Right now, I’d say we’re inching up.”

Also in the AJC:

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Monthly foreclosures drop slightly in metro Atlanta

The foreclosure picture in metro Atlanta improved slightly in November. But notices for the year continue at a record pace.

A total of 9,427 foreclosure notices were published in November in a 13-county metro area — down 1.3 percent from October, according to Equity Depot. The notices published this month are for public auctions scheduled for December.

It’s “not unusual for numbers to dip a bit in the last quarter,” Barry Bramlett, president of Equity Depot, wrote in an e-mail. “Not sure if that has to do with holiday season approaching, but a similar pattern to that in years past.”

November’s notices were up 40 percent from the same month last year.

After 11 months of this year, there were 106,766 notices — well above last year’s previous annual record of 79,484, according to Alpharetta-based Equity Depot. (www.equitydepot.net)

In November, Fulton led the pack with 2,072 notices, followed by Gwinnett with 1,924. DeKalb was third with 1,419, followed by Cobb (1,010) and …

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Is it too late to get on the gold bandwagon?

Two months ago, when gold soared over $1,000 an ounce, I asked you if it was too late to ride the wave up.

Well now, gold is at a record $1,119 an ounce.

As you know, many financial experts and investors shy away from gold, believing it to be the haven for gullible insomniacs watching late night TV promotions.

But those insomniacs appear to be having the last laugh — at least for now.

The precious metal has been growing in popularity because of the U.S. dollar’s weakness and record-low interest rates.

Gold prices are up 7 percent this month and 26 percent for the year, the Associated Press reports.

So, let me ask you again — too late or not? Still time to make money or a bubble about to burst?

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Power Breakfast: Soaring gold, Gwinnett grand jury, Emory grant, Lou Dobbs, foreclosures

So much for predictions about gold prices.

The price of the gold hit a record $1,119 an ounce on Wednesday — confounding market analysts who thought there was no way gold would remain so expensive when it first cracked the unheard-of $1,000 mark last year, the Associated Press reports.

The remarkable run has implications far beyond savvy investors. In New York’s diamond district, more people started showing up late last year to sell their gold, and the crush hasn’t let up, Anthony Iannelli, owner of Iannelli Diamonds, told AP.

“They’re bringing in jewelry from the ’70s and ’80s they don’t wear anymore,” he said. “They’re following the news and see prices are high. They realize they have a little cache, and want to take it out of the vault.”

Typically, gold is a safe place for investors to park their money, not something they buy to make money. But this time, investors are buying gold to protect themselves against the falling dollar.

Currencies are weak investments around the …

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Calling on innovative job search ideas

The competition for jobs is intense.

There are 6.1 unemployed workers, on average, competing for each job opening, a Labor Department report shows according to the Associated Press.

That’s down slightly from 6.2 last month — the most since the department began tracking job openings nine years ago, AP reports.

But it’s a dramatic increase from only 1.7 workers per opening when the recession began in December 2007.

Question:

Have you heard of any innovative ideas to cut through the clutter and, at least, land an interview — something that goes beyond the obvious suggestions that people like me have been writing about for months? I know there’s no silver bullet in this economy, but have you come across a bronze one that people could learn from?

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Power Breakfast: Long-time printer closing, bank overhaul, home prices, AT&T vs. Verizon, Delta

Deep roots are not enough to withstand the change that’s swirling around business today.

Stevens Graphics, an Atlanta printing press founded in the 1880s to produce the Hastings Seed Catalog, is tentatively scheduled to close by the end of the year, AJC staffer Rachel Tobin Ramos writes.

AT&T, the printer’s current owner, plans to close two Stevens plants – one here and one in Birmingham — because printing is not part of AT&T’s  “core business,” said Bob Mueller, executive director of business operations for AT&T Advertising Solutions.

More than 400 jobs –- 227 in Atlanta and 208 in Birmingham — will be eliminated, Ramos reports.

Stevens prints more than 65 million Yellow Pages and White Pages directories annually.

Mueller said the AT&T Real Yellow Pages would still be printed and delivered, but the company will outsource it.

But Mueller said AT&T has no other printing presses. He expressed AT&T’s regret about the closures.

This economy is prompting lots of regrets.

Also in …

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