MOVING: After nearly a century in Los Angeles, Westwood oil giant Occidental Petroleum Corp. has announced that it will move its headquarters to Houston and spin off its California operation. The announcements were the biggest steps yet in a major corporate restructuring aimed at boosting profitability and shareholder confidence. Occidental will spin off its California oil and gas assets into a separate publicly traded company, with an estimated 8,000 full-time and contract employees. Headquarters for the new company were not announced. The remainder of Occidental’s operations, including those in the West Texas Permian Basin, Colombia and the Middle East, will be run out of Houston.
INCENTIVES: Two local assemblymen have introduced legislation to ramp up California’s efforts to hold on to film and TV production. Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima) said they will propose a bill that would expand the state’s $100 million tax credit program to better compete with other states with far larger tax credit programs. Other changes would include making the tax credit available to all productions, including big-budget blockbusters.
REORGANIZATION: Easton-Bell Sports Inc. in Van Nuys has reached an agreement to sell its baseball and softball business for $330 million to Bauer Performance Sports of Kitchener, Ontario. The sporting goods manufacturer said it also is negotiating with another company to sell its hockey equipment business. After the sales, Easton-Bell plans to rename itself BRG Sports and focus on its remaining businesses in helmets, football, cycling and other actions sports equipment sold under the Riddell, Giro, Blackburn and Easton brands.
PARTY’S OVER: Inglewood event rental and services provider Classic Party Rentals Inc. has received initial bankruptcy court approval to sell most of its business to a newly established entity owned by the company’s lenders. Classic, which provides tents, tables, chairs, linens, ground cover, catering and climate-control equipment, grew rapidly through acquisitions from 2004 to 2008 to become the largest vendor of its kind in the United States, with 39 locations. It filed for Chapter 11 reorganization earlier this month, saying it struggled under its debt load and never recovered after business slowed during the recession. Any potential higher bidders will be solicited before the deal is finally approved.
FORECAST: The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.’s latest forecast says the county will add nearly 60,000 jobs this year for a 1.6 percent growth rate, matching the growth of last year. But growth is expected to slow to 1.2 percent next year with the county only adding about 48,000 jobs. The largest job gains this year are expected in health care and social assistance, followed by leisure, hospitality, construction and manufacturing. Real estate and information are forecast to lose jobs.
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