Paw Print Rewind #023: July 1st, 2015

Editor’s Note: This is the Paw Print Rewind, a recap of the top news headlines.

UTAS ready for acquisitions

UTC Aerospace Systems

Three years after its founding merger, UTC Aerospace Systems (UTAS) is ready for acquisitions and is assessing potential targets, according to the company’s president.

Until now, United Technologies’ aircraft components unit has been focused on integrating Goodrich, acquired by parent UTC for over $16 billion in 2012 and combined with Hamilton Sundstrand to form UTAS.

“I think that process has been successful and it now enables us to look at what’s next.

“After we go through year two and things were going so well, it enabled us to start looking outward again and we are doing that.”

-David Gitlin, UTAS president

United Technologies will spend at least $1 billion on acquisitions this year and set out a number of financial criteria, according to company CEO Greg Hayes.

“Our focus is on adding to core, and usually we tend to err on the side of bigger deals rather than smaller ones.

“[The size of deals that interest UTAS] can vary. We don’t want to do a bunch of $10-20 million acquisitions, but we want to look at something that can move the needle. The size is a little bit less significant than the type of company and products they have.

“We are always assessing [with potential partners].”

-David Gitlin

UTAS makes components and systems for civil and military aircraft including landing gear, nacelles that enclose engines, and electrical power systems.

At $14.2 billion, the unit amounted to nearly 22 percent of UTC’s revenue last year. It expects to have $20 billion in revenues by 2020, according to Gitlin.

The supply chain was “going in [the] right direction,” according to Gitlin, because of investments to keep the company robust.

“If you look at key metrics … it is far better today than it was a year ago.”

-David Gitlin

Airbus and Boeing are both raising production of their single-aisle jets from 42 a month each to 50-52 a month by 2018.

UTAS has everything in place to meet the increase to 50-52 medium haul planes a month from both manufacturers, according to Gitlin.

“We have a strong line of sight to go from 42 to 50 [single-aisle aircraft per month], and for us to go from 50 to north of 60 would require additional investment.

“We know that many of our suppliers would have to make a significant additional investment and we are in discussions with them now.”

-David Gitlin

Airbus gets last-minute $14 billion Wizz Air deal

Wizz Air

Airbus got a last-minute $14 billion deal to sell 110 of its jets to Hungary-based Wizz Air.

“I don’t like these air shows, because every time I come I buy something.”

-Jozsef Varadi, Wizz Air CEO

Airbus ended the show with orders and commitments for 421 aircraft worth $57 billion, compared to Boeing’s 331 aircraft worth $50.2 billion.

In terms of firm orders, Boeing won out with 154 worth $20.2 billion, compared to Airbus’ 124 worth $16.3 billion.

“[The total orders] was higher than I personally expected.”

-Fabrice Bregier, Airbus Group planemaking division CEO

Boeing also announced a preliminary deal for 20 747-8 freighters from Russian cargo airline Volga-Dnepr Group.

Ralph Roberts dead at 95

Comcast founder Ralph Roberts has died at the age of 95, according to the company.

Roberts, who set up Comcast after buying a small cable television operator in Tupelo, MS in 1963, died of natural causes in Philadelphia, according to Comcast.

Roberts, who was Comcast’s chairman emeritus on the Philadelphia-based company’s board spent over five decades at the company.

“Ralph was a born entrepreneur, a visionary businessman, a philanthropist, and a wonderful human being.”

-Comcast, in a statement

His son, Brian Roberts, took over as CEO in 2002.

“[Ralph Roberts] has left a lasting legacy on the communications landscape of America.”

-Tom Wheeler, Federal Communications Commission chairman

“[Ralph Roberts] exemplified the value of working hard and treating others with kindness and respect. His influence has extended far beyond Comcast and cable.”

-Rob Marcus, Time Warner Cable CEO

Roberts is survived by his wife Suzanne, four children, and eight grandchildren.

Brian Williams dropped at ‘Nightly News,’ joins MSNBC

NBC News anchor Brian Williams prepares to receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters from George Washington University in Washington, in this file photo taken May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files
NBC News anchor Brian Williams prepares to receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters from George Washington University in Washington, in this file photo taken May 20, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Brian Williams, the NBC journalist who was suspended for fabricating a story about being on board a helicopter when it got attacked in Iraq, has been dropped as the anchor of its flagship newscast NBC Nightly News, according to the network.

The 56-year-old will join parent company NBC Universal’s cable news network MSNBC as its breaking news and special reports anchor in mid-August.

Lester Holt, who has anchored weekend editions of Nightly News since 2007 as well as during Williams’ suspension, will now be the permanent weekday host.

“Brian now has a chance to earn back everyone’s trust. His excellent work over 22 years at NBC News has earned him that opportunity.”

-Andrew Lack, NBC News chairman

“I’m sorry. I said things that weren’t true. I let down my NBC colleagues and our viewers and I’m determined to earn back their trust.”

-Brian Williams, MSNBC breaking news anchor

Williams “made a number of inaccurate statements about its own role and experiences covering events in the field,” according to NBC.

“[Holt]’s an exceptional anchor who goes straight to the heart of every story. In many ways, television news stands at a crossroads, and Lester is the perfect person to meet the moment.”

-Andrew Pack

Dennis Muilenburg named Boeing’s CEO

Dennis Muilenburg has been named as Boeing’s CEO, effective today, succeeding Jim McNerney.

Muilenburg was previously the company’s president and COO.

McNerney will retire at the end of February, continuing as an employee “to ensure a smooth transition of his CEO responsibilities” until then, according to Boeing. He will also remain chairman indefinitely, according to the company.

Muilenburg, who previously headed Boeing’s Defense, Space, and Security business, was also elected to the company’s board, according to Boeing.

“We have high confidence in Dennis, who has distinguished his career by taking on tough challenges and delivering results.”

-Kenneth Duberstein, Boeing lead board director

Ray Conner will remain as vice president and CEO of Boeing’s commercial airplane business.

Virgin Cruises sets sail in Miami in 2020: Branson

Virgin Cruises

Richard Branson’s Virgin Cruises will take delivery of three ships capable of carrying nearly 3,000 passengers each starting in early 2020, according to the British entrepreneur.

“It’s no secret I’ve dreamed of building a cruise line for a very long time.”

-Richard Branson, Virgin Cruises founder

The first ship will operate out of Miami, according to Branson.

“We go against the grain.”

-Tom McAlpine, Virgin Cruises CEO

“I’ve spent my life trying to get people to get people to get rid of suits.”

-Richard Branson

Boeing plans to slow 747 jet production in 2016

747-8 First Flight Everett WA
747-8 First Flight Everett WA

Boeing will slow production of its 747-8 jumbo jet by 23 percent to one per month starting in March to keep the production line running amid sluggish demand for the humped-top plane, according to the company.

Boeing is currently building 1.5 747s a month and has already planned to reduce the rate to 1.3 a month starting in September.

The company expects for 540 large wide-body aircraft, which includes the 747, to be needed over the next 20 years, down from the forecast 620 last year.

“With recent orders and commitments, along with these changes announced today, we anticipate a stable figure for the 747 production system.”

-Bruce Dickinson, Boeing 747 program vice president, general manager

The “overcapacity of freighters in the market” has prompted Boeing to slow production, according to Dickinson.

Walmart imposes supplier charges

The Walmart logo is pictured in Los Angeles

Walmart will begin charging fees to almost all vendors for stocking their items in store and for stocking their items in new stores and for warehousing inventory.

The company has already begun informing suppliers about the fees and other changes to supplier agreements. The changes, which also includes amended payment terms, will affect 10,000 U.S. suppliers to its stores.

The changes are aimed at bringing “consistency to the collection of allowances related to the growth of our business and suppliers’ use of the Walmart supply network,” according to the company’s letter to suppliers.

“[The changes are] not the way Walmart has done business in the past. This approach suggests that they are seeking areas to offset their increased investment in wages, as well as offset their lack of organic revenue growth.”

-Kurt Jetta, consumer and retail analytics firm Tabs Group head

“The changes we have outlined will help us ensure that we are operating at everyday low costs that yield everyday low prices.”

-Deisha Barnett, Walmart spokeswoman

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