IN BRIEF


CORRECTION ON 05/02/07 — A brief in the Business section of Tuesday’s Review-Journal incorrectly identified the Nevada secretary of state. Ross Miller is secretary of state.

Secretary of State arrests local resident

The Secretary of State’s Securities Division has said it arrested Peter "Tahiti Pete" Douglas Ortman, a 52-year-old Canadian living in Las Vegas.

The defendant, who was arrested Friday, is charged with sale of unregistered securities, sale of securities without a license and securities fraud.

The state said Ortman sold stock stocks issued by Starfish Capital Partners, made false statements and withheld material information from investors.

Starfish is a holding company for business such as a travel company, cigar company and Internet travel company. Secretary of State Steve Miller said an estimated $100,000 in investors’ money was lost.

 

Mine near Kingman to get $200 million boost

A booming precious metals market has sparked the revival and expansion of a northern Arizona copper mine that once employed more than 300 people before shutting down in 1980.

Mercator Minerals is investing $200 million to increase production at the Mineral Park Mine 12 miles north of Kingman.

Mercator President Mike Surratt said the company could recover its equipment investment in less than one year if the strong market holds. He said its strength is sustained by heavy demand for steel products in China and other foreign markets.

Surratt said the mine should produce about 56 million pounds of copper, 10 million pounds of molybdenum and 600,000 ounces of silver per year when the expansion is completed in the first quarter of 2009.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.

Kellogg profits rise by 17 percent in quarter

Kellogg Co.’s first-quarter earnings climbed 17 percent, boosted by stronger snack sales and a tax benefit.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $2.96 billion in the three months ended March 31, up from $2.73 billion during the first quarter of 2006, Kellogg said.

The maker of Rice Krispies cereal, Eggo waffles and Keebler cookies earned $321 million, or 80 cents per share, up from $274 million, or 68 cents per share. The latest results also included a $40 million tax benefit.

Excluding the tax benefit, earnings were 70 cents per share. Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson First Call expected a profit of 68 cents per share excluding one-time items on sales of $2.85 billion.

Kellogg shares fell 17 cents, or 32 cents per share, Monday to close at $52.91 on the New York Stock Exchange.

NEW YORK

Verisign to push for disposable passwords

A leading provider of digital-security services wants to make disposable passwords easier for consumers to accept by squeezing the technology into the corner of a regular credit or ATM card.

Fran Rosch, vice president for authentication services at VeriSign, said the one-time passwords haven’t taken off in the United States partly because consumers need to carry a small device that generates passwords on the fly. That barrier is removed, he said, by having the technology built into cards consumers already carry.

VeriSign was expected to announce a deal Tuesday with Innovative Card Technologies to outfit banks and e-commerce sites with cards that work with VeriSign’s password system.

With the card, consumers logging on to an online bank account, for instance, would type in their regular username and password, along with a six-digit code that appears on the card’s display window. That code constantly changes, meaning the customer needs to have possession of the card to access the account.

 

General Growth profits rise tenfold in quarter

General Growth Properties, the second-largest owner of U.S. shopping malls by market value, said first-quarter earnings rose tenfold on a change in the tax treatment of some properties.

Net income increased to $230.2 million, or 94 cents a share, from $23 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier, the Chicago-based company said today in a statement.

Revenue fell 12 percent to $728.8 million from $828.6 million.

Revenue in last year’s first quarter was boosted by $18.7 million in lease-termination fees that wasn’t repeated this year, Chief Financial Officer Bernie Freibaum said.

In Las Vegas, General Growth Properties operates the Fashion Show, Meadows and Boulevard malls, the Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian and the forthcoming Summerlin Center the Shoppes at the Palazzo.

General Growth Properties shares fell $1.24, or 1.91 percent, Monday to close at $63.85 on the New York Stock Exchange.

 

Vestin chief to buy more shares of trust

Vestin Realty Mortgage II, a real estate investment trust managed by the Las Vegas company of the similar name, announced on Monday that Michael Shustek, chairman and chief executive, intends to spend $2 million buying additional shares over the next 13 months.

Shustek said he only owns about 200,000 shares in the REIT and considers it undervalued with its market price 25 percent below the value on accounting books. At the current price, the REIT is yielding 11.5 percent with no debt, Shustek said.

Vestin announced the company planned to buy back $10 million in shares of the REIT.

Shares in Vestin II closed at $5.32 on Monday, down 7 cents or 1.3 percent.

NEW YORK

Bond prices increase after inflation report

Treasury bond prices gained Monday after a report suggested inflation pressures are waning, reducing the threat of additional rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the 10-year Treasury note was up $5.63 per $1,000 in face value, or 0.56 points, from its level at 5 p.m. Friday. Its yield, which moves in the opposite direction, fell to 4.62 percent from 4.70 percent.

The 30-year bond rose 1.06 points. Its yield fell to 4.81 percent from 4.88 percent.

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