Business briefs


POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009


CBRE appears on Fortune list

CB Richard Ellis Group has been listed on Fortune magazine's roster of the world's most admired companies.

Fortune's annual survey covers 64 industries, rating companies in areas such as people management, social responsibility and global competitiveness. The survey also weighed attributes including innovation, financial soundness and use of corporate assets.

A total of 689 companies from 28 countries were surveyed by Fortune. The companies that scored in the top half of their industry survey were included in the most admired companies roster.

CB Richard Ellis, which is based in Los Angeles but has offices in Hawaii, was not among the top 50 in the world, but ranked No. 5 in the real estate industry.

Makaha gets new Verizon cell site

Verizon Wireless has installed a new cell site in West Makaha, expanding 3G wireless coverage along a six-mile stretch of Farrington Highway.


The new cell site is part of the company's strategy to stay ahead of growing demand for Verizon's voice and data services.

Last year, Verizon Wireless spent $29 million to enhance services and coverage in Hawaii. Nationally, the company invested $6.5 billion to improve its coverage.


30-year mortgage rate slips

McLEAN, Va. » Rates on 30-year-fixed mortgages declined this week amid reports of a weakening job market and easing concerns over inflation, Freddie Mac said yesterday.

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage slipped to 5.03 percent this week from 5.15 percent last week. A year ago, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 6.13 percent.

Average rates for 30-year-fixed-rate mortgages hit a record low of 4.96 percent in January, a decline attributed to the Federal Reserve's move to buy $500 billion in mortgage-backed securities to spur lending by banks.

This week's average rate on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage fell to 4.64 percent from 4.72 last week.

Rates on one-year, adjustable-rate mortgages fell to 4.80 percent from 4.86 percent last week.

New name, same address

The tallest building in America is getting a new name. Chicago's Sears Tower will be renamed Willis Tower after Willis Group Holdings, which announced the name change and other details yesterday. Willis is moving five offices and nearly 500 employees into the 110-story building by late summer. Above, a pedestrian walked past the Sears Tower yesterday.

Roche to take over Genentech for $47B

NEW YORK » Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche agreed yesterday to pay $46.8 billion in cash to buy the 44 percent of California-based biotech pioneer Genentech that it doesn't already own, ending a long corporate struggle between the companies.

The deal, which values the whole of Genentech at more than $100 billion, underscores the lengths drugmakers are willing to go.

The $95-per-share deal brings Roche all of the sales of Genentech's cancer drugs as well as its research pipeline and scientific corporate culture.

Food for thought

Southwest Airlines Co. may start selling food to boost revenue. Charging for food would break with tradition for the airline, underscoring its push to find $1.5 billion in new annual revenue from sources other than ticket sales by 2010. Above, a Southwest Airlines jet taxied at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, N.Y., in January.