Finance/Companies news briefs, Aug. 14

Friede Goldman Halter � Bollinger Shipyards ... Dow Chemical � Alpine Oil Services � Weatherford International ... BP ... IBM ... SAIC ... Ultramar Diamond Shamrock ... Shamrock Logistics

Friede Goldman Halter Inc. has completed the $80 million, all-cash asset sale of five Halter Marine Inc. vessel repair yards to Bollinger Shipyards Inc.

Dow Chemical Co. said last week it would issue an industrial corporate bond that will be priced directly by investors via an internet auction. Dow expects its fixed-rate "eBond" to have a nominal value of $300 million and a maturity of 5 years. The borrowings will be used for general operating purposes. The 2-hr auction will be held this week. The company said its eBond differs significantly from past practices in that investors will bid for both the amount and price of bonds they wish to purchase.

Alpine Oil Services Corp., Calgary, said a court in Alberta has approved its previously announced transaction with Weatherford International Inc., Houston, and that the acquisition plan became effective Aug. 10. Weatherford agreed in May to acquire Alpine in an estimated $55 million (US) transaction (OGJ Online, June 20, 2000).

BP has signed 5-year agreements with IBM Corp. and Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) for the support and maintenance of its software applications and associated host computing services worldwide. SAIC will provide services to support BP's corporate functions in North America, plus downstream refining and marketing and some upstream exploration and production operations in North America. IBM will provide services to support BP's petrochemicals business worldwide and its corporate functions and downstream operations in the UK. Each deal is worth about $250 million. The move goes beyond simply rationalizing the thousands of applications adopted over time by British Petroleum PLC, Amoco Corp., ARCO, and Burmah Castrol. "Instead, we are externalizing support and that BP can focus on managing and developing web-centric, scalable, and flexible services for BP worldwide," said John Leggate, BP's vice-president of digital business. "This will free management and technical concentrate on enhancing our digital capability to be nimble and responsive to business pressures and direction."

Ultramar Diamond Shamrock Corp. filed a registration statement on Form S-1 with the US Securities and Exchange Commission related to a proposed underwritten initial public offering of 4,000,000 common units representing limited partner interests in Shamrock Logistics LP, a Delaware limited partnership. All of the units will be sold by Shamrock Logistics LP. The partnership was formed to acquire, own, and operate most of Ultramar Diamond Shamrock's crude oil and refined product pipeline, terminal, and storage assets that support its refining and marketing operations in Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Goldman, Sachs & Co., Dain Rauscher Wessels, A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., Lehman Brothers, and PaineWebber Inc. will be the managing underwriters for the offering.

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