Business Briefs – March 28, 2019

Boom Times for U.S. Energy Sector

(The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS) – Energy numbers from three very different sources across the country are surging.

Renewables, natural gas and even nuclear power each received good news in separate reports released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA.

The federal agency responsible for collecting, analyzing and disseminating energy data on March 14 announced natural gas production in the U.S. reached an all-time high for the second straight year.

The amount of natural gas grew by 10 billion cubic feet per day in 2018, an 11 percent increase from 2017.

Nuclear plants totaled 807.1 million MWh in 2018, slightly more than its previous peak of 807.0 million MWh set in 2010.

Lyft Prices IPO at $72 a Share, Valuing Company at $24B

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Lyft set the price for its stock at $72 per share late Thursday, setting the stage for the ride-hailing pioneer’s hotly anticipated stock market debut.

The price is at the high end of a revision Lyft made after high investor demand prompted the company to increase its initial goal of fetching $62 to $68 for each of the nearly 31 million shares sold in the IPO. The price sets Lyft’s market value at $24 billion, which will quickly change Friday after the shares start trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

Investors embraced Lyft despite racking up $3 billion in losses since its 2012 inception on the premise that its growing popularity will pay off in the long run.

Lyft is trying to catch up to Uber, which is expected to go public later this spring.

Wells Fargo CEO Sloan Steps Down After Rocky Tenure

NEW YORK (AP) – Wells Fargo’s CEO Tim Sloan stepped down Thursday after a rocky tenure during which the deeply troubled bank dealt with a seemingly unending wave of scandals.

Sloan said in a statement he will give up his roles as CEO, president and member of the bank’s board of directors effective immediately. He will retire from the bank completely on June 30.

Sloan’s led the banking giant for less than four years. A longtime insider, Sloan was chosen to replace outgoing CEO John Stumpf, who resigned after Wells Fargo employees were found to have opened millions of bank accounts fraudulently in order to meet unrealistic sales goals.

California Governor Criticizes PG&E’s Plan for New Board

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. plans to remake its board of directors with hedge fund financiers and people who have little experience in utility operations and safety, and he urged the utility’s leader to change course.

“With this move, PG&E would send a clear message that it is prioritizing quick profits for Wall Street over public safety and reliable and affordable energy service,” Newsom, a Democrat, said in a public letter to John Simon, the utility’s interim chief executive.

The San Francisco-based utility is in the midst of Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings after it said it could not afford billions of dollars in liability related to deadly California wildfires in 2017 and 2018. It had previously announced plans to replace most of its board by its annual shareholder meeting in May.