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Top Stories Of Puerto Rico In Business And Economy For 2000

January 4, 2001
Copyright © 2001 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Top Stories Of Puerto Rico In Business And Economy For 2000


Santander BanCorp acquires local Merrill-Lynch $2.7 billion-asset retail brokerage business.

FirstBank and brokerage firm Paine Webber form strategic alliance.

Centennial Puerto Rico becomes the first telephony company on the island to enter the cable television industry after announcing the acquisition of Pegasus Cable TV.

Sol Melia SA and CBM Investment sign joint venture for $70 million Paradisus Coco Beach Resort in Río Grande.


Ogden Waste is selected to build a Waste to Energy (WTE) plant for the northwest part of the island.

Rafael Maria de Labra School’s $7 million renovation project begins. Its architecture is considered important in Puerto Rico’s building history.


Banco Popular and Federal Reserve Bank sign antimoney-laudering agreement as a result of a federal government plan to improve security measures.

Doral Financial Corp. converts into a financial holding company.

Prudential Securities, the oldest investment firm in Puerto Rico, inaugurates new offices. The remodeled and revamped facilities represent a $700,000 investment.

First Urban Train cars arrive in Puerto Rico.

Aerospace electromechanical and electronics products producer Hamilton Sundstrand invests $12 million to refurbish and expand four buildings in Santa Isabel, plus $8 million for restructuring costs.

Lausell Inc. adds new plant to five existing facilities, doubling workforce from 825 to 1,625.

Hewlett-Packard adds 80,000-square-foot building to Aguadilla facility that will house new computer circuit board production line and research and development center.

Solectron Inc. buys Alcatel, Inc. adding 450 jobs over two years.

Airmec Fluid Power Corp. opens its first plant in Mayaguez to distribute and manufacture pneumatic tools products.

The third incarnation of venerable daily newspaper El Mundo folds.


Olympic Mills buys five operations from Hampshire Group, becoming largest sweater maker in US.

Banco Santander receives approval from financial regulators to repurchase up to 3% of the bank’s 42.5 million issued and outstanding shares of common stock.

Ground-breaking ceremony of the Americas World Trade District. The $342.5 million project will create 3,200 permanent jobs. Atlanta-based Hardin Construction/QB Construction is selected construction manager of the complex that should be completed by 2002.


Marriott International announces its intention to build a 450-room hotel complex, including 250 timeshare villas, an 18-hole championship golf course at Dos Mares, Fajardo. The project investment should exceed $150 million.

Santander Bank becomes a financial holding company. The bank also forms an alliance with Promoexport, the first between a banking institution and a public corporation, to promote the sale of goods and services between Puerto Rico, Latin America, and Spain.

First Bancorp, the second largest independently owned commercial bank on the island, becomes a financial holding company.


Gov. Pedro Rossello announces Guayanilla as the site of Puerto Rico’s international transshipment port.

CSX World Terminals signs an agreement to develop a terminal facility on the Caucedo peninsula near Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to develop a transshipment port and free trade zone.

Pharmacia & Upjohn and Searle merge into Pharmacia Corp.


Bithorn Travel Corp. buys Travel Network and Star Tours. The transaction’s value is estimated between $25 million to $35 million. After the acquisition, Bithorn Travel expands is operations to 52 locations islandwide.

German manufacturer Jostra AG purchases Añasco’s Edward Lifesciences Corp. and receives $700,000 Pridco grant plus 7% tax incentive rate from Pridco.

Popular Inc. opens its new insurance subsidiary, Popular Insurance and receives regulatory approval to acquire Aurora National Bank (ANB).

MoviStar launches cellular Internet access service in Puerto Rico.


Firestone orders the recall of 6.5 million tires after incidents were reported in which the tires failed and exploded in the U.S. and other countries. The tire recall sparked an investigation by U.S. safety regulators.

Puerto Rico Manufacturers Association (PRMA) elects Hewlett-Packard’s General Manager Lucy Crespo as the first woman president in the association’s history.

A Waste to Energy (WTE) plant is selected for Caguas. An alliance of four companies, Thermoselect, Caribe Waste Technologies Inc., Flour Daniel Inc., and Montenay Power Corp. will finance, own and operate the plant.

BBVA Puerto Rico transforms into a financial holding company.

Valcor-Samcor expands facility to manufacture tempered glass, the first company in Puerto Rico to do so.

Schering-Plough adds $12 million expansion in Manati plant to produce Albuterol, adding 100 jobs.

Grey Global Group announces the creation of WING Latino Group, the consolidated operations of advertising agency West Indies & Grey (WING) Puerto Rico and FOVA, Grey’s specialized Hispanic-market agency in New York. It is the first time, that a global company had established a communications company to reach Hispanic market with headquarters in Puerto Rico.

Urban Train construction project is 70% completed.


Home Depot buys six Plaza Masso stores for an undisclosed amount.

PRMA adopts Naics industry guide, substituting former SIC classification system.

CB examines global ports expert Ernst Frankel’s transshipment port feasibility study finding $1 billion cost would bring $6 billion annually to island’s economy 10 years after its construction, creating 50,000 direct and indirect jobs. Southern municipalities announce their support for the megaport.

Oriental Express expands globally with From2 delivery service agreement.

Gov. Pedro Rossello signs House Bill 3415 and Senate Bills 2289 and 2290 to amend the Puerto Rico Banking Law and the Insurance Code to conform local statutes with the Gramm-Leach Bliley Act, also known as the Financial Modernization Act of 1999. The deregulation of the financial business sector represents the entrance of banks and other financial organizations in the insurance and brokerage sectors.

Casiano Communications launched Vida Actual, the largest circulation newspaper in Puerto Rico, with more than 689,000 issues mailed directly to people’s homes and businesses through the U.S. Postal Service.

First BanCorp acquires First Virgin Islands Federal Savings Bank. They also, set up an alliance with brokerage firm Goldman Sachs.

The Government of Puerto Rico inaugurates the North Coast Superaqueduct. The project is part of an investment of $1.9 billion to improve island infrastructure.


Empresas Fonalledas reinaugurates Plaza Las Americas after a $250 million expansion and remodeling project that include the addition of 800,000 square feet of commercial space, 2,600 parking spaces and the creation of 3,000 new jobs.

Ground breaking ceremony held for Caguas’ $29.9 million Hampton Inn. The new hotel is part of the most important construction project in the area, named Caguas Real, developed by JM Ventura Enterprises with a total investment of $300 million.

Macy’s department store opens first store in Puerto Rico. The three-level, 225,000-square-foot store sells $1.3 million in five hours.

Papri poultry processor reveals economic problems.

Doral establishes its insurance division Doral Agency Inc.

Santander BanCorp. announces the launching of its new insurance subsidiary Santander Insurance Agency. The institution becomes the first local bank to launch an ISO 9000 quest, a formal proposal to International Organization for Standarization to implement effective quality management systems.

Westernbank inaugurates $5 million megabranch in Guaynabo.

Experts from the maritime industry validate construction of Puerto Rico transshipment port during conference hosted by the government.

Intel Puerto Rico continues employee reduction program with voluntary separation of 220 employees while having invested $20 million in production line automation equipment in the past two years.

Amgen PR and Wheaton PR jointly invest $2.9 million to prepare Wheaton’s production of tubing glass vials for Amgen.

Stryker Corporation is granted $30.2 million from Pridco to establish a Research and Development (R&D) center and make infrastructure improvements.

Industrias Vasallo Inc. invests $15 million to expand Ponce facility that will produce polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pellets to U.S., the Caribbean, and Latin America.

Island Sun Communications Corp. of Puerto Rico invests $20 million to develop a network operations center linking Caribbean and Central America with the U.S.

Manufacturing Technology Services Inc. expands to Ireland with $3.6 million investment. Plans to open additional plants in Europe and Asia.

Impress Metal Packaging buys Star Kist Seafood’s can-manufacturing facilities in Mayaguez with plans to open local R&D center.

Noel Quiñones’ Flight of Fancy is selected Best Picture at the Renaissance City Film Festival in Rhode Island. The film, totally shot in Puerto Rico, was also recognized as Best Latin Film and Best Children Film at the Hollywood Film Festival.

Tele Centro (WXWZ Channel 22), a new local broadcast television channel based in Caguas and owned JMD Media Group, is launched.

Tele Cinco (WORA-TV Channel 5) celebrates 45 years of service. The station announces an investment of nearly $2 million to become a High Definition TV station.


Sila M. Calderon becomes the first woman elected governor in Puerto Rican history.

Santander BanCorp unveils it new unlimited Internet access through its new service Santander Channel.

Lexmark cancels plans to open manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico due to inaction from Pridco.

Procter & Gamble finishes $30 million dose form facility in Manati plant, which will produce two new products.

Ports Authority set to finish $3 million renovation of Piers 15 a 16 in Puerta de Tierra after ocean carriers expressed concern over deteriorated facilities.


Richard Carrion named as the National Chairman of the 2001 US Savings Bonds Volunteer Committee.

Serralles Hotel Inc. buys Ponce Hilton for the amount of $15 million. The new owners plan a new development project to include a condo-hotel and other recreational facilites. Serralles will rename the facilities Costa Sur Resort Gulf Country Club & Ponce Hilton Hotel.

BBVA Puerto Rico launches insurance agency.

Hershey closes deal to buy Nabisco breath mint and chewing gum businesses for $135 million, which includes Nabisco’s Las Piedras manufacturing plant.

San Juan’s landfill closes operations. The municipal government works in possible alternatives to waste disposal to solve the problem.

Santander completes stock repurchasing program. The common stock repurchased amounted to 1.2 million shares for a total of $17.2 million.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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