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    Nine things you might have missed Monday from the world of business

    ECONOMY

    Business owners in Mass. still largely white and male, study says

    Owners of large businesses in Massachusetts are overwhelmingly white and male, with female and minority ownership rates below the national average, according to a survey. Only 4.7 percent of companies with more than $10 million but below $1 billion in revenue are owned by women; 2.8 percent are owned or led by minorities. Those figures are 22 percent and 48 percent below the national averages, according to research by American Express and Dun & Bradstreet. The survey excluded the largest companies, but the so-called middle market businesses that were surveyed are in the top 1 percent of businesses as measured by revenue, accounting for about 137,000 of the nearly 19 million companies in the United States. About 4,000 Massachusetts businesses fall into that range, compared to 391,000 that take in less than $10 million. There are 84 Massachusetts companies with more than $1 billion in revenue, the report said. Minorities make up 17.4 percent of the state’s population, versus 22.6 percent of the US population. But that doesn’t entirely explain the gap; Julie Weeks, the report’s author, said some of it has to do with time: “Women-owned firms, minority-owned firms are younger. They don’t have as many years in business, and it takes a while to grow into the middle market.

    JACK NEWSHAM

    AVIATION

    Norwegian Air plans Boston-Cork route

    Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA aims to begin four or five weekly flights between Boston and the second-biggest city in Ireland in May. The plan is contingent on the company’s Irish subsidiary, Norwegian Air International, receiving US Department of Transportation approval. The Boston-Cork route would be Norwegian’s sixth international one from Logan Airport. The company plans to use a Boeing 737-800, which seats as many as 189 passengers. Norwegian also plans to offer service between Cork and New York City, starting in 2017, and connecting flights from Cork to Barcelona. Currently, almost all Boston-Ireland service is offered by Aer Lingus, which has one to two flights per day to Dublin and one to Shannon. Norwegian said in August that it would begin flights from Boston to Oslo and Copenhagen in May.

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    JACK NEWSHAM

    INVESTING

    MBTA pension fund’s annual report could be delayed

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    The MBTA retirement fund’s annual report could be released even later than usual, because of a fiduciary review. The pension board is “conducting an independent fiduciary review of the fund’s assets, liabilities, and valuations. When the review is complete, the financial statements will be finalized and the annual report will be issued,’’ said spokesman Steve Crawford, in an e-mail response to a Globe inquiry. He declined to say when the report would be issued. The fund released its 2013 annual report in December 2014. In June, Governor Charlie Baker’s new appointees to the board of the $1.6 billion pension fund for transit workers called for an independent analysis after a critical report by Wall Street whistle-blower Harry Markopolos and Boston University finance professor Mark Williams. That report questioned the pension fund’s accounting practices and the accuracy of its investment returns. The pension board is soliciting proposals from firms interested in performing the financial review; the deadline for responding is Oct. 23.

    BETH HEALY

    ECONOMY

    Gas prices fall again

    Gas prices continued to fall in Massachusetts, with the average declinining five cents to $2.14 a gallon last week, AAA Northeast said — the 12th consecutive week of declines. The average is $1.24 less than a year ago, with prices as low as $1.94 at the stations surveyed. “The last time prices were this low, hardly anyone noticed, as we were in the middle of the record snowfalls of February,” auto club spokeswoman Mary Maguire said. Gas prices are linked to the price of crude oil, which has fallen sharply since summer 2014.

    JACK NEWSHAM

    CORPORATE NEWS

    Alcoa to split into two companies

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    NEW YORK — Alcoa, which produces both aluminum and parts that go into Ford pickup trucks, plans to divide those two businesses. The company said it will separate its legacy commodity side, which is to inherit the Alcoa name, from its newer, bigger-ticket businesses. Over the past seven years, Alcoa has built its newer, higher-margin businesses through almost $5 billion worth of acquisitions and several divestitures. The newer unit, yet to be named, provides metal products used in transportation, industrial gas turbines, and construction. In the 12 months through June, Alcoa’s newer businesses generated $14.5 billion in revenue. The commodity-focused segment posted $13.2 billion in revenue.

    NEW YORK TIMES

    MERGERS AND ACQUISITIONS

    Marketing agency Verndale expanding to West Coast

    The Boston marketing firm Verndale Corp. on Tuesday plans to announce the acquisition of Dustland Media LLC, of Culver City, Calif., for an undisclosed price. For Verndale, whose clients include SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Inc. and Stanley Black & Decker Inc., the deal amounts to a 20 percent expansion. The agency said it will now have 200 full-time employees in six US offices, with Dustland representing the first on the West Coast. “Their location in Los Angeles was attractive to us,” said Verndale managing partner Joe Zarrett. “We were exploring that market and understood that we needed to have a capable local presence to compete in that market.” In addition, “one of the things that attracted us to Dustland was their mobile app development capabilites.”

    CALLUM BORCHERS

    TECHNOLOGY

    iPhone 6s breaks a sales record

    Apple’s iPhone juggernaut is showing no signs of slowing down — at least where first-weekend sales are concerned. On Monday, Apple said it had sold more than 13 million new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices since they became available Friday, a record for first-weekend sales. Ten million iPhones flew off the shelves last year during the first weekend the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were sold. Geography probably helped: This year, new iPhones went on sale in a dozen countries and territories, including China. Last year, China was not included on the first weekend, apparently because the devices had not received regulators’ approval. First-weekend sales help indicate overall iPhone demand, an important metric given that the device accounts for the majority of Apple’s revenue.

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    NEW YORK TIMES

    TECHNOLOGY

    Amazon envisions a Detroit tech hub

    NEW YORK — Amazon.com plans to expand its Detroit office, adding full-time jobs in hopes of creating a technology hub. A vice president, Peter Faricy, said the company is focused on hiring residents of Michigan, which he called a rapidly growing technology corridor. Amazon already has hundreds of employees in the state. In downtown Detroit, employees work on software development, engineering, and advertising sales. Faricy did not specify how many more workers would be hired, but said the expansion would give Amazon room for more employees in technology. Erik Fairleigh, an Amazon spokesman, said the company was attracted to Detroit partly because of the hiring potential. “We found so much great talent because of local universities that we decided to expand the office,” he said.

    NEW YORK TIMES

    LABOR

    Whole Foods to cut 1,500 jobs

    NEW YORK — Whole Foods Market is cutting 1,500 jobs, or 1.6 percent of its workforce, in the next eight weeks. Many of the reductions will come through attrition, the company said. A spokeswoman for the chain’s New England division did not say specifically where jobs would be cut. The company anticipates that workers who lose jobs will fill some of the nearly 2,000 open positions across the company or new jobs at more than 100 stores now in development. Whole Foods faces intense competition, with the organic offerings it’s known for more widely available. It plans to open a new chain of ‘‘365’’ stores with lower prices. The first one opens next year in Los Angeles. Whole Foods opened its 30th Massachusetts store in Boston’s South End this year, and plans stores in Westford and Beverly.

    STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS