Business Briefcase: TVA to lease back coal scrubbers

Business Briefcase: TVA to lease back coal scrubbers

February 5th, 2012 by Mike Pare and Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

TVA to lease back coal scrubbers

After completing a $1 billion lease-back deal for its new gas-fired power plant near Rogersville, Tenn., the Tennessee Valley Authority may try to arrange a similar deal this spring to finance coal scrubbers on its Gallatin Fossil Plant.

"We're happy with the transaction we made on the natural gas plant, and more than likely we will next look at one of our coal scrubber projects - most likely at Gallatin," TVA Chief Financial Officer John Thomas said last week. "That will be about a $900 million project, and maybe this spring or summer we can do a transaction on that."

Under the lease-back arrangements, TVA builds and operates new plants or pollution control equipment but sells the ownership to investors who then lease back the facilities to TVA. Such arrangements keep the debt for new projects off the balance sheet for TVA, which is statutorily restricted from carrying a debt of more than $30 billion.

TVA is looking to borrow more money to finish building its Watts Bar and Bellefonte nuclear plants and to make more pollution improvements, and could soon bump up against its debt ceiling without the lease-back deals.

VW planning bowl party for 3,500

Volkswagen is partnering with Rolling Stone magazine in Indianapolis today on a Super Bowl party for 3,500 guests including former quarterback Joe Montana, according to a news release.

The Rock & Roll Fan Tailgate Party will be three blocks from Lucas Oil Stadium at The Crane Bay event center, according to VW.

After the tailgating ends, one fan will win the opportunity to attend the game with Montana, the automaker said.

Cigna completes HealthSpring buy

Cigna completed its $3.8 billion acquisition of the Franklin, Tenn.-based managed-care company HealthSpring last week, creating the biggest player in the health insurance market selling private Medicare Advantage health and prescription drug plans to seniors.

The acquisition adds more than 1 million individuals to Cigna's existing 70 million customer relationships, the Bloomfield, Conn.-based insurer said.

In a regulatory filing, HealthSpring said Karey L. Witty, its executive vice president and chief financial officer, and Michael G. Mirt, the company's president, stepped down, effective Tuesday.

HealthSpring has become an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Cigna, which also operates a claims processing center with more than 1,500 employees in Chattanooga.

RockTenn adds Memphis recycling

RockTenn opened a new single-stream recycling facility in Memphis last week, expanding the company's recycling capabilities and increasing its presence and service capabilities.

The new 150,000 square-foot facility in Memphis will complement RockTenn's established single-stream recycling plants in Chattanooga and Knoxville.

The automated, single-stream system allows designated recyclable materials to be mixed during collection instead of separated into different bins.