Unum boosts quarterly dividend by 5.8% and more business news

Staff Photo by Robin Rudd / Unum Insurance Company is located at 1 Fountain Square. The photo was taken on June 26, 2020.

Unum boosts dividend 5.8%

Chattanooga-based Unum Group announced Thursday that its board of directors has authorized an increase of 5.3% in the quarterly dividend paid on its common stock.

The new rate of 30 cents per common share, or $1.20 per share on an annual basis, will be effective with the dividend expected to be paid in the third quarter of 2021, according to the company.

Unum provides a portfolio of financial protection benefits and services through the workplace and is a leading provider of disability income protection worldwide. Unum reported revenues of $13.2 billion in 2020 and provided $7.6 billion in benefits.

Shell sells refinery in Alabama for $75 million

Shell Oil Co. said Thursday it will sell an Alabama refinery designed to produce 90,000 barrels of crude oil and other products daily to Texas-based Vertex Energy for $75 million.

Shell said the cash deal was part of its plan to shed refineries that aren't aligned with trading hubs, chemical plants and marketing businesses.

"The sale of the Mobile refinery shows that we are making good progress delivering on our manufacturing strategy," Robin Mooldijk, an executive vice president for manufacturing, said in a statement. "We're becoming better positioned to deliver resilient returns and meet the increasingly diverse needs of our customers."

Located on the northern end of Mobile Bay, the refinery will offer jobs to its current workforce as it changes hands. Aside from the refinery complex, Vertex will purchase its hydrocarbon inventory at the time the sale is complete, which could add from $65 million to $85 million to the deal.

FirstEnergy fires six executives in Ohio

A FirstEnergy senior vice president was fired Thursday for her "inaction" regarding a 2015 amendment to a "purported" consulting contract with someone who was later appointed as Ohio's top utility regulator, the company announced in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Eileen Mikkelsen's dismissal makes her the sixth high-ranking FirstEnergy executive fired since the U.S. Department of Justice alleged last July that the company had secretly funded a $60 million bribery scheme aimed at winning legislative approval of a bailout of two nuclear power plants operated at the time by a wholly-owned FirstEnergy subsidiary.

CEO Chuck Jones and two other vice presidents were fired in October for what FirstEnergy said were violations of company policies and its code of conduct. Two of the company's top attorneys were fired the following month. FirstEnergy did not specify the reason for their dismissals.

Jones was appointed CEO in 2015.

Online scrubs seller Figs soars 36% in market debut

Shares of online scrubs seller Figs soared in its stock market debut, valuing the 8-year old company at $4.8 billion.

Founded in 2013, Figs set out to remake what medical scrubs looked like: from boxy, V-necked and baggy to a more fitted silhouette. At first, the company's founders sold the scrubs from their cars outside hospitals, trying to catch health care workers as they left their shifts at 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Today, Figs sells its goods online, and offers scrubs in all different styles, including bottoms that look like joggers and sleeveless tops. Last year, the company's revenue more than doubled to $263 million from the year before.

Two groups pull rating for Tesla safety system

Two key groups that offer automobile safety ratings are yanking their top endorsements from some Tesla vehicles because the company has stopped using radar on its safety systems.

Consumer Reports pulled its "Top Pick" status for Tesla's Model 3 and Y vehicles built after April 27, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety plans to remove the vehicles' "Top Safety Pick Plus" designation.

The U.S. government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is no longer giving the Models 3 and Y check marks on its website for having forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and emergency brake support.

That prompted the ratings groups' actions. Both require electronic safety systems for the top safety designations.

Consumer Reports says that removing radar and relying on cameras means the safety features may not be there when needed.

- Compiled by Dave Flessner