Missouri Minute: Schlichter secures new 401(k) settlement; Bunge lowers outlook

Good morning, MBA readers,

Third-quarter earnings continue to be a boon for Centene, even after it reported its own results last week. This time, Centene stocks jumped because WellCare, the Florida company it is trying to acquire, outperformed Wall Street’s revenue expectations by nearly $2 billion. Speaking of big revenue boosts, Halloween is expected to deliver an $8.8 billion treat for retailers, even as shoppers scale back their holiday spending slightly. Things aren’t so good for Bunge, the global grain trader, as demand for grain falls around the world. Scroll down to learn more about these stories and other top business news from across Missouri.

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From our newsroom

Icelandair KCI departure may have been hastened by 737 Max, analysts say
In the aftermath of Kansas City International Airport losing its only transatlantic flight last month, multiple experts have cited fallout from the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max as a potential contributing factor.

NCAA moves to allow athletes to earn money off image, likeness
The NCAA has initiated the process of letting athletes profit off their own name, image and likeness.

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KC Fed president opposes third rate cut of the year
The Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to cut its benchmark funds rate by 25 basis points to a range of 1.5% to 1.75%. Kansas City Fed President Esther George again cast one of two votes opposed to a cut, maintaining that the Federal Open Market Committee should have held the line after its last rate cut in July. (CNBC)

Bayer says U.S. glyphosate plaintiffs more than doubled since July
German pharmaceutical giant Bayer now faces around 42,700 U.S. plaintiffs in cases related to Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller, with analysts estimating the size of a future settlement at roughly $12 billion. Bayer CEO Werner Baumann told reporters that the number of plaintiffs is not indicative of the amount of any settlement. (Reuters)

Centene shares jump after WellCare profits beat Wall Street expectations
Clayton-based Centene, which is navigating a $15 billion merger with Tampa’s WellCare, saw its shares spike 8% on Wednesday to $54 after WellCare posted third-quarter revenue of $7.14 billion, dwarfing analyst estimates of $5.06 billion. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Bunge lowers outlook amid ‘uncertain and deteriorating’ market conditions
Bunge warned investors Wednesday of a profit decline for 2019 as demand for grains falls amid the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China. The commodities merchant, which is moving its headquarters to Chesterfield, reported a 9.5% drop in net sales to $10.3 billion for the third quarter, missing analysts’ estimates of $11.3 billion. (Reuters)

KC Tenants to introduce renters’ ‘bill of rights’
KC Tenants, a renters’ rights group, plans to gather outside City Hall today to debut its newly drafted tenant bill of rights. The measure includes increased protections for low-income renters in Kansas City and the creation of a new tenant advocate’s office with the authority to investigate property owners and revoke their landlord permits. (KCUR)

Details emerge about St. Louis MLS stadium
New plans for St. Louis’ new Major League Soccer stadium reveal several property owners who are in the footprint of the proposed venue. The team has already agreed to pay at least $500,000 to buy one of the properties from St. Louis Language Immersion School to make way for the stadium. (St. Louis Business Journal)

UMB improves earnings on revenue bump
Kansas City-based UMB Financial reported an 8% boost in third-quarter net income to $62.4 million, citing higher revenue and loan growth. The company, which has $13 billion in assets as of September, brought in nearly $272 million in revenue for the third quarter, up from roughly $251 million a year earlier. (Springfield Business Journal)

CoxHealth board names new chairman
The CoxHealth Board of Directors has named Chuck Chalender, an agent for American Family Insurance, as its next chairman. Chalender, who succeeds Dennis Heim, will be a third-generation family member to serve as chair of CoxHealth’s board. (Springfield Business Journal)

KCU raises $30 million for new dental school
The Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences has raised about $30 million for a new College of Dental Medicine on its Joplin campus, including a $10 million pledge from former Leggett & Platt leader Harry M. Cornell. That amounts to about 75% of the $40 million fundraising goal, which would cover half of the overall $80 million construction cost, with the other half coming from the school itself. (Joplin Globe)

Techstars KC gets new space at UMKC
Starting next year, Techstars Kansas City will host its three-month accelerator program at the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The program will also switch to a summer schedule so it can take on interns from UMKC. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Springfield marketing firm brings on equity partners
Nathan Adams, founder and president of Epic Strategies, has made John Scroggins and Karen Frost equity partners in the business. Scroggins previously served as vice president and editor-in-chief of The Food Channel while Frost was hired as partner and senior vice president of creative services for Epic earlier this year. (Springfield Business Journal)

St. Louis law firm wins $18.1 million settlement with MIT
The law firm of Schlichter Bogard & Denton has reached an $18.1 million settlement with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a lawsuit over the school’s 401(k) plan. The firm sued MIT in 2016 on behalf of employees and retirees, accusing the school of paying excessive record-keeping fees to Fidelity Investments and failing to monitor the plan’s investments. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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Shoppers planned to scale back their spending slightly this Halloween season, but the holiday was expected to remain a retail boo-nanza. A national retail survey projected spending of $8.8 billion for Halloween — or an average of $86.27 per shopper.

Go figure


That’s the increase in uninsured children in Missouri since 2016, Missourinet reports. A new report from Georgetown University attributes this increase to federal efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid, along with cuts to the Children’s Health Insurance Program, among other factors. The 17% increase amounts to around 83,000 children.

Hello, my name is

Baker Sterchi Cowden & Rice

The law firm added five new lawyers to its St. Louis offices, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Two of the new hires were partners from other firms. New partner Jennifer Maloney is focused on civil litigation defense, and Greg Odom is focused on toxic torts, personal injury, product liability, premises liability, environmental law and commercial litigation.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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