Missouri Minute: Westar, Great Plains try again; Belden acquires Thinklogical

Here are today’s top business headlines from across Missouri:

Great Plains, Westar will appeal regulators’ rejection of merger

Great Plains Energy and Westar Energy are appealing a decision by the Kansas Corporation Commission to reject their plan for Great Plains to buy Westar. The companies released a joint statement Thursday saying they have filed a petition with the commission requesting additional time to modify their $12.2 billion deal to satisfy the regulators. They want until May 31 to propose a new deal. Read more

Anthem changes policy on paying for emergency room visits for ‘minor conditions’

Anthem Inc. says it will begin enforcing a policy in Missouri of refusing payment for certain visits to emergency rooms.Starting this summer, if a Missourian with Anthem insurance shows up at an emergency room with a minor ailment such as a common cold that could have been treated at an urgent care center, the patient will be on the hook for the entire bill. The insurer has cited increasing costs related to inappropriate ER use as a need for its new stance on payment. Read more

Belden buying video and data company for $160 million

Belden Inc., the Clayton-based maker of networking, connectivity and cable products, has agreed to acquire Connecticut company called Thinklogical, which provides large scale video and data distribution systems, for $160 million. Read more

$10 minimum wage takes effect Friday in St. Louis

Starting Friday, businesses in St. Louis will have to pay their employees at least $10 an hour, rather than the state’s minimum of $7.70. A circuit court judge lifted an injunction against a city ordinance on Thursday, a little over a week after the Missouri Supreme Court declined to reconsider its February ruling upholding the law. Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office quickly announced the wage increase would go into effect Friday. The city is mailing notices to employers. Read more

Huge crops, record storage signal more woes for grain merchants

In the face of a global grain glut that is crushing profits and raising questions about long-term prospects for the world’s big grain merchants, the companies maintain they need only a drought or other supply shock to return to the riches of the past. But a two-day rout on Wall Street earlier this week for two of the industry’s biggest firms — Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Bunge Ltd. — underscores concerns that poor recent profits may be more than just a leg of a cyclical downturn and instead point to fundamental change. Read more

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