Featured Articles in Business

Montana manufacturers to offer tours as part of national event

BOZEMAN — Manufacturing companies around Montana will offer virtual and in-person tours of their operations throughout October as part of a national effort that kicks off with National Manufacturing Day on Thursday, Oct. 1. The Montana Manufacturing Extension Center at Montana State University is encouraging Montana manufacturers to host the tours and is available to Read More…

All in: Business

A London-based trading house bought 250,000 barrels of oil during the historic plunge below $0 and likely made a fortune

One trader bought 250,000 barrels of oil and secured a rare payout as oil prices turned negative last month, causing jitters in markets and leaving most other traders scrambling to find storage options across both sides of the Atlantic, Bloomberg reported on Thursday. But for BB Energy, a trading house based in London, the historic oil-market crash was Read More…

State receives more than 9,600 COVID-19 relief grant applications

More than 9,600 COVID-19 relief grant applications have been submitted to the State of Montana since applications opened last Thursday. Last week, Governor Bullock announced $123 million in CARES Act funding for nine new grant programs that are designed to address key COVID-19 issues Montanans are facing. As of the beginning of the business day May 13, the Montana Read More…

Secretary of State: Montana business registrations drop by 11,000 from last year

MISSOULA, Mont. — Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton noted that 11,000 fewer businesses renewed their state registrations by April 15 this year in comparison to last year. The statistic was highlighted in Stapleton’s Montana Business Forecast on Sunday. “The economic, social, and health-related disruptions from the coronavirus are historic,” Stapleton wrote in the emailed forecast. Read More…

$10 million in funding announced for Montana child care facilities

HELENA- Montana child care providers are eligible for funding through the CARES Act Child Care and Development Block Grants. The $10 million in federal CARES Act funding was announced Wednesday, and is to provide support for existing child care providers, assistance for low-income families participating in the Best Beginnings Scholarship Program and will fund emergency Read More…

TWO PROMINENT WYOMING GAS DRILLERS IN FINANCIAL PERIL

A top financial ratings service has listed western Wyoming gas drillers Ultra Resources and Jonah Energy among issuers of “top bonds of concern” whose securities could face “imminent” default. Fitch Ratings named the two companies that operate in the Pinedale Anticline, Jonah Field and Normally Pressured Lance, or NPL Field in an April 13 report Read More…

US GDP shrank 4.8% in the first quarter amid biggest contraction since the financial crisis

Gross domestic product fell 4.8% in the first quarter, according to government numbers released Wednesday that provide the first detailed glimpse into the deep damage the coronavirus wreaked on the U.S. economy. Economist surveyed by Dow Jones had expected the first estimate of GDP to show a 3.5% contraction. This marked the first negative GDP Read More…

Banks See High Demand for Loans and Refinancing

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began closing businesses and lowering interest rates, banks in the Flathead Valley are reporting high numbers of phone calls, loan applications and mortgage refinances. Banks have seen a lot of activity through the Small Business Administration’s $349 billion federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which authorizes forgivable loans to small businesses Read More…

Nearly 3 million borrowers have been granted mortgage relief, and the industry is crying for help

More than 2.9 million homeowners have taken advantage of a program designed to provide relief to holders of government-backed mortgages, part of the coronavirus CARES Act relief package. This represents 5.5% of all active mortgages, according to Black Knight, a mortgage data and analytics company that is now tracking the growing numbers daily. The program Read More…

The Trump administration paid a bankrupt company with zero employees $55 million for N95 masks, which it’s never manufactured

The coronavirus pandemic has created a desperate clamber for vital medical supplies, like N95 masks, that has led the federal government to award massive contracts to third-party vendors to help fill the gaps. In this chaotic effort to obtain supplies, the Trump administration awarded a $55 million contract to Panthera Worldwide LLC, a company with Read More…

WeWork board sues SoftBank over withdrawal to buy $3 billion worth of shares

A special committee of WeWork’s board is suing SoftBank after SoftBank withdrew its $3 billion tender offer, the company announced Tuesday. WeWork is claiming that SoftBank breached its obligations under their agreement. SoftBank originally made the tender offer to buy shares of WeWork at an agreed upon price last year as part of a package to bail out Read More…

From chew toys to medical masks: Montana’s hardest hit county fights back against coronavirus

Bozeman, Montana has a population of 48,532, but just like big cities in New York and California, this small city in the southern part of the state has seen the demand for medical masks skyrocket. Located in Gallatin County, Bozeman is home to more than one third of Montana’s confirmed COVID-19 cases, and is by far the hardest hit county in Read More…

Work starts in Montana on disputed Canada-US oil pipeline

BILLINGS, Mont. — A Canadian company said Monday that it’s started construction on the long-stalled Keystone XL oil sands pipeline across the U.S.-Canada border despite calls from tribal leaders and environmentalists to delay the $8 billion project amid the coronavirus pandemic. A spokesman for TC Energy said work began over the weekend at the border crossing Read More…

More than 6 million unemployment claims were made last week, Labor Department says

Unemployment claims have spiked to 6.65 million across the country, the Department of Labor said in a press release on Thursday. Unemployment claims have doubled since last week when the Labor Department reported that about 3 million people were seeking unemployment. That figure was already by far the highest number of unemployment claims the department had ever seen. READ Read More…

KOA seeing nationwide cancellations of campgrounds because of coronavirus

Kampgrounds of America (KOA) finds itself on the front lines dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. Not only has the coronavirus forced the company’s Billings headquarters into a “work-from-home operation”, but KOA’s network of campgrounds nationwide are front and center as the country fights back against the virus. President and CEO Toby O’Rourke took to the Read More…

Billings Shiloh Crossing restaurants see less weekend customers after stay at home directive

BILLINGS — Billings restaurants in the Shiloh Crossing shopping complex are seeing up to a 50 percent loss of sales Saturday following Governor Steve Bullock’s directive to stay at home. “As you can see, around the parking lot, it’s been dead. Our revenue has been cut in half. It’s just been me and my manager doing everything since Read More…

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes to face trial separate from ex-lover

Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes will head to trial apart from fellow C-suite exec and one-time lover, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, according to a report. Holmes, who served as the company’s CEO, will head to trial starting Aug. 4 with a separate jury from Balwani, who will be tried following the conclusion of Holmes’ case, Bloomberg reported. The judge did not provide any Read More…

SoftBank strategy shifts from long-term domination to short-term survival as Vision Fund prepares for global downturn

About 10 years ago, SoftBank released a slideshow presentation on the company’s 300-year plan. “Unknown virus” got one reference, on slide 69 of 133. Perhaps coronavirus will just be a blip in the company’s long-term plan for world domination. Perhaps SoftBank’s vision of investing in artificial intelligence and other dominant technology companies will pay off in the long run, Read More…

Missoula business owners take precautions before government regulations

MISSOULA, Mont. — On Monday, Missoula City-County Health officials announced an order closing bars and limiting restaurant service starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday through 8 a.m. Tuesday, March 24. The health department is doing this to follow guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control. “It’s not just about money, it’s really about the ethics Read More…

Billings-area electric co-op rates compare well, at average usage, CEO says

Residential electric rates for one of Montana’s largest rural cooperatives compare well to NorthWestern Energy, when measured at the co-op customers’ average usage, says the co-op’s CEO. “We compete very well, actually,” Yellowstone Valley Electric Co-op CEO Brandon Wittman told MTN News. “So, is it fair to compare? It is, at the correct usage.” In Read More…

Commerce announces Montana Main Street Program

The Montana Department of Commerce announced that five Montana communities have been accepted to become affiliate members of the Montana Main Street Program. The program helps Montana communities strengthen and preserve historic downtown commercial districts by supporting economic development, urban revitalization and historic preservation through long-range planning, organization, design and promotion. “The Department of Commerce Read More…