Broward County -- Yet another Miami-Dade County firm has fled for Broward County's greener pastures. Precision Response Corp. (Nasdaq-PRRC), which contracts with outside firms to provide phone-based customer service, will move its headquarters and about 80 management workers to Plantation. Officials say the remainder of the company's 3,000 Miami-Dade service employees will not be affected by the move. The company also announced plans to build a new call center in Sunrise, creating 500 new jobs.
The finding of a 1998 survey: Five times as many Broward companies engage in international business as previously thought. The response: The establishment of the Greater Fort Lauderdale International Business Council, a new economic development agency that hopes to promote the county as a global trade center. The privately run agency will unify the international marketing efforts of the Broward Alliance, World Trade Center and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber of Commerce.
Broward remains one of the nation's fastest-growing counties, with more than 30,000 new residents between April 1998 and 1999. A University of Florida study revealed that the county's current population of 1,490,289 reflects an 18.7% increase since the 1990 census. The West Broward cities of Weston, Pembroke Pines, Miramar and Coral Springs accounted for much of the growth.
Fort Lauderdale -- To prepare for the spinoff of its auto rental unit, AutoNation (NYSE-AN) is moving the headquarters of National Car Rental from Minneapolis to Fort Lauderdale. After the spinoff in early 2000, the new company -- ANC Rental Corp. -- will trade independently on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ANR. While the move/spinoff will eliminate roughly 400 jobs in Minneapolis and 150 jobs with AutoNation in Fort Lauderdale, about 250 new positions will open up here to support the new ANC Rental Corp. Laid-off workers will receive first consideration. The spinoff will allow AutoNation to focus solely on automobile retailing.
Miami-Dade County -- After a brief, spirited debate, executives and family members of closely held Bacardi have iced plans to go public. Analysts say a stock offering could have raised $1 billion. Founded in Cuba, the 137-year-old maker of rums and other beverages is now based in Bermuda, but has a substantial Miami operation.
With an eye toward other markets around the state, Texas-based Container Store opened its first Florida location. Founded in 1978, the privately held retailer now operates 21 stores nationwide. The Miami store, which is located across from the Dadeland Mall, is expected to post first-year sales in excess of $10 million.
Lycos, the Waltham, Mass.-based Internet search firm, selected Miami as the site for its new Latin American headquarters. The company expects to create at least 14 new jobs.
Can it get any worse for CHS Electronics? The computer exporter, which ranks 189th on the Fortune 500 with 1998 sales of $11 billion, has been battling allegations of padding its balance sheet and other mismanagement. Now, federal officials are investigating possible money laundering and export violations. The company's stock price (NYSE-HS), which approached $20 per share a year ago, has been trading for less than $1.