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A Chicken in Every Pot and A Cell Phone in Every Pocket

All Nokia telephones sold in North and South America are produced in Dallas-Fort Worth. Nokia is a Finnish company, but the majority of ils shareholders are Americans. The com-party’s hot: In 1999 its stock went from $52 to as high as $179. (lis market value exceeds Finland’s entire gross national product.) There’s a reason it’s so hot: Nokia is predict-ing that the worldwide market in handsets- about 450 million in 1999-will grow toi billion by 2002. Nokia’s own handset-sales growth is projected at 40 percent The theory driving these forecasts is that by 2002 more people will access the Internet via mobile tele-phone than by PC. That means everyone will want a new phone to plug into all the features that will be available. Nokia currently employs 5.500 people, so I wondered if that growth would mean a lot more jobs. The answer shocked me. Executives say employ-ment might go up only 5 to 10 percent. Producing the next generation of telephones should be a lot less labor intensive, requiring fewer bodies to work the assembly lines. This is called productivity, and answers like that from executives like Nokia’s are one major reason inflation will remain low. Still, espe-cially in its R&D division, local expansion is in die cards for Nokia because this is a busi-ness where you can not afford to nap. The com-pany just announced the construction of a new building in Las Colinas, giving it a total of four buildings and 900,000 square feet oui there. Actually, the announcement should come as no big surprise. The three buildings it now occupies there are numbered 1, 3, and 4.

Hicks Muse Scores AgainTriton Energy’s oil discovery off the coast of Guinea is absolutely staggering, CEO Jim Musselman was brought in to turn the company around when Hicks Muse Tate & Furst made a S350 million cash infusion a year and a half ago. Nothing will turn a company around faster than owning 85 percent of a 1.35 million-acre offshore field that is conservatively estimated to be able to produce 100,000 barrels a day by 2001. At current prices of about $25 a barrel, that’s $2.5 million day. And that makes the 3.75 million-shai stock buyback Musselman and Hicks Mir engaged in last spring look like a very sma move.

Dot.Com Fever Strikes AgailSport Supply Group has a great NYSE ticket symbol. GYM. thai should give you an idea of what il does. This profitable local company sells sports equipment to schools. But its stock trades al only six or seven times earnings. The stock has been dead. So, what to do? Voila Become an Internet company. Sports Supply began paying attention to its web site and found that its school clients are increasingly ordering stuff on the Internet, typically from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Not what you’d think of as traditional retail hours. They hired Paine Webber, which did its IPO. to go out and find something that will “enhance shareholder value.” which usu ally is it buzz, phrase for “get them bought our for a decent price.” Management says they’re like to team up with a company. Here we have yet another profitable company try-ingto re-invent itself in response to a market that only seems to pay attention to high tech and Internet plays. It may be low tech to send a box of footballs to Richardson High. But the margin on those pigskins is a lot higher than most dot.coms will ever see.

Want Fries With That Meat loaf ?

The early December story that McDonalds was bailing out Boston Market for $173.5 million lias an interesting twist behind it. Gene Street’s Preston Center-based Consolidated Restaurant Cos., which already owns El Chico. Good Eats, Spaghetti Warehouse, and Cantina Laredo, looked forward to adding some or all of me 751 Boston Markets to the fold. But what the Hamburglar wants, the Hamburglar usually gets. A sidenote: Consolidated is still hopeful that the buy out of El Chico’s long-time competitor. El Fenix. can be resurrected.


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