CARGO SCRUTINY: The Bush administration is looking at technology that would enable inspectors to examine sealed cargo containers, as part of its stepped up port security efforts, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta told a House committee Tuesday. Mineta also wants his agency to be able to conduct security checks at foreign ports and is proposing that the Coast Guard be able to board ships 12 miles from U.S. shores, instead of the current three-mile limit.
FAB ON THE BLOCK: Caught in the unusual position of having too much cash on hand, Fab Industries has put itself up for sale. Samson Bitensky, Fab’s chairman and chief executive officer, said a sale is the best way for shareholders to get their cash out of the company. Fab’s most recent 10-Q filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission showed that, as of Sept. 1, Fab had $140.7 million in current assets, including $88.3 million in cash and securities available for sale, versus liabilities of $16.9 million. Bitensky said the company accumulated the money over the years, so that it would be in a position to make acquisitions. However, he added: “Frankly, there’s nothing that looks like it makes sense to buy [in the textile industry] today.” Fab shares rose $5.10 in American Stock Exchange trading Thursday, to close at $18.
SAKS AX: Saks Fifth Avenue is reorganizing its fashion merchandising office resulting in a “handful” of layoffs, a spokeswoman said, responding to reports of cutbacks. Among the recent departures was Ann Watson, vice president of fashion merchandising, who was with Saks for about a year. Before, she was senior fashion editor for Neiman Marcus.