SLIM SAKS BIGGEST shareholder: Mexican telecommunications tycoon Carlos Slim Helu reduced his holdings in Saks Inc. last year, but still finished fiscal 2003 as the retailer’s biggest shareholder, according to the definitive proxy filed last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Orient Star Holdings LLC, Slim Helu’s American investment arm, held 15.8 million shares of Saks stock, or 11.1 percent of the shares outstanding, followed closely by FMR Corp., with 15.6 million shares, or 11 percent. At the end of 2002, Orient Star owned 17.1 million shares, or 11.9 percent, versus FMR’s 14 million, or 9.7 percent. However, Southeastern Asset Management, the largest shareholder at the close of 2002, reduced its stake to 11.5 million shares, or 8 percent, from 20 million, or 14 percent. Led by chief executive R. Brad Martin, all executive officers and directors of Saks held 9.7 percent of shares versus 9.5 percent in 2002. Martin’s compensation last year rose 20.5 percent to $2.2 million as his salary rose 5 percent to $1.05 million, his bonus increased 32.2 percent to $1.1 million and other compensation, zero in 2002, totaled just more than $59,000.
HONOR FOR SCOTESE: The United College Employees of the Fashion Institute of Technology will honor retired Springs Industries Inc. chief executive officer Peter Scotese tonight. Scotese is to receive the “A Friend of Public Higher Education” award at the group’s annual Louis Stollar Scholarship dinner, held at FIT’s David Dubinsky Student Center, where $14,000 in scholarships will be distributed to up to six students. Scotese is also chairman emeritus of the board of FIT.
HAROLD’S EXTRA CREDIT: Harold’s Stores Inc., a Dallas-based retailer operating 41 upscale specialty stores, has reached an agreement with Wells Fargo Retail Finance to increase its credit facility to $25 million, or $22 million plus advances, whichever is less, from a $22 million facility, while also extending the expiration of the credit facility by one year, the retailer said. Wells Fargo also granted the company $2 million based upon a loan agreement with RonHow LLC, a group owned by Ronald de Waal and W. Howard Lester. According to the company, de Waal is a major holder of the company’s common stock. Lester, a Harold’s director, is the second-largest shareholder, with 46,933 shares.