Flooding complicating rail, river shipments for Cargill; also: Hormel’s food research, Best Buy’s revenue slices, and UnitedHealth report card

The disastrous flooding to the south and east of us is creating costs and complications for Cargill, which depends on rails and rivers to move products and raw materials in and out of the region. Finance and Commerce reports that Cargill, based in Minnetonka, is one of several agribusinesses in the state that is having to park or reroute shipments because of the flooding. The shipping industry is losing an estimated $1 million a day.

A reliable source? A new survey by Hormel Foods — not to be confused with the Hormel Institute — finds 46 percent of U.S. office workers say they get hungry within a few hours after their lunch break. Coincidently, the finding is being unveiled just as the Austin-based food processor is promoting new Hormel Compleats, microwavable meals that are “quick,” “satisfying,” “affordable,” and “easily portable.” The office survey’s margin of error was 4.4 percent. No margin of error is provided for the list of adjectives used to describe Compleats in the press release.

Best Buy reports a growing slice of its revenue is coming from such big-ticket items as flat-screen TVs, video game consoles, notebook computers and GPS devices. My guess is this reflects the fact more people are going online to download music, movies and software. The Richfield retailer announced Monday that profits fell 7 percent this spring, but the store did better than Wall Street expected. Also announced: Best Buy’s new mobile-phone venture with Carphone Warehouse also will be rolled out in China, Canada, Mexico and Turkey.

A new health-insurer report card by the American Medical Association gives UnitedHealth Group the worst grade in the class for contract compliance. The Minnetonka HMO only reimbursed 62 percent of medical services billed to it, according to an AMA study of 3 million random claims. Aetna paid 71 percent and Medicare paid 98 percent. UnitedHealth Group’s response? They blame doctors for not turning in their work on time.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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