Business news in brief

Protesters gathered outside the JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s annual shareholders' meeting Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, to criticize the bank's handling of foreclosures. Inside, several shareholders spoke against the bank's position. The protests were organized by the New Bottom Line, a coalition of clergy and unions that is pushing for action and legislation against banking practices that hurt troubled homeowners.
Protesters gathered outside the JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s annual shareholders' meeting Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio, to criticize the bank's handling of foreclosures. Inside, several shareholders spoke against the bank's position. The protests were organized by the New Bottom Line, a coalition of clergy and unions that is pushing for action and legislation against banking practices that hurt troubled homeowners. (JAY LaPRETE / Associated Press)
Posted: May 18, 2011

In the Region

Report: Tourism up sharply since 1997

The five-county Philadelphia area was visited by 33.1 million leisure travelers last year, 10 million more than in 1997, the nonprofit Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp. said Tuesday. Its report showed that Center City leisure hotel bookings had more than tripled in that same span - to 827,000 rooms in 2010 from 254,000 in 1997 - and that overall visitor spending was $24 million a day last year. - AP

Sunoco Logistics buys Ohio pipeline

Sunoco Logistics Partners L.P., Philadelphia, said it bought a majority interest in Inland Corp., an Ohio oil-pipeline company, for $100 million. Inland, which is privately held and is based in West Salem, Ohio, operates a 350-mile pipeline for refined oil products. The deal gives Sunoco Logistics an 84 percent economic stake in Inland and a 70 percent voting interest. Sunoco operates 2,200 miles of pipelines in the Northeast, Midwest, and Southwest. - Paul Schweizer

Shire buys Advanced BioHealing for $750M

Shire P.L.C., a specialty biopharmaceutical company with North American headquarters in Wayne, said it agreed to pay $750 million for Advanced BioHealing Inc. Advanced BioHealing's key product is Dermagraft, which is designed to be used to treat diabetic foot ulcers. Shire is based in Dublin, Ireland. Advanced BioHealing is part of Safeguard Scientific Inc.'s portfolio. Safeguard, a Wayne investor in life-sciences companies, said it would receive $140 million from the sale. - David Sell

Triumph Group wins business-jet contract

Triumph Group Inc., a Wayne maker of aircraft structures and components, said it was awarded a contract to design and build the wing for Bombardier Inc.'s ultra-long-range business jets. The wing will be designed to maximize aerodynamic efficiency and be built at Triumph's Dallas plant. The contract's value was not disclosed, but Triumph said it would be among the company's 10 largest programs by 2016, when the first delivery is expected. Currently, Triumph's largest program is the Boeing 747 jet, and the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner also is among the top 10. - Paul Schweizer

RAIT increases dividend for 2011

RAIT Financial Trust declared a second-quarter dividend of 6 cents per common share, or 24 cents per share on an annual basis. For all of 2010, the Philadelphia real estate financing and investment company paid a dividend of 3 cents per share, and it paid no dividend in 2009. The new dividend, payable July 29 to shareholders of record July 8, reflects a 1-for-3 reverse stock split that will occur at the end of June. - Harold Brubaker

With rates low, J&J plans bond sale

Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J., plans to sell $3.75 billion of bonds to help pay back short-term borrowings, as investment-grade yields fall to a six-month low. J&J, which has major operations in the Philadelphia area, is following similar sales in the last month by Google Inc., General Mills Inc., and CVS Caremark Corp. Other major companies, including McDonald's Corp., HSBC Bank P.L.C., and Caterpillar Financial Services Corp. also are planning to issue debt to take advantage of low interest rates. - Bloomberg News

HP cuts fiscal year forecast by $1 billion

Hewlett-Packard Co. cut its full-year financial outlook, citing woes that include the earthquake in Japan, soft PC sales, and weakening performance in its crucial tech-services business. The forecast overshadowed HP's second-quarter profit of $2.3 billion, or $1.05 a share, up from $2.2 billion, or 91 cents, in the 2010 quarter. Revenue climbed 3 percent to $31.6 billion. For the full fiscal year, HP cut $1 billion from its previous revenue forecast, saying now sales will be $129 billion to $130 billion. Shares of the personal-computer-maker fell $2.89, or 7 percent, to $36.91. - AP and Bloomberg News

LinkedIn raises IPO price range

Professional networking website LinkedIn raised the target price for its initial public offering of stock by about 30 percent in a sign of heavy demand by investors. The increase is encouraging for future IPOs of other social-networking companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and Groupon. LinkedIn boosted the price range on its shares to $42 to $45 each from $32 to $35. The new price means LinkedIn could be valued at more than $4 billion, the biggest U.S. Internet IPO since Google Inc.'s debut in 2004. - AP

Dell's profit jumps on cost cuts

Personal-computer maker Dell Inc. said its profit nearly tripled during its fiscal first quarter as its revenue inched upward and it cut costs. For the three months that ended April 29, Dell earned $945 million, or 49 cents per share, compared with $341 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 1 percent to $15.02 billion from $14.87 billion last year, missing analyst estimates of $15.4 billion. - AP

Smartphone users' privacy to face FCC scrutiny

The Federal Communications Commission said it would hold a forum June 28 to examine how mobile Internet devices use consumers' location information and will later write a report on user privacy. The hearing, to be held in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, follows congressional hearings into how companies collect and use consumer data on mobile devices. Executives from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. said at a May 10 Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing that they did not track individual customers. The companies use location data to deliver targeted advertising and help customers find nearby businesses. - Bloomberg News

Supply problems cut U.S. factory output

For the first time in 10 months, U.S. factories in April produced fewer goods than the month before. The reversal was caused mostly by a temporary parts shortage stemming from the Japanese earthquake that forced automakers to cut back output. The Federal Reserve said manufacturing production fell 0.4 percent in April. Excluding the drop in activity at auto plants, factory production rose 0.2 percent last month. - AP

Intel to concentrate on power-saving chips

Intel Corp. chief executive Paul Otellini said his company's focus was shifting toward power-saving chips as smartphones and tablets account for a rising share of the computer market. Intel will aim for power consumption of 15 watts as a midpoint. Now, the midpoint for chips for laptops is about 35 watts. - AP

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