Business news in brief

India's Kingfisher Airlines , which has lost money for 10 quarters because of rising competition and high fuel prices, reversed a 20 percent drop in trading Tuesday after Bloomberg-UTV said banks were close to granting a $200 million loan. The report eased concerns about the airline's future after it cut about 15 percent of flights when tax authorities froze accounts.
India's Kingfisher Airlines , which has lost money for 10 quarters because of rising competition and high fuel prices, reversed a 20 percent drop in trading Tuesday after Bloomberg-UTV said banks were close to granting a $200 million loan. The report eased concerns about the airline's future after it cut about 15 percent of flights when tax authorities froze accounts. (MUSTAFA QURAISHI / Associated Press)
Posted: February 22, 2012

In the Region

Exel labor violations spur fines

Federal labor officials said Tuesday they found nine workplace violations at a candy repackaging and distribution facility owned by the Hershey Co. and operated by Exel Inc., the site of protests last summer by foreign student workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration proposed penalties of $283,000 against Exel after inspections prompted by a complaint by the National Guestworker Alliance on the students' behalf. It also proposed a $5,000 fine against SHS Staffing Solutions, which helped place the students. The agency said six violations lodged against Exel, of Westerville, Ohio, were willful, for not recording injuries and illnesses over a four-year period and not taking required steps to protect workers' hearing. - AP

New Penney's set for Franklin Mills

A new J.C. Penney department store at Franklin Mills Mall is to open March 2, replacing a shuttered Penney's Outlet Store at the same location, the company announced Tuesday. The 101,000-square-foot store at Franklin Mills Circle has been remodeled since the outlet was closed in July. The company said it had implemented a new strategy starting this month to offer merchandise at attractive prices on a daily basis, rather than inundating customers with sales, coupons, rebates, and "retail gimmicks." - Maria Panaritis

Teva to settle lawsuits

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. will pay more than $250 million to settle more than 80 lawsuits alleging the drugmaker sold the anesthetic Propofol in a way that led colonoscopy patients to develop hepatitis C, sources familiar with the accords said. Teva, the world's biggest maker of generic medicines, confirmed the settlement Tuesday without specifying how much it would pay. The company, based in Frazer, Pa., agreed to resolve claims by Las Vegas residents that it intentionally sold Propofol in vials large enough to be reused by doctors, sources said. Teva no longer makes Propofol. - Bloomberg News

New Marcellus pipeline proposed

A natural gas driller and a pipeline company propose to build a new pipeline to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale to the New York and New England markets. Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. of Houston and Williams Partners L.P. of Tulsa, Okla., announced plans for the high- pressure, large-diameter pipeline Tuesday. The 120-mile Constitution Pipeline would transport gas from Cabot's Marcellus Shale acreage in Susquehanna County to the Iroquois and Tennessee pipelines in New York state. The pipeline requires federal regulatory approval. - AP

No link seen between crime, drilling

A Pennsylvania State University study released Tuesday has found no definitive correlation between crime rates and natural gas drilling activity in the Marcellus Shale region. The preliminary report by the Justice Center for Research at Penn State found no consistent increases in arrests or calls to the Pennsylvania State Police in counties with high Marcellus drilling activity from 2006 and 2010. "More time needs to elapse before we can identify strong trends," said coauthor Lindsay Kowalski. The report was produced in response to public concerns that the shale-gas boom is causing an increase in crime.

- Andrew Maykuth

VideoRay moves to Pottstown

VideoRay L.L.C. and Pottstown Area Industrial Development Inc. (PAID) announced plans for the relocation of VideoRay's headquarters to Pottstown. VideoRay, the global leader in observation Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) technology, is working on plans to acquire and renovate the former Levitz building at 212 E. High St. The building would initially be occupied by 35 VideoRay employees working in management, corporate administration, marketing, engineering, assembly, and repair functions. The rapidly growing manufacturer of very small underwater ROVs expects to increase the size of its workforce over the next several years. - Inquirer Staff

Renewable-energy plant planned

The Philadelphia Water Department has hired Ameresco Inc., a Framingham, Mass., renewable-energy company, to design, build, and maintain a biogas-burning cogeneration plant at its Northeast Water Pollution Control Plant. The $47.5 million project will generate 5.6 megawatts of electricity and thermal energy for use at the treatment plant. Michael T. Bakas, Ameresco's senior vice president, said the project was sized based upon projections about how much biogas is produced from the decomposition of sewage in the plant's digesters. The Water Department estimates the project will save $12 million in energy costs.

- Andrew Maykuth

Elsewhere

Pay cut for AT&T's chief officer

AT&T's board cut CEO Randall Stephenson's 2011 pay by $2.08 million because he engineered the failed deal to buy T-Mobile USA, according to a regulatory filing. The collapse of the deal, in the face of opposition from antitrust regulators, cost AT&T $4.2 billion in cash and spectrum rights that it had to hand over to T-Mobile. Stephenson's 2011 pay package was worth $18.7 million, based on the filing from the Dallas-based phone company. The board cut Stephenson's cash bonus by 25 percent and also took the cost of the T-Mobile deal into consideration when awarding stock. Stephenson earned $20.2 million in 2010.

- AP

Google adds real-time pricing

Google Inc. will carry real-time pricing from leading European stock exchanges, the company said Tuesday, marking an expansion of the online search giant's financial offerings. Google said it was now publishing live data from the London Stock Exchange, Frankfurt's Deutsche Boerse, and Milan's Borsa Italia. Stock prices from those exchanges had been carried on Google's finance website with a 15-minute delay. The company already carries live quotes from the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, and others. - AP

Medco Health sees gains

Medco Health Solutions Inc.'s fourth- quarter net income rose 12 percent, as gains from generic prescriptions and the pharmacy benefits manager's specialty business helped offset costs from its pending acquisition by Express Scripts Inc. A new generic version of the cholesterol fighter Lipitor added about 3 cents per share to the Franklin Lakes, N.J., company's earnings. Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug, lost its patent protection late in the fourth quarter. - AP

More people carrying credit cards

The TransUnion credit reporting agency said more people were carrying credit cards after the banking industry opened up lending a bit in 2011. The number of new cards issued to consumers rose 14 percent in 2011, with about a quarter of them going to people with less-than-stellar credit histories, TransUnion said Tuesday. - AP

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