Business news in brief

Employees work on a Porsche Panamera S automobile as it travels along the production line at the company's factory in Leipzig, Germany, on Wednesday, March 28, 2010. Porsche SE's carmaking unit, which is 49.9 percent-owned by Volkswagen AG, said profit jumped 22 percent last year as deliveries of the Cayenne sport-utility vehicle surged. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg
Employees work on a Porsche Panamera S automobile as it travels along the production line at the company's factory in Leipzig, Germany, on Wednesday, March 28, 2010. Porsche SE's carmaking unit, which is 49.9 percent-owned by Volkswagen AG, said profit jumped 22 percent last year as deliveries of the Cayenne sport-utility vehicle surged. Photographer: Michele Tantussi/Bloomberg
Posted: March 28, 2012

IN THE REGION

Sales of generic Seroquel begin

Drugmakers have begun selling generic versions of the antipsychotic Seroquel, days after a U.S. court dismissed a bid by British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to extend the patent. Mylan Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. say they are starting the commercial launch of quetiapine fumarate tablets. A U.S. court on Friday dismissed AstraZeneca's bid to extend patents on the medication's active ingredient, quetiapine, and on the formula for Seroquel XR, the extended-release version. Astra Zeneca, which has operations in the Philadelphia region, was seeking U.S. protection until December. - Inquirer staff

Pentir, Tyco combine operations

Pentair is combining its operations with Tyco International Ltd.'s flow control business in an all-stock deal worth about $4.53 billion. The combination unites two of the biggest players in water and fluid products systems. The combined company will retain the Pentair Inc. name. Pentair's CEO will remain in place. Two Tyco nominees will join the board. When the deal closes, Tyco shareholders will own about 52.5 percent of the combined company, and Pentair shareholders will own about 47.5 percent. The combined company will be nominally based in Switzerland for tax and legal purposes, but run from Princeton under chairman and CEO Edward Breen . - AP

ELSEWHERE

West concerned about oil reserves

Oil prices dropped nearly 2 percent Wednesday after reports that Western nations may be considering a release of oil reserves onto the world market. Government data showing an increase in U.S. supplies contributed to the decline. Benchmark U.S. crude fell by $1.92 to end at $105.41 per barrel in New York while Brent crude lost $1.38 to finish at $124.16 per barrel in London. Prices tend to fall as supplies go up. U.S. supplies surged last week by twice the amount that analysts were expecting, according to government data released Wednesday. And French officials said the U.S. and Europe are thinking of supplying markets with more oil from emergency reserves in hopes of pushing prices even lower. - Bloomberg News

Murdoch eyes U.S. sports cable TV

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. is taking steps to start a national U.S. sports network on cable television aimed at challenging Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN, according to people with knowledge of the situation. News Corp. is assembling the required rights from pay-TV carriers and sports organizations, said the sources, who asked for anonymity. While a final decision hasn't been made to move forward, the company is considering converting its Fuel action-sports network to the new channel, the sources said. With a national network, Fox would join Comcast Corp.'s NBC Sports Network and CBS Corp.'s CBS Sports Network in challenging the dominant ESPN. - Bloomberg News

GM offers a different GPS app

General MotorsCorp. soon will sell a $50 smartphone application that could replace your dashboard navigation system. The company said Wednesday that the app, called GoGo Link, will project smartphone navigation systems onto a dashboard touch screen. Drivers can control the system with the touch screen and listen to voice directions through the car's speaker system. The screen also will show maps. The app works with iPhone or Android systems. It will be available later this year on Chevrolet's 2013 subcompacts, the Spark and Sonic.. - AP

Nokia targets China for smartphone

Struggling cellphone maker Nokia Corp. launched its first smartphone for China on Wednesday, looking to the world's biggest mobile market to help drive its 1-year-old turnaround effort. Nokia said its Lumia 800C will be supported by China Telecom Ltd., one of the country's three major state-owned carriers. The Finnish company, once the global industry leader, launched a corporate turnaround effort after falling behind Apple Inc. and other competitors in tapping into the popularity of smartphones. China is the world's biggest mobile phone market with about 900 million accounts, and is Nokia's biggest market. - AP

Geithner: Cut mortgage principal

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner told a U.S. Senate panelWednesday that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should reduce principal on some home mortgages. "We've been encouraging Fannie and Freddie to take another look at the map, at the economics of the finance because we think there is a strong case in some circumstances to add principal reduction as part of their strategies to help maximize return of the taxpayer," Geithner told the Senate Appropriations Committee. At the end of last year 12.1 percent of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure, compared with 12.4 percent a year earlier, according to the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.At the end of last year, 12.1 percent of mortgages were delinquent or in foreclosure.- Bloomberg News

Pentagon buyer backs F-35 fighter

The Pentagon's top weapons buyer has officially endorsed continuing development of Lockheed Martin Corp.'s F-35 fighter jet and set cost targets for when the program enters full-production. Acting Undersecretary for Acquisition Frank Kendall on Wednesday signed an "acquisition decision memo" that approves the current development phase and continuation of low-rate initial production contracts. Kendall may be asked about the memo and its implications by senators Thursday at the confirmation hearing on his nomination as undersecretary for acquisition. - AP

Executives to step up hiring

A growing number of chief executives at large U.S. companies say they are more optimistic about the economy and plan to stepup hiring. The brighter view from the boardroom comes after the best three months of job growth in two years. The Business Roundtable said Wednesday that a survey of its CEO members found that 42 percent expect to hire over the next six months. That's up from 35 percent three months ago. Nearly half plan to spend more on machinery and other capital equipment and more than 80 percent expect their sales to rise. Both those figures aremuch higher than three months ago. - AP

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