Business news in brief

HMV suspended trading, with shares priced at about 2 cents, and sought outside help in saving any of its music and entertainment business. HMV, whose name stands for "his master's voice," from the trademark of a Nipper dog staring at an early gramophone player, is Britain's last big retail chain selling recorded music. The first store opened in 1921 in London. Now at 238 stores, the chain will stay open for now.
HMV suspended trading, with shares priced at about 2 cents, and sought outside help in saving any of its music and entertainment business. HMV, whose name stands for "his master's voice," from the trademark of a Nipper dog staring at an early gramophone player, is Britain's last big retail chain selling recorded music. The first store opened in 1921 in London. Now at 238 stores, the chain will stay open for now. (MATT DUNHAM / AP)
Posted: January 16, 2013

In the Region

Plan for giant wind farms off N.J.

Atlantic Wind Connection announced Tuesday that it selected New Jersey for the first phase for its transmission project that envisions connecting giant offshore wind farms to the power grid. The Princeton consortium's plans call for converting power generated by wind turbines to high-voltage direct-current electricity that would be transmitted to the mainland by undersea cables. The power would be converted on offshore platforms about 260 feet long, 165 feet wide and 11 stories above the water, according to its application filed with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management. The NJ Energy Link would connect offshore power to users in northern, central and southern New Jersey. It is expected to begin construction in 2016 and to put the first phase in service in 2019. - Andrew Maykuth

SAP shares fall on earnings

Shares of business-management software maker SAP AG fell the most in six months after the company reported earnings that trailed analysts' estimates because of rising spending and slowing growth in the Americas, where SAP has headquarters in Newtown Square. Fourth-quarter operating profit excluding some items rose about 10 percent to 1.96 billion euros ($2.6 billion), the Germany-based company said. Analysts had projected 2 billion euros, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed. Sales of new software licenses, an indicator of future revenue, also trailed projections. Shares on the New York Stock Exchange fell 5.3 percent, or $4.33, to close at $77.55. - Bloomberg News

Spirit adding Myrtle Beach flights

Spirit Airlines, which will begin flying April 4 to Dallas-Fort Worth from Philadelphia International Airport, said it will begin seasonal nonstop flights to Myrtle Beach, S.C., on April 25 from Philadelphia and from Baltimore Washington (BWI) airport. The Miramar, Fla.-based carrier currently offers year-round daily nonstop service to Myrtle Beach from Atlantic City. - Linda Loyd

LaserLock raises $4.2 million

LaserLock Technologies Inc., of Bala Cynwyd, said it raised $4.2 million in private financing to fund research and marketing. The development-stage company markets security technology to detect counterfeiting in pharmaceuticals, retail goods, the casino industry and documents. LaserLock shares are traded over-the-counter. - Reid Kanaley

Gamesa to run W.Va. wind farm

Gamesa Technology Corp. Inc., of Trevose, has secured a 10-year contract to provide operation and maintenance for the 264-megawatt NedPower Mount Storm wind-power project in West Virginia. The agreement is a renewal of a five-year contract that ends in June. Gamesa will maintain the 132 Gamesa turbines in Grant County, W.Va., one of the largest wind farms in the eastern United States. NedPower is owned by Dominion Resources Inc. and Shell WindEnergy Inc. Gamesa did not disclose terms of the contract, which involves the employment of about six people. - Andrew Maykuth

WPCS announces $4M in contracts

WPCS International Inc., Exton, said it has new contracts worth about $4 million. The telecommunications engineering work includes projects at San Francisco International Airport, the University of California-Davis and jobs in Australia and China. - Inquirer staff

Elsewhere

Wal-Mart wants to hire 100,000 vets

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer and the biggest private employer in the United States with 1.4 million workers here, said it is rolling out a three-part plan to help jump-start the sluggish U.S. economy. The plan includes hiring more than 100,000 veterans in the next five years, spending $50 billion to buy more American-made merchandise in the next 10 years and helping its part-time workers move into full-time positions sooner. The move comes as Wal-Mart attempts to bolster its reputation, which has been hit in the last year by an alleged bribery scandal in Mexico and a deadly fire at a Bangladesh factory that supplies clothes to the company. - AP

Analyst: Worst is over in Europe

A top analyst for the credit ratings agency Fitch Rating said the worst of Europe's debt crisis is probably over and the odds are that no country will drop out of the euro. Douglas Renwick, senior director of Fitch's European sovereign credit analysis, said the 17 EU countries that use the euro have shown their capacity to muddle through to some sort of resolution of their 3-year debt crisis and that a breakup of the bloc is now "very unlikely." But he added there is "plenty more" that needs to be done and it may take the rest of the decade. - AP

American workers vote no on union

American Airlines passenger service workers voted against joining the Communications Workers of America, after the union won a legal battle to hold an election. The workers rejected representation by the union by a vote of 51 percent to 49 percent, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier said. AMR Corp.'s American has about 9,700 passenger service agents, who work at airport ticket counters, gates and baggage areas, the union said. American put the number eligible to vote at almost 7,900. The result means American will have one fewer union to deal with as it completes bankruptcy restructuring, either independently or through a merger with US Airways Group Inc. - Bloomberg News

Bankers criticize consumer bureau

Bankers and financial industry leaders are criticizing the early efforts of the government's new consumer finance watchdog, saying a slow and inefficient oversight process has slowed lending and made it more difficult for them to do business. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's team that examines banks is understaffed, inexperienced and takes months to tell banks how they scored on routine audits, Consumer Bankers Association CEO Richard Hunt said. - AP

Micro-loans for U.S. farmers

With interest in locally grown food soaring, the federal government said that it created a small-loan program to help community farmers who might not be able to borrow money from banks. Call it seed money. The low-interest "micro-loans" of up to $35,000 are designed to aid startup costs, bolster existing family-run farms and help minority growers and military veterans who want to farm. Over the last three years, there has been a 60 percent increase in local growers who sell directly to consumers or farmers markets, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. - AP

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