Business news in brief

Indian farmers from Punjab state prepare food for fellow protesters at the parliament in New Delhi. The farmers opposed the government's procuring land for industry and not providing them enough of a subsidy, among other grievances.
Indian farmers from Punjab state prepare food for fellow protesters at the parliament in New Delhi. The farmers opposed the government's procuring land for industry and not providing them enough of a subsidy, among other grievances. (AP)
Posted: March 21, 2013

In the Region

PSE&G: Lower bills with upgrades

New Jersey's largest utility company said it believes customers will pay less for electricity and natural gas even if the company gets permission to spend $4 billion over the next decade to stormproof its system in a project that it proposed last month as a response to outages caused by Hurricane Sandy. Public Service Electric & Gas Co. says residential customers will pay $1 less a month in 2018 than they do now if energy commodity prices remain at current levels. The projection does not take into account any future rate increases to pay for repairs made after Sandy hit last year. - AP

Pepsi bottler expanding in N.Y.

Honickman Group, of Pennsauken, will acquire Pepsi-Cola bottling operations on Long Island from another independent bottler, Pepsi Bottling Ventures L.L.C. Terms of the transaction, expected to be completed during the second quarter, were not disclosed. Honickman's Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of New York currently operates in New York City and Westchester County. - Mike Armstrong

PNC center near airport sold

Liberty Property Trust, Radnor, says it has sold PNC Bank's 441,000-square-foot operations center at 8800 Tinicum Blvd., bordering I-95 near Philadelphia International Airport, for around $74.7 million. PNC will continue to occupy the facility. The buyer is Cole Real Estate Investments, of Phoenix. Liberty built the facility for PNC in two stages, ending in 2000. CBRE senior vice president Bob Corry represented Cole. - Joseph N. DiStefano

Comcast hiring 425 near Harrisburg

Comcast Corp. will hire 425 employees when it opens its sixth Pennsylvania call center in Susquehanna Township, near Harrisburg, this summer. The company has two call centers in Pittsburgh and others in Lebanon, York, and Philadelphia. Comcast employs 12,000 across the state, including in its Philadelphia headquarters. - Bob Fernandez

OSHA fines Morton facility

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it cited UTCRAS Inc. with 23 serious and four other-than-serious health-and-safety violations at the company's Morton facility in Delaware County. The plant assembles passenger and freight rail locomotive wheel sets and reconditions railroad roller bearings. Violations included failure to provide machine guarding and fix floor holes. The violations carry a $61,000 penalty. The company has 15 days to fix problems or contest the citations, OSHA said. - Joseph N. DiStefano

First Niagara seeks new CEO

First Niagara Financial Group, the Buffalo-based bank that has absorbed Harleysville National Bank, is searching for a new CEO after John Koelmel, who ran the bank since 2006, departed following Tuesday's board meeting. Shares rose modestly on news of Koelmel's departure, which Matthew Schultheis, analyst at Boenning & Scattergood, West Conshohocken, called "a positive development." He praised acting CEO Gary Crosby, who has a background as a turnaround specialist. - Joseph N. DiStefano

   

Aqua to spend $185M in region

Water utility Aqua Pennsylvania said it will make $185 million in improvements to its systems in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties as part of $239 million in infrastructure upgrades in 2013. Aqua Pennsylvania, part of Bryn Mawr-based Aqua America Inc., serves approximately 1.4 million people in 31 Pennsylvania counties. - Reid Kanaley

A.C. airport operator may change

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey moved closer to taking over operations of Atlantic City International Airport, a transfer aimed at reducing congestion at its other airports and luring South New Jersey passengers who fly out of Philadelphia. Port Authority Board Chairman David Samson said he expected the agency to assume operations by July, after negotiations with the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the airport's current operator. The SJTA board voted Wednesday to allow negotiations to proceed, a spokesman said in an e-mail. - AP

American Realty makes Cole offer

American Realty Capital Properties Inc. offered to buy Cole Credit Property Trust III Inc. for at least $5.7 billion, seeking to create one of the largest real estate investment trusts that leases space to single tenants. American Realty, based in New York but with offices in the Philadelphia area, bid $12 in cash or 0.80 of its common stock for each Cole Credit share, according to a statement. The offer is valued at more than $9 billion including assumed debt, American Realty said. Cole Credit is a Phoenix-based nontraded REIT that owns more than 900 mostly single-tenant office, retail, and industrial properties. - Bloomberg News

Elsewhere

Report: Pay TV rebound not strong

Research firm SNL Kagan said that pay-TV companies added 46,000 new subscribers in 2012. The industry finished the year with 100.4 million total subscribers on cable-TV, satellite-TV, and telco systems. SNL Kagan said it appeared the pay-TV industry is not rebounding with the vigor of the economy or housing market. - Bob Fernandez

Avastin from Ga. pharmacy recalled

The Food and Drug Administration is warning doctors that a compounding pharmacy is recalling dozens of lots of the Roche drug Avastin after receiving reports of eye infections among patients treated for macular degeneration. The FDA said Clinical Specialties, of Martinez, Ga., is recalling 40 lots of Avastin distributed to doctors in Georgia, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Indiana since Dec. 18. - AP

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