Business news in brief

An Egyptian taxi driver peered over his car as he and others blocked a bridge in central Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. Many taxi drivers protested, calling for the president to make good on what they say was his promise to cancel their car loans and to lower the tax valuations of their vehicles.
An Egyptian taxi driver peered over his car as he and others blocked a bridge in central Cairo, Egypt, on Monday. Many taxi drivers protested, calling for the president to make good on what they say was his promise to cancel their car loans and to lower the tax valuations of their vehicles. (AMR NABIL / Associated Press)
Posted: March 26, 2013

In the Region

Revel formally files for bankruptcy

AC Revel Inc., owner of the struggling Revel casino in Atlantic City, formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden Monday, as expected. The prepackaged bankruptcy, with terms Revel's creditors have agreed to, is meant to reduce the casino's estimated $1.5 billion in debt by about $1 billion and provide it $250 million in debtor-in-possession financing, $42 million of which is new money. The luxurious Revel, which many had hoped would reverse Atlantic City's flagging fortunes when it opened April 2 on the northern end of the Boardwalk, has failed to grow the resort's gaming market. Its gross casino revenue from slots and table games has placed it near the botton among the Shore's 12 gambling halls every month since it debuted. The casino has since announced it was adding more reasonably priced restaurants and a VIP slot lounge. Those familiar with its reorganization plan, to be heard before Judge Judith Wizmur, say Revel will also be adding a smoking area and a beach bar by Memorial Day weekend. Revel had been Atlantic City's first and only fully non-smoking casino. - Suzette Parmley

Checkpoint Systems in $5.4 M deal

Checkpoint Systems Inc., of Thorofare, has agreed to sell its CheckView business to California private-equity firm Platinum Equity for $5.4 million in cash. The CheckView security-systems integration business employs about 225 people in Canada and the United States. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of April. Shares of Checkpoint, which makes anti-theft systems for retailers, closed at $13.45, up 10 cents or 0.8 percent Monday. - Mike Armstrong

German line to add cargo stop here

Rickmers-Linie, a German shipping line, will add a new monthly cargo delivery to Philadelphia from Asia and South America to Tioga Marine Terminal in Port Richmond. Rickmers now brings two ships a month into Tioga, said Delaware River Stevedores president Robert Palaima. The expanded service will add a third monthly ship, hauling turbines, machine parts, air exchangers, and other large items used in building factories and major construction projects. The ship will call on ports including Xingang, Shanghai, Singapore, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Vitoria, Philadelphia, Savannah, and Houston. - Linda Loyd

Novira completes round of financing

Novira Therapeutics Inc., of Doylestown, has completed its initial $25 million venture financing, after attracting $7.5 million from Versant Ventures. Founded by two former Merck & Co. Inc. executives, Novira is developing antiviral drugs to treat hepatitis B infections. The addition of Versant, with offices in Basel, Switzerland, and San Francisco, increased the amount of the financing from $23 million, announced last August and led by 5AM Ventures and Canaan Partners. - Mike Armstrong

WORC to become SBA microlender

Women's Opportunities Resource Center in Philadelphia plans to announce Thursday its new status as a U.S. Small Business Administration microlender. WORC's Economic Opportunities Fund has issued more than 420 loans totaling more than $1.5 million since 1999. Under the SBA program, WORC said its goal for 2013 is $350,000 in loans to 40 to 50 entrepreneurs. Online applications can be found at www.worc-pa.com. Among WORC's first SBA recipients will be Drimaine Mills, who will receive an $8,000 loan Thursday to expand her Emerald Cutz hair salon at 2036 Fairmount Ave., said WORC president Lynne Cutler. - Diane Mastrull

   

Elsewhere

Nasdaq reimbursement plan OKd

The Securities and Exchange Commission has approved a plan by the Nasdaq stock exchange to pay $62 million in reimbursements to investment firms that lost money because of technical problems during Facebook's May 18 initial public offering. Computer glitches at Nasdaq delayed the start of Facebook trading, and technical problems kept many investors from buying shares that morning, selling them later in the day, or even from knowing whether their orders went through. - AP

T-Mobile switches phone-plan gears

T-Mobile USA, the struggling No. 4 cell-phone company, is ditching plans centered on familiar two-year contracts in favor of selling phones on installment plans. The company changed its website over the weekend to sell the new plans. T-Mobile has been losing subscribers from its contract-based plans for more than two years, chiefly to bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T. The new plan eliminates a portion of the fee charged when the phone is paid off. - AP

Bernanke defends interest policies

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says its low-interest-rate policies are helping to boost growth around the world and have created markets for products made in developing nations. In a speech at the London School of Economics, Bernanke staunchly defended the policies and similar stimulus efforts by other central banks since the 2008 financial crisis. He said current efforts should support stronger trade flows by boosting growth in major economies so they can buy more goods. - AP

Dell says it's gotten better offers

Dell Inc. said it received proposals from Blackstone Group L.P. and Carl Icahn that may be superior to founder Michael Dell's $24.4 billion buyout plan. Blackstone's plan values Dell at more than $14.25 a share, while Icahn would pay $15 a share in cash for as much as 58.1 percent of the stock. Michael Dell, who proposed $13.65 a share, hopes to retool Dell as a privately held maker of data-center gear and software for corporations. The stock price closed at $14.51 Monday, up $0.37, or 2.62 percent. - Bloomberg News

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