Business news in brief

New employees of Japan Airlines Co. at a welcoming ceremony at the company's hangar near Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Japan's jobless rate, which had dropped to 4.2 percent in January from 4.3 percent in December, was reported to be back at the 4.3 percent mark for February. Japan's economy is showing uncertainty over the global economy.
New employees of Japan Airlines Co. at a welcoming ceremony at the company's hangar near Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Japan's jobless rate, which had dropped to 4.2 percent in January from 4.3 percent in December, was reported to be back at the 4.3 percent mark for February. Japan's economy is showing uncertainty over the global economy. (Bloomberg)
Posted: April 02, 2013

In the Region

PolyMedix files for bankruptcy

PolyMedix Inc., a small biotech company in Radnor, has sought Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In January, PolyMedix replaced its chief executive officer, Nicholas Landekic, with chief financial officer Edward F. Smith as interim CEO. Smith resigned Monday, according to the filing. A company spokeswoman did not return a call or e-mail. With its most advanced drug only in stage two (of three) clinical trials, according to the firm's website, product revenue was uncertain and far in the future. The SEC filing said the company faced a payment of $6.8 million to MidCap Financial SBIC L.P. and "substantially all of the assets" were pledged to pay the lender. A MidCap Financial spokeswoman did not return a call or e-mail. - David Sell

Sentencing set in Medicare fraud

A South Jersey doctor will be sentenced in July for overbilling Medicare for home visits with seniors. Lori Reaves, founder and owner of Visiting Physicians of South Jersey in Hammonton, charged Medicare for an unspecified number of 2.5-hour house calls, though she typically spent only 30 to 45 minutes with the patients, according to the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey. Reaves, 52, of Waterford Works, pleaded guilty Thursday in Trenton. The fraudulent visits, costing $511,068, occurred from 2008 through Oct. 14, 2011, according to a court document. "There are no allegations that there was any substandard care rendered," Reaves' lawyer, Rocco C. Cipparone Jr., said. Visiting Physicians was not charged. One additional doctor, plus nurse-practitioners and a physician's assistant, continue working at the practice, Cipparone said. Reaves could be jailed for up to 10 years. - Harold Brubaker

Morgan Properties borrows $1.8B

Apartment-building owner Morgan Properties of King of Prussia said it refinanced a large portion its real estate portfolio with $1.2 billion in loans. Berkadia Commercial Mortgage L.L.C. originated the financing of 73 apartment communities, 71 of which are eligible for securitization through Freddie Mac's K-deals program, Morgan said. The properties are in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, and Maryland. - Reid Kanaley

44 layoffs last week at Aramark

Aramark Corp., the Philadelphia-based food-service company, laid off 44 employees last week across North America as part of a broad effort to streamline operations, spokesman Tom Sueta said. The layoffs, combined with a round in January, brings the total for the year to about 170, he said. The layoffs occurred "across all of the lines of the business" to eliminate duplicate groups doing the same kind of work, Sueta said. Aramark employs 250,000 in food service and other operations at stadiums, hospitals, colleges, correctional institutions, and other sites. - Harold Brubaker

PerformRx in San-Francisco deal

PerformRx L.L.C., a subsidiary of Philadelphia-based AmeriHealth Mercy, announced a deal to provide pharmacy benefit management services to San Francisco Health Plan, which serves low- and moderate-income families. The agreement, PerformRx's sixth in California, goes into effect July 1 and covers 78,000 recipients of Medicaid and other health insurance programs. PerformRx said the addition of the San Francisco Health Plan means that its customer base covers about 30 percent of California's Medicaid population. AmeriHealth Mercy is part-owned by Independence Blue Cross. - Harold Brubaker

Elsewhere

Cyprus said to gain time on debt

Cyprus' government spokesman said the country had been granted an extra year - until 2017 - to achieve a targeted budget surplus of 4 percent as part of negotiations with international lenders for a rescue package. Christos Stylianides said government negotiators are still looking to extend it another year. Under a preliminary agreement with Cyprus' euro area partners and the IMF, Cyprus had until 2016 to generate the budget surplus target through a raft of spending cuts and tax hikes. Stylianides also said that negotiators will seek to give businesses access to 40 percent of their deposits exceeding 100,000 euros with Cyprus' largest lender that are now frozen. - AP

Judge: Verizon pensioners can sue

Verizon Communications Inc.'s pension beneficiaries can sue the company as a group over its transfer of $8.5 billion in plan obligations to Prudential Insurance Co. of America, a federal judge in Texas ruled. The lawsuit on behalf of 41,000 people affected by the transfer can proceed as a class action on claims that the transaction violated federal law establishing standards for private pension plans, U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater said in Dallas. An additional 50,000 plan participants whose benefit payment obligations were not transferred to Prudential can also sue as a group, Fitzwater said. - Bloomberg News

Sparked by sales, Tesla shares jump

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. jumped $6.04, or 16 percent, to $43.93 after the electric car company said sales of its electric cars were running ahead of schedule. The Palo Alto, Calif., company said Sunday that first-quarter sales have exceeded 4,750 Model S sedans, above its previous forecast of 4,500. - AP

Boeing conducts 787 test flight

Boeing Co. conducted another test flight of its 787 passenger jet over the West Coast. The company said the flight was designed to test system upgrades, not to check operation of the plane's batteries. Airlines have 50 of the planes, which Boeing calls the Dreamliner. But they're still grounded after two of them overheated in January. - AP

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