Business news in brief

A Toyota FT-HT Yuejia concept car on display at the Shanghai international auto show. It has drawn Chinese consumers and dealers to the Pudong exhibition center's 17 cavernous halls. The stakes are huge. China is the fastest-growing and biggest new-car market in the world, with 19.4 million vehicles sold last year.
A Toyota FT-HT Yuejia concept car on display at the Shanghai international auto show. It has drawn Chinese consumers and dealers to the Pudong exhibition center's 17 cavernous halls. The stakes are huge. China is the fastest-growing and biggest new-car market in the world, with 19.4 million vehicles sold last year. (AP)
Posted: April 25, 2013

In the Region

Conductors reject SEPTA contract

SEPTA conductors and assistant conductors have rejected a tentative contract. SEPTA's board was scheduled to approve the contract Thursday, if the members of United Transportation Union Local 61 had ratified it. Now, the two sides will resume negotiations. The union represents 396 conductors and assistant conductors, whose last contract expired on Oct. 17, 2009. Two other of SEPTA's 17 bargaining units also remain without contracts: the unions representing locomotive engineers and electrical workers. - Paul Nussbaum

Unisys shares drop on quarterly loss

Shares of Unisys Corp. fell 20 percent after the Blue Bell information technology company reported a net loss and 13 percent decline in revenue for its first quarter. Unisys lost $33.9 million, or 77 cents per share, on revenue of $810 million for the three months ended March 31. It was a steep reversal from the net income of $13.4 million, or 30 cents per share, on revenue of $928 million for the same period of 2012. During a conference call with financial analysts, Unisys chairman and CEO Ed Coleman called the quarter "challenging" and singled out a 31 percent decline in systems integration revenues as a particular weakness. "These were disappointing results, especially given the progress we've made in recent years in enhancing our profitability," he said. Unisys closed at $16.47, down $4.10. - Mike Armstrong

Jones Group to close 170 stores

Jones Group, the clothing, shoes, and accessories maker whose chains include Nine West and Easy Spirit, said it is closing 170 U.S. stores and slashing jobs to improve profitability. A spokeswoman for New York-based Jones Group, which has its financial offices in Bristol, said that 8 percent of the company's 10,000 jobs would be cut, or about 800 U.S. positions. The company, which also sells its products through department stores, has had stagnant sales, and it posted a loss last year. Its sportswear lines and its own stores run lots of discounts. For the first quarter, it expects adjusted earnings per share to fall by about half because of more markdowns. Moreover, sales were hurt by unusually cold weather. - AP

Wakefern gives $1M to St. Joseph's

Wakefern Food Corp., the cooperative that supplies ShopRite stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and elsewhere, donated $1 million to the Academy of Food Marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Wakefern said. The money will be used to pay for scholarships and educational costs for 540 undergraduates in the food marketing program, which is one of four such undergraduate programs in the United States, Wakefern said. Wakefern, which is based in Keasbey, N.J., raised the money through ShopRite stores and vendors. The cooperative, which often recruits interns and employs from the St. Joseph's program, said it had raised $850,000 in 2008 and $750,000 in 2003 for the school. - Harold Brubaker

Atlas Pipeline raises distribution

Atlas Pipeline Partners L.P., a Philadelphia-based operator of natural-gas pipelines and processing plants, raised its quarterly cash distribution by a penny, to 59 cents per common limited partner unit. The distribution is payable May 15 to holders of record as of May 8. The company has raised the distribution in 10 of the previous 11 quarters. - Reid Kanaley

Elsewhere

Boeing to resume 787 deliveries

Boeing Co. is aiming to begin delivering 787s again in early May. The 787 has been grounded since mid-January because of smoldering batteries. Federal authorities have approved Boeing's redesigned battery system. The new battery setup has been installed on 10 787s that belong to airlines, and on nine more that have been built but not delivered, said Boeing chairman and CEO Jim McNerney. He said "the bulk" of 787s already in the airlines' possession will get the battery fix by mid-May. Shares climbed $2.65, or 3 percent, to $90.83 after the company said its first-quarter net income rose 20 percent despite problems with the 787. - AP

Galaxy S4 phone shipments delayed

Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile are delaying shipments of Samsung Electronics Co.'s latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, citing inventory issues. The delays appear to be the result of supply disruptions from Samsung, rather than heavier-than-expected demand seen by the U.S. carriers. Samsung Electronics Co. cited overwhelming demand from around the world and said it expected "to fulfill inventory to meet demands in the coming weeks." Sprint's launch was scheduled for Saturday. Sprint said it still expected to sell the device over the Internet and by phone, but retail stores and other distribution channels won't get them until later. The company didn't say when. T-Mobile had expected to start taking orders online Wednesday. That's now expected to start Monday. There was no word on whether T-Mobile still planned to start retail store sales on May 1. - AP

UPS fined over plane maintenance

The U.S. Transportation Department fined United Parcel Service Inc. $4 million for allegedly maintaining four cargo planes improperly and then flying them, the agency said. Two DC-8 aircraft and two MD-11 aircraft were flown improperly on more than 400 flights between October 2008 and June 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration said. The Louisville, Ky.,-based company failed to comply with a consent agreement in which it agreed to inspect all of its aircraft and compare actual repairs with maintenance records, the FAA said. UPS says it was complying with FAA rules and it "will vigorously defend" its position, company spokesman Mike Mangeot said in an e-mail. The FAA's proposed penalty relates to documentation of nine repairs, and it is "unwarranted and unreasonable," he said. - Bloomberg News

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