Business news in brief

Sabri Carkan and his wife, Saliha, sit in a Daimler DB 18 Drophead Coupe in their showroom in Enger, Germany. Experts believe the vintage Daimler is the only one of its kind left. The car was used by Winston Churchill between 1944 and 1949 and is being sold on eBay.
Sabri Carkan and his wife, Saliha, sit in a Daimler DB 18 Drophead Coupe in their showroom in Enger, Germany. Experts believe the vintage Daimler is the only one of its kind left. The car was used by Winston Churchill between 1944 and 1949 and is being sold on eBay. (MARTIN MIESSNER / Associated Press)
Posted: April 30, 2013

In the Region

Pa.: Drilling not to blame in case

Pennsylvania environmental regulators have concluded that Marcellus Shale drilling was not responsible for a high-profile case of methane contamination of private wells in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The state Department of Environmental Protection said it had closed the books on an investigation of the methane migration in Franklin Forks, which anti-drilling celebrities Yoko Ono and Susan Sarandon visited in January. Citing a 125-page consultant's report, DEP said the methane in some residents' wells is naturally occurring shallow gas, not production gas from well drilling. Matthew and Tammy Manning last year sued WPX Energy, the company that drilled gas wells about 4,000 feet from their Susquehanna County home. - Andrew Maykuth

New rehab hospital in Langhorne

St. Mary Medical Center in Langhorne said it would build a $20.5 million, 50-bed acute rehabilitation hospital in partnership with Centerre Healthcare Corp., of Nashville. The new rehabilitation facility will go up on the site of the former Neshaminy Middle School across from St. Mary's main campus. When the facility is completed next spring, St. Mary will convert its existing 31-bed rehabilitation unit into one with private rooms for patients in the main hospital, St. Mary said. This month, St. Mary said it completed an $8.4 million expansion that added four operating rooms and finished the second phase of a $22 million renovation of its emergency department. - Harold Brubaker

Auxilium shares fall on earnings

Auxilium Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Chesterbrook biopharmaceutical company, said it added to its product mix with the completed acquisition of Illinois-based Actient Holdings L.L.C. for $585 million plus contingent terms. Separately, the company cited disappointing sales and said its first-quarter net loss widened to $8.2 million, or 17 cents per share, on revenue of $66.2 million from a year-ago loss of $1.7 million, or four cents per share, on revenue of $73.6 million, and shares ended down 12.7 percent, at $14. Actient develops therapies in urology. The combined company will offer 11 products that Auxilium said would diversify its revenue stream. - Reid Kanaley

Gas pipeline break investigated

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is investigating the failure of a six-inch natural gas pipeline owned by Philadelphia's Atlas Energy L.P. that shut down a highway in McKean County for several hours Saturday. DEP spokesman Kevin Sunday said a valve on the pipeline malfunctioned, releasing gas and about 25 gallons of natural gas condensate. Local emergency responders shut Route 219 until the break was under control. "Atlas representatives promptly responded to the incident and began remediation, which is ongoing," company spokesman Brian Begley said in an e-mail. Cleanup is expected to be completed this week. - Andrew Maykuth

Share buyback at Exton firm

Innovative Solutions & Support Inc., a flight-cockpit-display maker in Exton, announced it would buy back up to 250,000 shares in a one-year program starting Wednesday. "Our board has encouraged us to opportunistically use this repurchase authorization when our stock price is at a level that the board believes is significantly below our intrinsic value," CEO Geoffrey S.M. Hedrick said in a news release. Shares fell four cents to $8.99. - Reid Kanaley

South Jersey pipeline approved

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities approved a plan for South Jersey Gas to build a $90 million pipeline to serve a Cape May County power plant converting from coal to natural gas. The BPU's plan allows the utility, a subsidiary of South Jersey Industries Inc., to build the 24-inch pipeline to the B.L. England electric generation facility in Beesleys Point. The plant will consume about 20 billion cubic feet of gas a year, about the same as 267,000 homes. The power plant, sold in 2007 by Atlantic City Electric to RC Cape May Holdings L.L.C., is under pressure from state regulators to improve its emissions. - Andrew Maykuth


AmeriGas increases distribution

Directors of AmeriGas Propane Inc., general partner of AmeriGas Partners L.P., increased the quarterly distribution by 5 percent to 84 cents per limited partnership unit to unit holders of record as of May 10. The annualized distribution will increase from $3.20 to $3.36 per unit. AmeriGas units would yield 7.6 percent, based on Monday's closing price of $44.07 a unit on the New York Stock Exchange. UGI Corp., Valley Forge, is the general partner of AmeriGas and owns 26 percent of the partnership units. - Andrew Maykuth


Powered flight for private spaceship

A spaceship bankrolled by the British tycoon Sir Richard Branson made its first powered flight in a test that moves Virgin Galactic toward its goal of flying into space this year. While SpaceShipTwo did not break out of the atmosphere during the test flight, it marked a significant milestone for Virgin Galactic, which intends to take passengers on suborbital joyrides. During the early morning flight, SpaceShipTwo, strapped beneath a twin-fuselage jet, took off from an airport runway in the Mojave Desert north of Los Angeles. The jet released SpaceShipTwo, which ignited its engine for 16 seconds, then glided to a safe landing. - AP

Penney confirms $1.75B financing

Troubled Texas-based retailer J.C. Penney Co. Inc. confirmed that Goldman Sachs Group Inc. would provide it with $1.75 billion in financing. The five-year senior secured term loan can be used to fund the company's operations and pay off some of its debt. It will be secured by real estate and an interest in the company's other assets and some of its subsidiaries. - AP

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