Business news in brief

The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong, designed by Foster & Partners and costing $1 billion, is planned to develop Hong Kong into a regional cruise hub in Asia and the gateway for China. The terminal will open Wednesday with the docking of the luxury liner Mariner of the Seas.
The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong, designed by Foster & Partners and costing $1 billion, is planned to develop Hong Kong into a regional cruise hub in Asia and the gateway for China. The terminal will open Wednesday with the docking of the luxury liner Mariner of the Seas. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)
Posted: June 06, 2013

In the Region

Endo announces layoff plans

Malvern-based Endo Health Solutions said Wednesday it would lay off about 15 percent of its 4,700 employees worldwide so it can cut annual operating expenses by $325 million per year. A spokesman would not say how many people from the Philadelphia area would lose their jobs. The company said it would explore selling its HealthTronics division and its early-stage branded-drug research groups, and some layoffs will come from those groups. Endo said about $150 million of the cost savings will implemented by year's end. The company has struggled since buying device maker American Medical Systems in 2011, and because of adverse regulatory decisions and generic competition related to its opioid painkiller Opana ER. - David Sell

Valley Green Bank gets 3d branch

Valley Green Bank plans Friday to unveil its third consumer branch, at Broad and Tasker Streets in South Philadelphia, ahead of the official opening next week. Valley Green, which said it has already lent $20 million in South Philadelphia, has commercial lending offices in Center City and Radnor. Its other consumer offices are in Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill. The bank had $271 million in deposits on March 31, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. - Harold Brubaker

Gamesa woos export prospects

Gamesa Technology Corp., eager to develop export markets to keep its Pennsylvania wind-turbine manufacturing facilities engaged, Wednesday hosted Vietnamese government officials, wind-farm developers, and energy executives at its Bucks County operations. The visit was organized by the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, joined by representatives of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Gamesa, a Spanish company with U.S. headquarters in Trevose, has experienced a slowdown with the lapse in U.S. tax credits. Its plants are wrapping up an order for export to Honduras. - Andrew Maykuth

Rail tank-car plant reopens

Gov. Corbett marked the reopening of a manufacturing plant in north central Pennsylvania on Wednesday to build rail tank cars to meet growing demand from the oil and gas industry. ACF Industries L.L.C., which is based in Missouri, reopened the plant in Milton, Northumberland County, this year after shutting it down in 2009 because of declining sales. The plant, which is expected to employ more than 300 people, received $483,000 in state funding for machinery, equipment and training.

- Andrew Maykuth

QVC names new CFO

West Chester-based cable-TV and online retailer QVC has named Ted Jastrzebski chief financial officer, effective next month. Jastrzebski spent the last eight years at Hershey Co., most recently as senior vice president and president of Hershey Americas, overseeing activities in Canada, Latin America, world travel retail, and export markets. He will succeed Dan O'Connell, a 25-year QVC veteran. - Inquirer staff

Freeh leaves MF Global case

Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, the trustee charged with getting MF Global Holdings Inc.'s creditors their money back, has stepped down as the company's long bankruptcy nears an end. Freeh announced late Tuesday that he would hand over trustee responsibilities to a three-person board. The company's bankruptcy plan, which lays out how money will be returned to creditors, also took effect Tuesday. MF Global imploded in October 2011 after making big bets on bonds issued by European countries that later turned sour. With $41 billion in assets, it was the eighth-largest corporate bankruptcy in U.S. history. Freeh sued ex-CEO Jon S. Corzine, the former New Jersey governor, and other top executives, blaming them for the company's collapse. - AP


Smartphone summit scheduled

Top law enforcement officials from San Francisco and New York City plan to meet June 13 with some of the nation's largest smartphone makers - Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft - to urge them to create new technology, such as a "kill switch" to permanently and quickly disable stolen phones. Almost one in three robberies nationwide involves the theft of a mobile phone, the Federal Communications Commission says. On Monday, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association, sent a letter to FCC Chair Julius Genachowski saying a mandate "for kill-switch technology will drastically reduce this major crime problem." - AP

SEC proposes new funds rule

Investors could lose principal from money-market investment funds that perform poorly under regulations proposed Wednesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission. But the change would affect mainly institutional rather than individual investors. The SEC voted, 5-0, to advance the plan, which would allow shares of some money-market funds to "float" instead of having a fixed value of $1 per share. The proposal would limit the requirement to those money-market funds known as "prime," which represent roughly half of the $2.9 trillion assets held by all money-market mutual funds. - AP

Toyota recalls Lexus, Prius models

Toyota Motor Corp. said it is recalling about 242,000 Prius and Lexus hybrid vehicles because of problems with their braking systems. The recall applies to about 233,000 Prius vehicles made between March and October 2009 and about 9,000 Lexus HS250h models made between June and October 2009. - AP

Latvia poised to join eurozone

Latvia has won approval to become the 18th member of the troubled euro currency union. A final decision will be made by eurozone finance ministers July 9. Once the formal approvals are in, Latvia is expected to replace its national currency, the lat, with the euro on Jan. 1, 2014. - AP

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