Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Business news in brief

In the Region

US Airways to fly to Dublin 4 days a week year-round

US Airways will extend what are now seasonal flights between Philadelphia International Airport and Dublin, Ireland, to year-round service four days a week starting Oct. 28. The airline said it would operate flights throughout the winter from Philadelphia on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, and from Dublin on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Seasonal flights to Shannon, Ireland, will continue from spring through mid-fall, the airline said.

- Tom Belden

Andrews seeks FAA hearing in N.J. on airspace plan

U.S. Rep. Rob Andrews (D., N.J.) asked the head of the Federal Aviation Administration to schedule a hearing in his South Jersey district on the agency's airspace redesign plan. In a letter to Administrator Marion Blakey, Andrews said many of his constituents were among hundreds of people turned away from a public meeting on the plan Tuesday night in Essington, Delaware County, because of a lack of space. That meeting and one Monday in Wilmington were the only ones scheduled in the region on the plan, which would direct more air traffic over residential areas of Delaware County and South Jersey. An FAA spokeswoman said Blakey had not had time to respond to the letter, which repeats an unsuccessful request Andrews made in March.

- Tom Belden

Area executives surveyed optimistic about economy

A KPMG survey of 106 Philadelphia-area executives shows that they are upbeat about the region's economy: Forty percent said it would be better in the next 12 months, 42 percent said they thought it would be the same, and 15 percent said they thought the region's economy would be somewhat worse. About half the respondents said they would boost employment in the next year, while only 6 percent said they would cut jobs.

- Bob Fernandez

Lockheed Martin Cherry Hill lab gets Navy contract

The Office of Naval Research awarded a $1.7 million contract to Lockheed Martin Corp. Advanced Technology Laboratories in Cherry Hill to develop artificial-intelligence technology that quickly analyzes vast amounts of data and presents war fighters and first responders to terrorist incidents with the choices they need to make "without overloading them with data," Lockheed spokesman Stephen P. O'Neill said. The work will be done by the 150-person staff based in Cherry Hill, which is part of Lockheed Martin's 12,500-plus workforce in the Philadelphia region.

- Henry J. Holcomb

Costs from sales of overseas assets cut PPL's profit

PPL Corp., an electric-power company in Allentown, reported lower earnings because of costs related to sales of overseas assets. But the company reaffirmed its full-year forecast. Revenue fell slightly, to $1.64 billion in the first quarter from $1.65 billion in the year-earlier period. Net income was $203 million, or 52 cents a share, down from $280 million, or 73 cents a share, a year earlier. PPL shares closed down 40 cents on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday at $44.45.

- Bob Fernandez

Sovereign measure may add to Spanish bank's power

Shareholders of Sovereign Bancorp Inc. have approved a proposal that may expand the voting power of its biggest investor, Spain's Banco Santander Central Hispano S.A. Ed Shultz, a spokesman for Sovereign, Wyomissing, Pa., confirmed that the ballot question passed. The measure makes it easier to lift a prohibition on the Spanish bank's purchase of additional shares of Sovereign before June 2008, the date for ending an agreement that restricts Santander from adding to its stake. Santander holds 24.9 percent of Sovereign, with 20 percent of voting rights. Sovereign's stock rose 4 cents yesterday to close at $24.55 on the New York Stock Exchange.

- Bloomberg News

Internet Capital posts wider loss after repaying debt

Internet Capital Group Inc., Wayne, reported a loss of $19.6 million, or 52 cents a share, on revenue of $11.8 million in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $4.9 million, or 13 cents a share, on revenue of $15.2 million in the first quarter of 2006. The wider loss was due to the company's repaying debt and taking a $10.8 million charge for repurchasing all remaining convertible notes and other onetime charges. Also, Internet Capital Group consolidated the financial results of two partner companies, compared with reporting financial results of three partner companies in the same quarter last year.

- Linda Loyd

Adolor loss shrinks despite end of deal with Glaxo

Adolor Corp., Exton, said it had narrowed its first-quarter loss to $13.2 million, or 29 cents a share, from $17.4 million, or 42 cents a share, in the same quarter a year earlier. The company said contract revenue was $1.8 million, compared with $2.6 million in the year-earlier quarter, primarily due to a $700,000 decrease in revenue from GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C. after a copromotion agreement for the drug Arixtra expired. Shares were up 11 cents yesterday at $3.76 on the Nasdaq.

- Linda Loyd

CB Richard Ellis arranges sale of 5 shopping centers

CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. said it had arranged the sale of a $90 million shopping center portfolio totaling 336,801 square feet and five Pennsylvania shopping centers. The shopping centers are Aston Center, Aston; Spring Meadow Shopping Center, Wyomissing; Ayr Town Center, McConnellsburg; Scott Town Center, Bloomsburg; and Parkway Plaza, Mechanicsburg. CB Richard Ellis' Philadelphia office represented the seller, Caldwell Development Inc.

- Suzette Parmley

Horsemen file against Philadelphia Park license plan

The Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association formally filed a motion yesterday with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to intervene and oppose Philadelphia Park Casino's petition to convert its current temporary license into a permanent license. The group, which represents about 4,000 members, claims the casino operator, Greenwood Racing Inc., is backtracking on its original promise of building a $300 million state-of-the-art casino in Bensalem, and instead will make a minimal investment by upgrading the current facility. Greenwood Racing has denied the allegation, saying it was asking for more time from the gaming control board to revise its original master plan for a more elaborate casino since demand at the casino has far exceeded expectations.

- Suzette Parmley

Life-settlement firm Coventry First is sued

Ritchie Capital Management L.L.C. has filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Coventry First L.L.C., Fort Washington, one of the nation's leading "life settlements" companies. The lawsuit claims fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract, and it is seeking $700 million in damages, according to Ritchie's attorney. Coventry said in a statement that the suit was a "cheap publicity stunt."

- Bob Fernandez


Schumer would make lenders liable for bad loans

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) has introduced a bill that would make lenders legally liable if brokers and appraisers made bad mortgage loans, and he called on banks to match $300 million in federal money to prevent foreclosures. In a related development, the Federal Reserve Board, under fire from Congress for lax enforcement during the biggest mortgage boom in U.S. history, will hold a public hearing in June on how it might use its authority to prevent abuses in the mortgage market.

- Bloomberg News

Rates on 30-year mortgages unchanged for week

Rates on 30-year mortgages held steady this week near their low point for the year, reflecting the slowdown in economic growth. Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.16 percent nationwide this week, unchanged from last week. That level is near the low for the year of 6.14 percent for 30-year mortgages in early March.

- AP