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Business news in brief

In the Region

Former Bucks County insurance broker arrested

Pennsylvania officials arrested a former Bucks County insurance broker accused of committing more than $1 million in insurance fraud from 2001 to 2003. Thomas W. Hurd allegedly submitted false and misleading information to companies that finance insurance premiums and secured financing for nonexistent insurance policies or for insurance policies that were prematurely canceled, according to the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office. The 15-page criminal complaint alleges that, when Hurd obtained premiums, he kept the money instead of paying the insurance companies. Hurd, whose insurance license was revoked in 2003 for failing to remit $19,000 in premiums to the proper insurance company, faces numerous charges, including one of first-degree felony under which he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and fined up to $100,000. In 2004, New Jersey officials had charged Hurd and a partner with stealing more than $100,000 in premiums. An attorney for Hurd could not be reached for comment.

- Harold Brubaker

Armstrong Holdings directors approve dissolution

Lancaster-based Armstrong Holdings Inc. announced that its board of directors had approved a plan to dissolve the company and distribute about $27 million to shareholders. The date and location for shareholders to vote on the plan will be set later. Armstrong Holdings was the parent of Armstrong World Industries Inc. until it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October. Armstrong World Industries, which has its headquarters in Lancaster, remains in business and is a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. Armstrong Holdings has no operations and no employees. Its only assets were the $27 million in cash representing the proceeds of a court-approved settlement with Armstrong World Industries over intercompany transactions and tax benefits.

- Jeff Bathurst

Capital Bank of New Jersey says it raised $20 million

Capital Bank of New Jersey, Vineland, said it raised $20 million in a stock offering completed Monday. The community bank was organized by 27 local businesspeople and opened for business April 23. Capital's chairman is Dominic J. Romano, managing partner of Romano, Hearing, Testa & Knorr, an accounting firm in Vineland. Romano was a director of Vineland Savings Bank from 1984 to 1989. David J. Hanrahan, Capital's president and chief executive officer, is a former executive vice president of the Bank of Gloucester County in Woodbury.

- Harold Brubaker

Encorium Group says two will invest $5 million

Encorium Group Inc., a pharmaceutical contract-research firm based in Wayne, said two institutional investors had agreed to pump in $5 million to support Encorium's expansion and possible acquisitions. The purchase agreements with the unidentified investors were set at $2.86 a share; and additional options, at $4.12 a share. Encorium's stock ended the day at $3.40 on the Nasdaq, down 5 percent from Tuesday and down almost 47 percent from its one-year high.

- Thomas Ginsberg

Radian Group stockholders back MGIC merger

Radian Group Inc., Philadelphia, said its stockholders approved the merger of Radian and MGIC Investment Corp., both of which sell mortgage insurance and other products to manage risk. MGIC's shareholders are scheduled to vote at the Milwaukee company's annual meeting scheduled for today. The company expects to complete the merger late in the third quarter or early in the fourth, pending the receipt of remaining regulatory approvals.

- Harold Brubaker

Roddy Inc. sells Lansdale property for $1.45 million

Roddy Inc., Bensalem, announced that it sold a property at 831 W. Fifth St., Lansdale, for $1.45 million. Roddy, which specializes in industrial and commercial real estate, represented the seller of the 114,406-square-foot building, 5th & Iron Streets Inc. The facility was bought by Recycling Equipment Corp. to accommodate the company's continued growth. Recycling Equipment designs, provides and installs baling, trim-handling and waste-handling systems.

- Suzette Parmley


Be fair to Wolfowitz, White House counselor says

Embattled World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz deserves a "fair process and a fair hearing of the facts" surrounding his involvement in arranging a promotion and pay package for his girlfriend, the White House said. The comments from presidential counselor Dan Bartlett came as the international lending institution's 24-member board edged closer to a decision on Wolfowitz's fate. The controversy over Wolfowitz's handling of the 2005 promotion and compensation package for bank employee Shaha Riza has prompted calls for his resignation.

- AP

Time Warner fires HBO chief after his arrest

Time Warner Inc., New York, fired Home Box Office Inc. chairman and chief executive officer Chris Albrecht after his arrest following a fight with his girlfriend in Las Vegas. HBO chief operating officer Bill Nelson will replace Albrecht temporarily, Time Warner said in a statement. The company is looking for a permanent replacement.

- Bloomberg News

News Corp. posts 6.2% gain in quarterly earnings

Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate, News Corp., reported a 6.2 percent profit increase for its latest quarter on higher earnings from movies including

Night at the Museum

and growth in cable TV networks. News Corp. - which owns Twentieth Century Fox, the Fox broadcast network, Fox News Channel, newspapers in the United Kingdom and Australia, and MySpace - earned $871 million in its third fiscal quarter ended March 31, up from $820 million a year earlier. News Corp.'s shares slipped 39 cents, to $23.26, yesterday.

- AP

Morgan Stanley settles charges for nearly $8 million

Morgan Stanley agreed to pay nearly $8 million to settle federal fraud charges stemming from its alleged failure to get retail stock investors the best prices possible on more than one million over-the-counter transactions. Over a roughly three-year period, Morgan Stanley's automated trading system delayed the execution of orders and altered transaction prices - to the company's financial benefit - without telling investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in announcing its settlement with the investment bank.

- AP

Motorola to pay $25 million to settle SEC complaints

Cell-phone-maker Motorola Inc. has agreed to pay $25 million to settle federal complaints that it "knew, or should have known," that Adelphia Communications Corp. misused a marketing agreement between the two companies to inflate its earnings. "Adelphia paid money to Motorola, which was immediately returned to Adelphia" and used to falsify earnings in 2000 and 2001, the Securities and Exchange Commission said in a report released late Tuesday. Under the arrangement, Motorola provided digital cable television set-top boxes used by Adelphia. But Adelphia, according to the SEC, overpaid for the devices, only to receive refunds - which Adelphia called "marketing support payments" - from Motorola that it counted as revenue. Motorola's Connected Home Solutions division employs about 1,100 people in Horsham.

- AP

Yield falls on taxable funds, rises for tax-free ones

The average seven-day yield on taxable money-market funds fell to 4.71 percent from 4.72 percent last week, according to iMoneyNet Inc. A seven-day yield is an annual yield that is based on the preceding seven days' level of income by the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds rose to 3.31 percent from 3.29 percent last week.

- Paul Schweizer