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Business news in brief

In the Region

Jobless rates fell in N.J. and Pa. last month from '06

New Jersey and Pennsylvania have had year-over-year declines in their unemployment rates. In New Jersey, the unemployment rate dropped 0.5 percentage points to 4.3 percent last month. In Pennsylvania, it declined from 4.7 percent in April 2006 to 4.1 percent last month. However, between March and April, Pennsylvania recorded a rise in unemployment and a decline in the number of people employed. There were 22,000 fewer people on payrolls, while the number of unemployed rose 20,000. The reason the two numbers are not the same is because the state's overall workforce declined during that period.

- Jane M. Von Bergen

Mace sells car washes for more than $19 million

Mace Security International Inc., Mount Laurel, said yesterday that it sold its Arizona Car Wash Region to Twisted Cactus Enterprises L.L.C. for $19.25 million in cash plus $135,000 for inventory. The business was sold at a price that exceeded its recorded net book value of about $17.3 million.

- Paul Schweizer

Main Line Broadcasting to buy 10 stations

Main Line Broadcasting, a West Conshohocken company that is building a group of radio-station clusters in mid-size markets, agreed to purchase 10 radio stations in Louisville and Dayton, Ohio, from Radio One Inc. for about $76 million, the companies said. The deal is expected to close in the second half of this year. Main Line Broadcasting is backed by Arlington Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Washington.

- Stacey Burling

Hercules gets tax refunds, pays for plant cleanup

Hercules Inc., Wilmington, said the government has given - and taken away. The maker of specialty chemicals said it received $182 million from the Internal Revenue Service on Wednesday as part of an expected $230 million in refunds on taxes paid between 1993 and 2003. But Hercules also said it paid $124.5 million to the federal government for environmental cleanup costs at a Vietnam War-era Agent Orange plant in Arkansas.

- Reid Kanaley

Tweeter to end Camden center naming-rights deal

Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc., Canton, Mass., is pulling out of naming-rights deals at the Tweeter Center at the Waterfront in Camden and three other outdoor concert sites, including an amphitheater in Mansfield, Mass., a spokesman for the financially struggling electronics retailer said. The step comes two months after Tweeter said it would close 49 of its 153 stores and lay off about 650 workers.

- AP

Stonebridge Financial declares first cash dividend

Stonebridge Financial Corp., West Chester, declared its first cash dividend since its founding in 1999. The annual dividend of 10 cents a share will be paid June 15 to shareholders of record May 31. Stonebridge Financial is the parent company of Stonebridge Bank, which had $425.9 million in assets at the end of March.

- Harold Brubaker

Air Products' president to become CEO in October

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. said John E. McGlade, president and chief operating officer, will succeed John P. Jones as the Allentown company's chief executive officer in October. Jones had been CEO since 2000, and will remain chairman until March 31, when McGlade will take on that role as well. McGlade, a 31-year Air Products veteran, will be the company's sixth CEO since it was founded in 1940. Air Products had $9.51 billion in revenue in fiscal 2006.

- Harold Brubaker

Former MBNA paralegal sues Bank of America for OT

Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. lender ranked by assets, was sued by a former paralegal over claims that the bank failed to pay overtime to employees who worked through meal breaks and outside of normal business hours. The bank's failure to compensate employees for all hours worked violates federal fair-labor standards and Delaware laws, according to the lawsuit filed by William Wersinger on May 15 in Wilmington. Wersinger worked for MBNA Corp. from November 1999 until it was acquired by Bank of America in January 2006. Bank of America had 116 branches in this area as of June 30.

- Bloomberg News

Alloy Surfaces wins $20 million British military job

Alloy Surfaces Inc., a Delaware County defense contractor that employs 650, said it won a $20 million contract to supply infrared decoys to the Royal Air Force in Britain. The contract extends the order to 2012.

- Bob Fernandez

Boardwalk Bancorp won't adopt accounting rule early

Boardwalk Bancorp, Linwood, N.J., changed its mind about the early adoption of a new accounting rule on the valuation of financial assets and liabilities. As a result, Boardwalk said it was revising its first-quarter net income downward by $1.31 million to a loss of $664,000. - Harold Brubaker


China widens trading band for currency slightly

In advance of a high-level delegation's visit from China to Washington next week, the Chinese said they were allowing a slight widening of the trading band for their currency, the yuan. The Bush administration, meanwhile, said it hoped for agreements on airline flights, use of U.S. pollution-control technology, and other subjects when the group visits for a second round of talks aimed at lowering trade tensions.

- AP

Clear Channel accepts private equity firms' better bid

The board of Clear Channel Communications Inc. accepted a sweetened offer from private equity firms trying to buy the radio and billboard company. The new offer by the equity group led by Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P. and Bain Capital Partners L.L.C. is valued at about $19.45 billion, plus the assumption of about $8 billion in debt. Clear Channel operates six stations in Philadelphia.

- AP