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Business news in brief

Packages pass along a conveyor belt before being loaded onto delivery trucks at the FedEx Express Station in New York. FedEx, the package-delivery company, which is based in Memphis, had its busiest day of the year yesterday.
Packages pass along a conveyor belt before being loaded onto delivery trucks at the FedEx Express Station in New York. FedEx, the package-delivery company, which is based in Memphis, had its busiest day of the year yesterday.Read moreMARK LENNIHAN / Associated Press

In the Region

Region's compensation tops average

Employee compensation costs in the three Middle Atlantic states averaged $30.81 an hour in September, the second-highest in the nation, the

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

reported. For the three states - Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York - wages and salaries came to $21.30, and benefits were $9.51. Benefits represented 30.9 percent of the total compensation, the highest share in the nation that month. The only region with higher compensation, at $30.88 an hour, was the Pacific, which consists of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington. The national average in September was $27.07, the bureau said. Its report covers the cost of paying workers for private-industry employers.

- Paul Schweizer

SAP loses bid in Oracle suit


, which has major operations in Newtown Square, lost a bid to throw out

Oracle Corp.'s

claims of breach of contract and unjust enrichment in a $1 billion lawsuit alleging SAP stole software code. U.S. District Court Judge Phyllis Hamilton in San Francisco denied SAP's request to dismiss six of 10 claims in the lawsuit. Oracle alleges that SAP, the world's largest maker of business-management software, stole copyrighted software codes and support documents to bolster a service for customers that use Oracle software and eventually convert to SAP products.

- Bloomberg News

Exton firm expands N.C. plant

An Exton company that produces paperboard packaging for the fast-food industry says it will expand its eastern North Carolina facility and add 123 jobs over the next three years. North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley said that

Dopaco Inc.

plans to invest more than $25 million in its Kinston plant, where the company currently employs 204 people. Dopaco received a $200,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund to be matched with local funds after the company creates jobs. Dopaco has six plants in California, Illinois and Canada. The firm makes cups and packaging for companies including

McDonald's Corp.


Burger King Holdings Inc.


Wendy's International Inc.

- AP

Boeing raises its dividend

Boeing Co.

, which has major operations in Delaware County, said it was increasing its quarterly dividend from 40 to 42 cents a share. The new dividend is payable March 6 to shareholders of record on Feb. 6, the company said in a statement.

- Bloomberg News

Neuromonics gets $1M for study

Neuromonics Inc.

, Bethlehem, said it would receive $1 million in

Department of Defense

funding to study the treatment of tinnitus among military service members. Tinnitus, usually characterized by ringing in the ears, is one of the top medical complaints for soldiers returning from Iraq and Afganistan, the company said. Neuromonics' tinnitus treatment is a method for desensitization to the tinnitus. It is currently in use in 30 Veterans Affairs centers and six Department of Defense medical centers.

- Reid Kanaley


Siemens agrees to pay $1.3B

Siemens AG

agreed to pay more than $1.3 billion in fines in Germany and the United States in a corruption scandal. Siemens employs about 3,900 at its Malvern-based Siemens Medical Solutions USA Inc. Munich-based Siemens agreed to pay more than $800 million in fines to settle long-standing corruption charges in the United States and an additional $533.6 million to European authorities.

- AP

Record low for six-month bills

Interest rates on six-month Treasury bills have fallen to the lowest level on record at the weekly


auction. The government said yesterday's auction saw rates on six-month bills drop to 0.270 percent from 0.300 percent last week. Heavy demand for Treasury securities by nervous investors has pushed rates to historically low levels. While rates on three-month bills edged up slightly, they still remained close to zero. The rate for a three-month bill rose to 0.050 percent, up from 0.005 percent last week. Last week, an auction of four-week Treasury bills actually came in at zero percent. The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,998.74 while a six-month bill sold for $9,986.35.

- AP

And a drop in one-years


Federal Reserve

said that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 0.50 percent last week from 0.69 percent the previous week.

- AP

Fannie to help renters stay in homes

Fannie Mae

said it was finalizing a plan to help renters stay in their homes even if their landlord enters foreclosure. The mortgage giant said it was working on a national policy to allow renters living in foreclosed properties - and who can make their rental payments - to sign new leases with Fannie while the property is up for sale or get cash to help move into a new home.

- AP

Industrial output fell in Nov.

Industrial output fell slightly less than expected in November as manufacturers continued to suffer from weakness in autos and many other areas that is not expected to ease soon. The

Federal Reserve

reported that industrial activity dropped 0.6 percent in November. Economists expected a decline of 0.8 percent. The 0.6 percent drop in November followed a revised 1.5 percent increase in October. However, that gain occurred after a 4.1 percent plunge in September, which represented the biggest one-month drop since a 5 percent decline in February 1946.

- AP

Mattel settles with states over toys


Mattel Inc.

will pay $12 million to 39 states - including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware - to settle an investigation over Chinese-made lead-tainted toys shipped to the United States in 2007, state officials said. Mattel and its Fisher Price unit recalled more than 21 million Chinese-made toys last year, beginning in August, fearing the items were tainted with lead paint and tiny magnets that children could accidentally swallow. All the affected toys were pulled off shelves by December 2007. As part of the agreement, Mattel also agreed to lower the acceptable level of lead in toys shipped to the states to 90 parts per million down from 600 parts per million, which is currently the federal standard.

- AP

Carrier, handlers seek mediator

American Airlines

and a union representing about 14,000 baggage handlers and other ground workers requested a mediator after they could not reach a contract in 11 straight days of negotiations. American and the

Transport Workers Union

broke off talks late Friday. They agreed in advance to seek

National Mediation Board

help should bargaining fail, Tami McLallen, an American spokeswoman, said in an interview.

- Bloomberg News