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Business news in brief

In the Region

Resorts handover concluding

Unable to make debt payments for more than a year,

Resorts Atlantic City

casino was concluding the process of handing itself over to a newly formed company consisting of its main lenders, including

Wells Fargo & Co.

The ownership transfer follows Resorts' agreement to let its lenders have the casino if they cancel nearly $381 million in debt. A spokesman for the state

Casino Control Commission

said all the necessary paperwork might not be signed until today. The new company,

RAC Atlantic City Holdings L.L.C.

, says it wants to sell Resorts Atlantic City as quickly as possible.

- AP

Orleans' loan to be extended

Orleans Homebuilders Inc.

, Bensalem, reached a tentative agreement with lenders to extend by two years its $375 million credit facility, which was to mature Dec. 20. The company said it expected to be required to have "significant" sales of land, although it expected to be left with several years' worth of land for development.

- Alan J. Heavens

Dixon-Shane receives $1M Pa. loan

Dixon-Shane L.L.C.

, a Fountain Run, Ky., pharmaceutical distributor, will receive a $1 million Pennsylvania loan to acquire and renovate a warehouse and terminal in Northeast Philadelphia. The $2 million project is expected to preserve 23 jobs and create eight new jobs in three years, state officials said. The

Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority

is funding the project.

-Chris Mondics

Health firm sees Q1 revenue record

National Health Partners Inc.

, Horsham, forecast record revenue of $1.5 million to $2 million in the first quarter of next year, boosted by several large sales campaigns by its partners. The company, which sells memberships in a health-care discount program, recorded a net loss of $3.05 million in 2008 on revenue of $2.67 million.

- Roslyn Rudolph


Regulators eye rating agencies


Securities and Exchange Commission


Justice Department

said their staffs were targeting the role of Wall Street rating agencies in the 2008 financial meltdown. The three dominant agencies -

Moody's Investors Service, Standard & Poor's


Fitch Ratings Inc.

- have been widely criticized for failing to give investors adequate warning of the risks in subprime-mortgage securities, whose collapse touched off the financial crisis. The SEC and Justice each has the authority to bring charges against the agencies based on false statements they may have made.

- AP

Tank explosion injures two

An explosion at a chemical plant in the Houston area shook nearby homes, generated black smoke seen for miles, and injured two workers. A tank at the

American Acryl

plant in the suburb of Pasadena exploded just before 9 a.m., police said. American Acryl is a joint venture between Philadelphia-based chemical manufacturer Arkema Inc. and Japanese subsidiary NA Industries Inc. The plant makes acrylic acid, which is used in diapers, nail polish, and household cleaners. The cause of the explosion was under investigation.

- AP

Only 10K mortgage modifications

Only about 10,000 homeowners received permanent loan modifications this fall under the Obama administration's mortgage-relief plan.

Elizabeth Warren

, head of a watchdog panel that reported the numbers, told reporters that the program was "not working." More than 14 percent of homeowners with a mortgage are either late on their payments or in foreclosure, and that number is expected to keep rising as unemployment remains stubbornly high. Data through October showed that fewer than 5 percent of homeowners who completed the trial periods in the government program had their mortgage payments permanently lowered. Worse, as many as 40 percent of those borrowers are expected to redefault within five years. The report said only $2.3 million out of a potential $75 billion government commitment had been spent.

- AP

Low rates spur mortgage filings

The number of mortgage applications nationwide rose 8.5 percent in the week ended Dec. 4 as more borrowers refinanced loans to lock in interest rates near record lows, the

Mortgage Bankers Association

said. Refinancings jumped 11.1 percent from the week before. Applications on home purchases rose 4 percent.

- AP

Oct. inventories rise unexpectedly

Businesses added to inventories at the wholesale level in October, breaking a record string of 13 straight declines. Wholesale inventories rose 0.3 percent in October, the

Commerce Department

said. That easily beat economists' expectations of a 0.5 percent decline. It was a hopeful sign that companies will begin restocking depleted store shelves, helping to bolster the fragile economic recovery.

- AP

Disney to cut theme-park discounts

Walt Disney Co.

expects to offer fewer discounts at U.S. theme parks in 2010 as the economy improves, chief executive officer

Robert Iger

said. The company has already reduced discounts from a year ago, when it added promotions to attract visitors during the credit crunch. The promotions had included free hotel nights and discounts on food and merchandise. Disney's parks unit has reported four straight quarters of lower revenue and profit compared with the year earlier.

- Bloomberg News

GM replaces Chevy head

General Motors Co.

has replaced its


brand manager after just five months as it continues to shake up top management. GM said

James Campbell

would now lead the company's largest and most important brand. Campbell replaces

Brent Dewar

, who will retire April 1 to spend more time with family and pursue personal interests. Dewar, Chevrolet's global vice president, was named to the post in July by former chief executive officer

Fritz Henderson

. Henderson abruptly resigned under pressure Dec. 1 and was replaced on an interim basis by CEO and Chairman

Ed Whitacre Jr.

- AP

Taxable money market rates stable

The average seven-day yield on taxable money market funds was 0.03 percent this week, unchanged from 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 was 0.03 percent this week, down from 0.04 percent last week.

- Paul Schweizer