In the Region

Aqua America sells $50M in notes

Aqua America Inc.

said it raised $50 million from the sale of senior notes at an annual interest rate of 4.72 percent over 10 years. Some of the proceeds will be used to refinance a $20 million note with an interest rate of 9.12 percent that matures next month, the Bryn Mawr water utility said.

- Harold Brubaker

Herley changing board elections

Herley Industries Inc

., Lancaster, said it wanted to change the election process for its board of directors so all members would be elected annually for one-year terms. Currently, the six directors are elected in staggered terms. The change is to be voted on by shareholders in March. Company chairman

David H. Lieberman

said the declassification was aimed at enhancing shareholder value. Herley shares have risen from a 12-month low of $7.68 in early March to $13.48 at yesterday's closing.

- Paul Schweizer

Graham Packaging to sell stock

Graham Packaging Co. Inc.,

a York, Pa., producer of plastic food and beverage containers, filed a registration statement to sell $350 million worth of common stock. The company is controlled by the

Graham family

of York and private-equity giant the

Blackstone Group.

In 2002, Graham Packaging canceled a bid to sell $275 million in shares amid a tough market for initial public offerings for some highly leveraged companies. Proceeds will be used to retire some of the company's debt, which totaled $2.4 billion as of September.

- Harold Brubaker

Dollar Financial completes debt sale

Dollar Financial Corp.

, Berwyn, said its Canadian unit, National Money Mart Co., completed the sale of $600 million in debt securities, paying 10.38 percent interest annually. Part of the proceeds was used to prepay older debt, and part was used to complete the purchase of

Dealers' Financial Services L.L.C.

, Lexington, Ky. Dollar Financial is a check-cashing and payday-lending company.

- Paul Schweizer

Eurest extends Shell contract

Eurest Services

, a subsidiary of British services giant

Compass Group P.L.C.

, has signed a contract extension to provide food and support services to 14

Royal Dutch Shell P.L.C.

sites in North America. The North American portion of the worldwide $318 million Shell contract is worth $27 million, the company said. Eurest Services' North American headquarters are in Wayne.

- Andrew Maykuth

Book chain opens 2d area store

Books-A-Million Inc.

said it would open a store in the

Willow Grove Park

shopping center, its second in the Philadelphia area. Last month, it opened an outlet at the

Cherry Hill Mall

. The Birmingham, Ala., company has more than 200 stores in 22 states and the District of Columbia.

- Paul Schweizer

Elsewhere

Wells Fargo repays $25B to Treasury

Wells Fargo & Co.

, parent of

Wachovia Bank

, said it repaid the $25 billion in bailout money it received from the Treasury Department under last year's Troubled Asset Relief Program, which rescued the banking industry. Wells Fargo said it also paid accrued dividends of $131.9 million on the preferred stock held by the government, bringing the total dividends paid to $1.44 billion since the stock was issued. To help fund the payments, the San Francisco company sold $12.25 billion worth of common stock this month.

- AP

CEOs to testify on banking crisis

Jamie Dimon, chief executive officer of

JPMorgan Chase & Co.,

will be among the first witnesses to testify in January before a commission investigating last year's collapse in the banking system. Officials from

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.,

Bank of America Corp.,

and

Morgan Stanley

also will testify to the

Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission,

said its chairman, Phil Angelides. Congress established the commission to study causes of the collapse that roiled global markets and led to a $700 billion U.S. government bank bailout.

- Bloomberg News

EU bank mulls securities disclosure

The

European Central Bank

said it was considering ways to make the complex securities that contributed to last year's global financial crisis more easily understood. The bank, which handles monetary policy for the 16 countries that use the euro, proposes disclosure about the solidity of the assets underlying asset-backed securities - often loans such as mortgages. Asset-backed securities typically bundle a number of loans into bonds that are sold to investors.

- AP

Congress OKs trade breaks

The

Senate

sent

President Obama

legislation to extend through 2010 expiring trade preferences that let 132 developing countries send products to the United States duty-free. The measure

would allow $31 billion in duty-free imports.

- Bloomberg News

Insider trading alleged in pharma deal

Sanofi-Aventis'

$1.9 billion bid for

Chattem Inc.

, announced this week, was leaked in advance to two French investors who reaped $4.2 million by making illegal insider trades, the Securities and Exchange Commission claimed in a federal lawsuit filed in Atlanta.

The SEC did not say how the investors got the information. A judge froze their proceeds. Lawyers for the defendants could not immediately be located.

- AP

Money fund rates mixed

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 based on the preceding seven days' level of income for the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds was 0.04 percent this week, up from 0.03 percent last week.

- Paul Schweizer

Ford nears deal to sell Volvo

Ford Motor Co.

moved closer to selling its loss-making

Volvo

unit to China's

Geely Group

, saying a deal was expected early next year if financing and government approvals fall into place.

- AP

Guidant parent settles payment probe

U.S. attorneys in Boston said heart-device-maker

Boston Scientific

agreed to pay $22 million to resolve allegations that the company's

Guidant

division paid kickbacks to doctors to get them to use its heart devices.

Boston Scientific did not admit wrongdoing as part of the civil settlement.

- AP