Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Business news in brief

In the Region

Extra money for Harleysville

Harleysville National Corp. received an additional $15 million in cash from First Niagara Financial Group Inc., which agreed in July to buy the bank for $237 million in stock. The money, in the form of a loan, is needed to shore up Harleysville's balance sheet, which has been weakened by loan losses. Earlier this month, First Niagara contributed $35 million under an agreement that allowed for the additional $15 million. - Harold Brubaker

Slight drop in Phila. jobless

Unemployment in the Philadelphia area fell by 0.2 of a percentage point in November to 8.9 percent, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reported. The number of unemployed people in the region dropped by 6,200 to 261,000, while the number with jobs rose by 5,500 to 2,688,700. Still, November's jobless rate was 2.7 percentage points higher the year-ago level. The local area consists of Southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of South Jersey, Delaware, and northern Maryland. - Paul Schweizer

Arthritis Caplet recall expanded

Johnson & Johnson is expanding a voluntary recall of Tylenol Arthritis Caplets due to consumer reports of a moldy smell that can cause nausea and sickness. According to a statement posted to the Food and Drug Administration Web site late Monday, the New Brunswick, N.J., company is now recalling all product lots of the Arthritis Pain Caplet 100 count bottles with the red EZ-Open Cap. Johnson & Johnson had recalled five lots of the product last month. The division that makes Tylenol is McNeil Consumer Healthcare of Fort Washington. The company will reintroduce Tylenol Arthritis Pain Caplets 100 count by January after moving production to a new facility. Consumers seeking a refund or replacement can call J&J at 1-888-222-6036. - AP

Pa. casino group: Effort not lobbying

A casino trade association is rebutting a state lawmaker's suggestion that someone from the group should have registered under the state's lobbying disclosure law. A Pennsylvania Casino Association official wrote in a response letter that its activities didn't meet the state's legal definition of lobbying. The association sent e-mails to legislators and aired a radio ad. Dante Santoni, chairman of the House Gaming Oversight Committee, sent a letter last month citing the group's activities surrounding a bill to expand casino gambling. Santoni says he hasn't decided whether to hold a hearing on the matter. - AP

Nutrisystem to take $5M charge

Nutrisystem Inc. said it expects to take a noncash charge in the fourth quarter of up to $5 million before taxes related to a New York-based fresh-food delivery business it acquired last year. The Horsham weight-loss company said the charge reflects an impairment on the value of the goodwill and identifiable intangibles related to Nu-Kitchen. Nu-Kitchen prepares and delivers meals in the New York City area that are designed to promote weight management and healthy living. - Roslyn Rudolph

Cooper names new executive

Susan Bass Levin, a former mayor of Cherry Hill, was named president and chief executive officer of the Cooper Foundation, Cooper University Hospital president and chief executive John P. Sheridan Jr. said. The foundation provides financial support to the Camden-based hospital. Bass Levin, currently deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is a former commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs. She is to start her new job in January. - Paul Schweizer

Herley unit gets contract

Herley Industries Inc., Lancaster, said its Micro Systems Inc. subsidiary received a multiyear option contract for potentially $16 million from Composite Engineering Inc., of California, for work on an aerial target project for the Air Force. Micro Systems' production schedule - for the second contract on which it is working on this Air Force target project - is expected to last five years. Herley said Micro Systems had already received orders for the fifth and sixth years that had a combined value of about $6.4 million. - Roslyn Rudolph


Deep discounts on Saturn, Pontiac

General Motors Co. is offering deep discounts on its remaining Saturn and Pontiac vehicles as it looks to move the leftover inventory of the soon-to-be-dead brands, according to a published report.

The automaker will pay dealers $7,000 for every new Saturn or Pontiac left on their lot if the vehicle is moved to dealer-operated rental or service fleets, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited a letter mailed to dealers. That allows the dealers to sell the cars and trucks to consumers at a discount, although the vehicles would be labeled as used because the dealer would technically be the first owner. The offer expires Jan. 4, according to the newspaper. GM spokesman Tom Henderson confirmed the details of the incentive plan yesterday. "That was the purpose of the programs - to help dealers reduce those inventories," he said. - AP

Chain settles sex-bias suit

Outback Steakhouse has agreed to pay $19 million to female workers to settle a sex discrimination lawsuit. A consent decree describing the settlement between the Tampa-based restaurant chain and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was filed in Denver federal court yesterday. The EEOC filed a lawsuit against Outback there in 2006, contending that female workers were denied favorable jobs, which prevented them from advancing to profit-sharing management positions. Outback has also agreed to institute an online application system for managerial positions and to hire a human resources executive. Outback didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing. The new CEO of parent company OSI Restaurant Partners, Liz Smith, says it doesn't tolerate any form of discrimination. - AP

Tax collections decline

State and local tax collections fell for the fourth straight quarter, U.S. data show, as the recession that began in December 2007 cut receipts from company earnings, personal incomes, and sales. Collections in the three months ended Sept. 30 fell 6.7 percent from the period last year to $266.5 billion, the Census Bureau said. Property-tax income was the only one of four main categories to rise, it said. - Bloomberg News