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Business news in brief

In the Region

Strike cuts one London flight here

British Airways P.L.C. cabin crews began a strike that could disrupt Philadelphia service through June 9. The airline suspended one of two daily flights from Philadelphia International to London's Heathrow Airport. It will continue to operate a 6:10 p.m. flight from Philadelphia to London during the strike, but not its 9:15 p.m. flight. Passengers may transfer to a competitor airline, rebook for a later time, or get a refund. - Linda Loyd

HUD backs $292.5M hospital loan

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it is insuring a $292.5 million loan for construction of a new hospital in East Norriton. The $365-million, 146-bed hospital is a joint project of Albert Einstein Healthcare Network and Montgomery Hospital Medical Center. The government estimated that the FHA insurance will reduce interest expense by $74 million over the life of the loan. Einstein executive vice president Richard Montalbano said construction of the hospital on Germantown Pike could begin in early summer. - Stacey Burling

Start-ups win tax credits

Eight start-up companies in Center City and West Philadelphia have received more than $700,000 in state tax credits through the University Keystone Innovation Zone. Under the program, eligible companies can receive up to $100,000 in tax credits, which are tradable for companies that face no tax liability. The eight companies that received credits - Avid Radiopharmaceuticals, BioNanomatrix, Daedalus Innovations, eToims, Integral Molecular, Integromics, Pulsar Informatics, and Recovery Networks - are located in the University Keystone Innovation Zone, a corridor from Ninth Street in Center City to University City. - Andrew Maykuth

Apparel retailer hires a president

Destination Maternity Corp., Philadelphia, said it hired Emilia Fabricant as president, effective immediately, to replace company founder Rebecca Matthias, who relinquished the president's title. Fabricant spent a decade with Barneys New York before founding Cadeau Maternity, an upscale maternity apparel company that was eventually sold to babystyle. - Maria Panaritis

Bank merger delayed

Tower Bancorp Inc. and First Chester County Corp. said the completion of their merger, announced in December, had been delayed by First Chester's effort to restate last year's financial results. The deal is now expected to close in the third quarter, instead of in the second. Tower, of Harrisburg, agreed to pay $64 million for First Chester, which is based in West Chester and was under orders from regulators to boost its capital when it agreed to the sale. - Harold Brubaker

Pew hires ex-Hillary Clinton aide

The Pew Charitable Trusts hired Tamera Stanton Luzzatto to manage domestic and international government relations. Luzzatto was Hillary Rodham Clinton's chief of staff from 2001 to 2009 while Clinton was in the U.S. Senate. - Christopher K. Hepp

Triumph-Vought merger advances

Triumph Group said the waiting period required by federal law for the Wayne company's proposed takeover of Vought Aircraft Industries Inc. has been ended early. The Federal Trade Commission completed its antitrust review of the $984 million deal and ended the waiting period, Triumph said. Triumph said it expects the takeover to be completed in June. Vought, of Dallas, makes aircraft parts, as does Triumph. - Paul Schweizer


SEC probes liquidity providers

Staff members of the Securities and Exchange Commission said they are looking at whether big trading firms abandoned the stock market during the massive sell-off on May 6 rather than providing cash support required under law. Major securities firms must remain in the market by buying and selling stocks, but some firms that act as liquidity providers stopped doing so during the free fall, the SEC officials found. - AP

Thrifts boost profits in Q1

The U.S. savings and loan industry reported its highest profit in the 2010 first quarter since 2007 as lenders continued to recover from the nation's economic crisis, the Office of Thrift Supervision said. Thrifts had total profits of $1.82 billion in the first quarter, improving on a $442 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2009. The agency included 50 thrifts on its confidential list of so-called problem lenders that are required to boost capital and liquidity, up from 43 in the fourth quarter. - Bloomberg News

Ford to bring hybrid work to Mich.

Two Ford Motor Co. factories - in Ypsilanti Township and Sterling Heights, Mich. - will see 170 additional jobs in the next two years as the automaker brings battery pack and gas-electric hybrid transmission assembly to the United States. The company will invest $135 million in the plants by 2012 to produce hybrid and electric-car parts - work now done in Japan and Mexico. - AP

Administration warns health insurers

The Obama administration is warning the health-insurance industry that it will block mergers that threaten to stifle competition. Justice Department antitrust chief Christine Varney said vigorous enforcement of antimonopoly laws is essential to the success of the new health-care law, particularly when it comes to reining in premiums. - AP

Short-term bill rates mixed

The Treasury Department auctioned $27 billion in three-month bills at a discount rate of 0.165 percent, up from 0.160 percent last week. An additional $26 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.220 percent, down from 0.230 percent last week. The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,995.83, while a six-month bill sold for $9,988.82. That would equal an annualized rate of 0.167 percent for the three-month bills and 0.223 percent for the six-month bills. - AP

Yield down on one-year

The Federal Reserve said the average yield in the secondary market for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, fell to 0.35 percent last week from 0.38 percent the previous week. - AP