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Business news in brief

In the Region

PediaCare items recalled

More children's medicines are being recalled because they were made at the same Johnson & Johnson plant in Fort Washington where federal health authorities found poor quality standards. Blacksmith Brands Inc. announced a recall Friday for about 100,000 units of four PediaCare items sold nationwide. The recalled items are PediaCare Multi-Symptom Cold, PediaCare Long Acting Cough, PediaCare Decongestant, and PediaCare Allergy and Cold. McNeil Consumer Healthcare, a unit of Johnson & Johnson, made the products for Blacksmith Brands. - AP

Teva won't make more of sedative

Teva said Friday it won't make any more of its sedative propofol, which could intensify a shortage of one of the most common anesthetics in the United States. The drug is hard to manufacture and the company gets little or no profit from it, said Denise Bradley, a spokeswoman for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which has U.S. headquarters in North Wales, Montgomery County. Teva had to halt production and recall some of the drug last year because of manufacturing issues, and it is facing propofol-related civil lawsuits. - AP

Hedge fund boosts Airgas stake

Eton Park Capital Management, a New York hedge fund, disclosed in a regulatory filing that it had boosted its stake in Airgas Inc. to 7.27 percent, or six million shares, as of Friday, making it the second-largest shareholder in the Radnor industrial-gases distributor behind company founder Peter McCausland. Eton Park bought the Airgas shares after Air Products & Chemicals Inc. announced its $60-a-share buyout offer for Airgas, anticipating that Air Products would have to pay more. Eton previously held 4.68 percent of Airgas' shares. That growing numbers of shares are being held by Eton Park and other investors betting on a sale of Airgas, as opposed to shares being held by long-term investors, increases the pressure on Airgas' board to negotiate with suitors. - Harold Brubaker

Forte accountant files for bankruptcy

John N. Irwin, a Villanova accountant who aided in the administration of the investment partnership run by convicted Broomall Ponzi schemer Joseph S. Forte, filed for bankruptcy protection in Philadelphia on Thursday. Irwin's Radnor financial-services firm, Jacklin Associates Inc., also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to court documents. The filings halted a lawsuit by Marion A. Hecht, the receiver trying to recover millions from Irwin to reimburse Forte investors who lost $34 million. Irwin was Forte's first investor and helped start the fund, which took in $78 million between 1995 and late 2008, when Forte confessed to the fraud. - Harold Brubaker

PHH makes pro-shareholder changes

The board of PHH Corp., a Mount Laurel company with mortgage-lending and vehicle-leasing operations, made two corporate-governance changes designed to give shareholders more power. PHH dropped a poison pill plan and determined that in the future any such anti-takeover defense would require shareholder approval within a year of its adoption. The board also adopted majority voting for directors, which means that any director who receives fewer "for" votes than "against" votes is expected to resign. Under the previous system, shareholders had the choice only of voting for a candidate or withholding the vote. That meant a single affirmative vote could get a candidate elected if there were no opponent. - Harold Brubaker

Advanta signs lease for new site

Advanta Corp., the bankrupt Montgomery County credit-card lender that is working on a liquidation plan, said in a regulatory filing that it signed a five-month lease for office space in the Plymouth Corporate Center, near Conshohocken. The company's longtime headquarters was in Spring House. The $25,000-a-month lease starts June 1 and covers 12,000 square feet. - Harold Brubaker

ETC reports turnaround for 2010

Environmental Tectonics Corp. reported net income of $6.5 million, or 30 cents a share, for fiscal 2010, which ended Feb. 26, vs. a previous year's loss of $2 million, or 32 cents a share. The Southampton maker of flight and driving simulators and other devices attributed the turnaround, in part, to an increase in sales and the resulting gross profit, as well as a $1.8 million tax benefit. The company agreed last year to a $7.5 million credit facility from H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, the former suburban cable operator and Philadelphia philanthropist. Interest expenses for the year were down 16.6 percent. - Inquirer staff


Regulators close four banks

Regulators have shut down three affiliated banks in Florida and a small California bank, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 77. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. on Friday took over the three banks owned by holding company Bank of Florida Corp.: Bank of Florida-Southeast, Fort Lauderdale, with $595.3 million in assets; Bank of Florida-Southwest, Naples, with $640.9 million in assets; and Bank of Florida-Tampa Bay, Tampa, with $245.2 million in assets. The FDIC also seized Granite Community Bank, Granite Bay, Calif., with $102.9 million in assets. - AP

British Airways, union meet

British Airways held talks Friday with union leaders to try to avert 10 more days of strikes planned by cabin crews. The talks came on the final day of a five-day walkout by staff. Cabin crews are due to strike again beginning Sunday for five days - and for another five days from June 5 - if a solution is not found. Through that time, British Airways will offer just one flight out of Philadelphia International Airport, departing at 6:10 p.m. The airline hopes to resume a second, 9:15 p.m., flight at the conclusion of the strike, said spokesman John Lampl. - AP and Inquirer staff

Alleged scheme uncovered in probe

The criminal investigation that led to Thursday's arrest of investment adviser Kenneth Ira Starr began with a probe of former Manhattan Borough President Andrew Stein on a separate matter, a federal prosecutor said. Starr was

charged with stealing at least $30 million from wealthy clients. At the same time, federal prosecutors accused Stein, who faced millions of dollars in tax debt, of hiding from the Internal Revenue Service assets he held in a shell corporation, Wind River L.L.C. At a bail hearing in Manhattan federal court, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Harrington told a judge that prosecutors were probing Stein's use of Wind River before finding Starr's alleged fraud. - Bloomberg News