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Business news in brief

In the Region

Shares in bank close down

Shares in Republic First Bancorp Inc. fell 5.6 percent Wednesday to $2.67 after the Philadelphia bank's announcement Tuesday that it would offer $30 million worth of its common stock for sale. The company's market value was $28 million. Republic First, which is changing its brand to Republic Bank under the leadership of numerous former Commerce Bank executives, said it would use the proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes. Commerce Bank founder Vernon W. Hill II owns 7.6 percent of Republic but does not have an executive position there. Republic had $967.5 million in assets at the end of March, nearly 5 percent of which were not performing as expected. - Harold Brubaker

Secondary offering for Penn Va.

Penn Virginia GP Holdings L.P., Radnor, announced a secondary offering of 8.8 million limited-partner units at $16.08 each. The units are being sold by Penn Virginia Corp., which is spinning off its ownership of the partnership. The offering represents the corporation's last 22.6 percent interest in the partnership's units. Closing is expected June 7. Penn Virginia GP Holdings is a publicly traded limited partnership that owns the general partner interest and about 37 percent limited partner interest in Penn Virginia Resource Partners L.P., a manager of coal and natural resource properties and the operator of a natural-gas gathering and processing business. - Andrew Maykuth

New head of U.S. commercial markets

Cigna Corp. said Bertram "Bert" L. Scott would become president of U.S. commercial markets June 28. Scott, who is now executive vice president and chief institutional development and sales officer for TIAA-CREF, will be in charge of U.S. products; marketing; national accounts; and regional, individual, select, and senior segments. He will be based in Bloomfield, Conn. Cigna's corporate headquarters is in Philadelphia. - Stacey Burling

QR Pharma receives more funding

QR Pharma Inc., a Radnor company that is developing treatments for Alzheimer's disease, said it had received a $500,000 investment from BioAdvance and additional funding from angel investors. It said those investments closed a one-year seed round totaling $2.4 million. The money will fund development of two compounds, Posiphen and Bisnorcymserine, to treat Alzheimer's disease and cognitive impairment. - Stacey Burling

IGI says it will file compliance plan

IGI Laboratories Inc. says it will submit a compliance plan to the New York Stock Exchange's Amex division to satisfy a threatened delisting. The Buena, Atlantic County, maker of products for drug and cosmetics companies says it was notified May 25 about two issues: stockholders' equity was below $6 million, and the company reported continuing and net losses for the last five fiscal years. Shares closed down 2/10ths of a cent below $1. - Roslyn Rudolph

Credit unions agree to merge

Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union and Main Line Health Employees Federal Credit Union have agreed to merge later this year, the Franklin Mint credit union said. The deal requires approval by regulators and members. The Franklin Mint credit union has 28 branches and nearly $600 million in assets. The Main Line Health credit union, with branches at Lankenau, Bryn Mawr, and Paoli Memorial Hospitals, has $52 million in assets. - Harold Brubaker


Shares jump on FDA approval

Amgen Inc.'s bone-strengthening injection denosumab, for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, will be the first biotechnology drug likely to be prescribed by patients' primary physicians rather than specialists, the company said. Shares closed up more than 10 percent at $56.09. The Food and Drug Administration Tuesday announced clearance of the product, to be marketed as Prolia. Denosumab may have sales of $942 million next year, rising to $2.9 billion annually by 2013, according to estimates from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. - Bloomberg News

Unemployment drops in metro areas

Unemployment rates fell in April for more than 90 percent of the nation's 372 largest metro areas as hiring picked up around the country. The Labor Department said the jobless rate dropped in 346 areas last month. It rose in only 12 and remained flat in 14. That's much better than March, when unemployment fell in 257 areas and rose in 89. Much of the improvement was seen in Midwestern regions with significant manufacturing operations. - AP

Lockheed to sell, realign units

Lockheed Martin Corp. said it would sell two businesses and realign others to improve performance and avoid potential problems over new government regulations for military contractors. The company says it will sell the enterprise integration group and the Pacific Architects and Engineers unit. Combined, the two make up about 3 percent of Lockheed's annual revenue. Military contracting reform legislation passed last year includes a provision designed to reduce conflicts of interest for contractors, many of which are huge and deeply involved in a broad range of government operation. Lockheed has almost 11,000 employees in the Philadelphia region. Spokesman Jeff Adams said 1,300 employees in the Philadelphia region would be affected by the announcements: About 700 will be part of the enterprise integration group divestiture, with the rest remaining with Lockheed. - AP and Inquirer staff

AT&T to change data-plan prices

AT&T Inc. will cut wireless data-plan prices for most users next week and stop offering unlimited data plans to manage soaring demand for data-hungry devices like the iPhone. AT&T will provide a 200-megabyte plan for $15 a month and a 2-gigabyte package at $25 that compares with current offers of $30 for unlimited data use. Users who exceed the 2-gigabyte level can pay an additional $10 per month for an additional 1 gigabyte of data service, according to a statement. - Bloomberg News

Money-fund yields unchanged

The average seven-day yield on taxable money-market funds was 0.03 percent this week, unchanged from last week, according to iMoneyNet Inc. The average yield on tax-free funds was 0.04 percent this week, unchanged from last week. - Rhonda Dickey