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Business news in brief

In the Region

CDI discloses offer for RCM

CDI Corp., a Philadelphia engineering- and technology-staffing firm, publicized a $67.6 million cash offer for RCM Technologies Inc. after failing to reach an agreement with RCM's chairman and chief executive officer, Leon Kopyt, CDI said. The $5.20-per-share offer represents a 49 percent premium to RCM's close Thursday at $3.50 on the Nasdaq. In later trading, the Pennsauken company's shares jumped 40 percent to $4.90. RCM, which provides information technology, engineering, and commercial services, reported $189 million in revenue and $7 million in profit in its most recent fiscal year. RCM said in a statement Thursday evening that CDI's current offer "would not be in the best interests of the company." CDI, which published a letter sent to RCM board members May 21, said it would take its offer directly to RCM shareholders, if necessary. - Harold Brubaker

Wilmington Trust CEO retiring

Wilmington Trust Corp. said chairman and chief executive officer Ted T. Cecala, 61, is retiring after a 31-year career at the company. His successor as CEO, effective immediately, is board member Donald E. Foley, 58, who was senior vice president and treasurer of ITT Corp. Cecala will remain chairman until July 19. The company said the board would select a new chairman. - Harold Brubaker

Rendell: Trying to save Hershey jobs

Gov. Rendell says his administration is trying to stanch job losses at The Hershey Co.'s hometown plants. Rendell said Thursday that his administration had known for several weeks about the candy-maker's plans to slash up to 600 jobs there. The move could eliminate more than one-third of the remaining union jobs at Hershey's two hometown plants. The company wants to expand the West Hershey plant and leave just administrative offices in the original factory. The firm announced its plans Tuesday in a tentative pact with union negotiators. The union vote is Friday. Hershey threatens to move the expansion and jobs elsewhere if the union rejects the plan. - AP

36-month term in real estate scam

Roman Fitzmartin, 36, of Doylestown, was sentenced Thursday in U.S. District Court to 36 months in prison for mail fraud in a real estate investment scheme. Court documents show that Fitzmartin, operator of the Doylestown Investment Group, sold real estate interests to investors for properties he did not own, as well as one he did own, and kept the proceeds of more than $872,000. He pleaded guilty March 1 to the two counts of mail fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Harvey Bartle 3d ordered Fitzmartin to pay $755,000 in restitution to the investors. - Alan J. Heavens

Funds for patient e-records

Three Philadelphia-area health-care groups were awarded federal money to adopt electronic patient records. The recipients were: the Health Federation of Philadelphia Inc., $327,169; Southern New Jersey Family Medical Centers Inc., Hammonton, $3.0 million; and Southbridge Medical Advisory Council Inc., Wilmington, $558,114. They are among 45 groups nationally to receive a total of $83.9 million from the 2009 economic-stimulus package. - Paul Schweizer

Contract for Quakertown unit

Orbit International Corp. said it had received a $535,000 contract for mobile display terminals, which will be made in Quakertown. The buyer is a transportation-management company that was not named. The terminals will be made by Orbit's TDL unit and be delivered during the second half of 2010. Orbit, Hauppauge, N.Y., makes electronics equipment. - Paul Schweizer


Maytag dishwashers being recalled

Whirlpool Corp.'s Maytag unit is recalling about 1.7 million dishwashers because of a fire hazard. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says Maytag had received 12 reports of electrical failures in the dishwasher heating element that led to fires and damage. The recall includes Maytag, Amana, Jenn-Air, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag, and Crosley brand dishwashers with plastic tubs. The recalled dishwashers were sold February 2006 through April 2010. CPSC advises consumers to immediately stop using the recalled dishwashers and disconnect the electric supply by shutting off the fuse or circuit breaker controlling it. More information on the numerous serial numbers involved in the recall can be found at the company's website or the website for the Consumer Product Safety Commission: and - AP

First-time jobless claims drop

New claims for unemployment insurance fell for the second straight week, fresh evidence the job market is slowly improving. The Labor Department said initial claims for jobless benefits dropped last week by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 453,000. Still, the declines come after a sharp increase three weeks ago, and claims remain at elevated levels. The government said the four-week average of claims, an indicator that smooths out volatility, rose for the third straight week to 459,000. That's down by only 8,000 from its level in mid-January. - AP

Productivity growth slows

Productivity grew at a slower rate in the first three months of the year than previously thought, a sign that businesses may be reaching the limits on how much they can squeeze out of leaner staffs. The Labor Department says productivity rose at an annual rate of 2.8 percent in the January-to-March period. That is the slowest pace in a year and lower than the 3.6 percent rate the government initially reported last month. Labor costs declined at a 1.3 percent annual rate, slower than the 1.6 percent drop initially estimated. - AP

Retailers report tepid May results

Retailers' May sales reports underscore how fragile the consumer-spending recovery remains. The International Council of Shopping Center index for revenue at stores open at least a year rose 2.6 percent in May. Michael P. Niemira, ICSC's chief economist, had originally expected a 3.5 percent gain. Philadelphia-area companies reported same-store sales decreased from last year, but perhaps at improving rates. Destination Maternity Corp. said same-store sales fell 3.9 percent in May. Rite Aid Corp. said its same-store sales fell 1.7 percent in May. - AP