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Business news in brief

In the Region

Hershey workers approve new deal

Workers approved a labor pact expected to lead to job losses at the

Hershey Co.

but expand one of its hometown plants. Unionized workers at two plants in Hershey approved the deal in a Friday vote. Union representatives say the vote was 1,317-95. The deal faces board approval. It lets the candymaker cut up to 600 jobs while leaving just administrative offices in the original factory. Hershey is pledging to invest $200 million into expanding its West Hershey plant. It had threatened to move the expansion and jobs elsewhere. - AP

Ascenta in deal with Sanofi-Aventis

Ascenta Therapeutics Inc. has signed what looks like a Monopoly-money deal with the French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis. The Malvern biotechnology firm that's been working on new cancer treatments signed a collaboration and licensing pact for two compounds in a deal valued at up to $398 million. Sanofi-Aventis has U.S. headquarters in Bridgewater, N.J. One of its research-and-development sites is in Malvern. - Mike Armstrong

Plant looking into glass recall

The company that owns the Millville, N.J., plant that makes the Shrek-themed drinking glasses recalled by McDonald's because they contain cadmium says it only learned of the problem late Thursday and is looking into it. Tom Reed, vice president of human resources at Arc International's plant in Cumberland County, says the company received a copy of a McDonald's memo on the recall of 12 million glasses but has not heard anything else. The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced the voluntary recall Friday. Cadmium is a toxic metal and known carcinogen. - AP

Ruling against America West pilots

A federal appeals court ruled against pilots from the old America West airline in their dispute with their union at US Airways. The two airlines combined in 2005, but their pilots are still fighting over seniority rights. Friday's decision from a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit says it is too soon to say that the union has harmed the America West pilots, because a new contract would have to be ratified first. - AP

Universal Health Realty lifts dividend

Universal Health Realty Income Trust, King of Prussia, raised its quarterly dividend by a half-cent to 60.5 cents a share. The dividend will be paid June 30 to shareholders on June 16. The company last boosted its dividend, also by a half-cent, in December. The real estate investment trust invests in health-care and human-service-related facilities, such as hospitals, surgery centers, and child-care centers. - Paul Schweizer

Firm buys stake in hotel manager

Starwood Capital Group, a Greenwich, Conn., real estate investment firm, bought a 49.9 percent stake in Philadelphia-based Hersha Hospitality Management L.P., which manages 70 hotels for Hersha Hospitality Trust and other clients, the two companies said. The price was not disclosed. Five executives and trustees of Hersha Hospitality Trust, a real-estate investment trust, collectively owned 70 percent of Hersha Hospitality Management at the end of 2009, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The two firms said the Starwood investment would allow Hersha Hospitality Management to expand across the country from its concentration in Boston, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington. - Harold Brubaker

Mace seeks overturning of award

Mace Security International Inc., the Horsham pepper-spray and surveillance product maker, asked a federal judge in Philadelphia to overturn an arbitration panel's award last month of $4.15 million to former chief executive Louis D. Paolino. Mace said the three-member arbitration panel exceeded its power and disregarded the law. - Harold Brubaker

Met-Pro 1Q earnings increase

Met-Pro Corp. reported $22.3 million in first-quarter net sales, which it said were the second highest in the company's history. That helped give the Harleysville company net income of $1.4 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with $952,449, or 7 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. The quarter ended April 30. The company makes product-recovery and pollution-control systems. - Roslyn Rudolph


G20 leaders to delay bank rules

Group of 20 finance chiefs signaled they would delay introducing rules aimed at forcing banks to raise the quality and quantity of capital they hold as a buffer against financial crisis. Finance ministers and central bankers concluded talks in Busan, South Korea, on Friday in agreement that banks need to keep more assets on hand, yet split over the scale and timing of capital increases. With euro-area officials expressing concern that haste would hurt economic growth, U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne echoed U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in pushing for the new rules to be agreed this year, with the provision that enactment be delayed. - Bloomberg News

Banks closed in Illinois, Miss., Neb.

Regulators have shut down small banks in Mississippi and Illinois, and a much larger one in Nebraska, boosting the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 81. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over First National Bank, Rosedale, Miss., with $60.4 million in assets, and Arcola Homestead Savings Bank in Arcola, Ill.,

with about $17 million in assets.

Jefferson Bank, Fayette, Miss., agreed to acquire the assets and deposits of First National Bank. The FDIC was unable to find a buyer for Arcola Homestead Savings Bank. Also, TierOne Bank,

Lincoln, Neb., was closed by the Office of Thrift Supervision, which appointed the FDIC as receiver. TierOne Bank had $2.8 billion in assets and $2.2 billion in deposits. Great Western Bank, Sioux Falls, S.D., will assume all of the deposits of TierOne. The number of bank failures is expected to peak this year and to be slightly higher than the 140 that fell in 2009. By this time last year, regulators had closed 37 banks. - AP

CEO: Amtrak heads for record

Amtrak is on course to set a record for riders this year, chief executive officer Joseph Boardman said. The railroad may surpass the 28.7 million passengers carried in 2008, Boardman said, without predicting how many customers will use Amtrak this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Amtrak carried 13.6 million passengers from October through March, a 4.3 percent gain from the same months in 2009, the railroad said. - Bloomberg News

Chrysler recalls vehicles over pedals

Chrysler Group L.L.C. recalled almost 35,000 Dodge and Jeep vehicles for accelerator pedals that may become stuck, the company said. The pedals in Dodge Calibers and Jeep Compasses for the 2007 model year were made by CTS Corp., which supplied similar parts in Toyota Motor Co.'s cars. The recall covers 34,614 Calibers and 90 Compasses, with 73 percent in the United States, Chrysler said in a statement.
- Bloomberg News