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Business news in brief

In the Region

Wilmington Trust cuts CEO's total pay

Wilmington Trust Corp.,

which agreed to sell itself at a fire-sale price to

M&T Bank Corp.

in October, rescinded parts of chief executive officer Donald E. Foley's pay package while raising his annual base salary to $1.5 million from $1.2 million, the bank said in a regulatory filing Thursday. Foley lost a $1.75 million signing bonus and a proposed amendment to a retirement package that would have given him 14

years of service for vesting purposes even though he became CEO this year. The company, which is under fire from shareholders, also cut the number of 2010 restricted shares he will receive to 23,463 from 40,026. After the merger, he will lose his job as CEO. - Harold Brubaker

Susquehanna repays bailout funds

Susquehanna Bancshares Inc.

said it repaid the remaining $100 million federal bank bailout money it received two years ago. The Lititz, Lancaster County, bank, which has significant operations in the Philadelphia area, had already repaid $200 million in April. Since receiving the

U.S. Treasury

investment in December 2008, Susquehanna paid dividends of $23.7 million, the bank said.

- Harold Brubaker

Judge: Airgas must explain rejection

Airgas Inc.,

Radnor, must provide details on why it rejected

Air Products & Chemicals Inc.'s

$70-per-share buyout offer, Delaware Chancery Court Judge William B. Chandler III said. He asked Airgas to provide "the necessary factual record" concerning its consideration of the latest offer and subsequent determination that it was inadequate. Airgas on Wednesday turned down the bid from Air Products, Allentown, saying it believed the company is worth $78 a share. Chandler is deciding whether Airgas' "poison pill" defense is valid. Both companies sell industrial gases.

- Bloomberg News

Teleflex prepays $166M in debt

Teleflex Inc.,

Limerick, said it made early repayment on a total of $165.8 million in senior notes. The debt was due in 2011, 2014, and 2016 and had interest rates ranging from 6.66 percent to 7.46 percent. Market interest rates now are lower - about 3.34 percent for a 10-year Treasury note, for example - so the early redemption will save money for the maker of medical devices.

- Christopher K. Hepp

Air Products increases prices again

Air Products & Chemicals Inc.

said it would raise prices on some of its products because it is paying more for raw materials. It is the third increase announced by the Allentown supplier of industrial gases in the last six weeks. The latest increase, ranging from three cents to six cents per pound, involves several surfactants, a wetting agent used in paints, coatings, inks, and adhesives.

- Paul Schweizer

Aqua America buys two water systems

Aqua America Inc.,

a Bryn Mawr water utility, said it bought a Texas water system and a wastewater-treatment system in North Carolina. It paid $874,000 for the Bluewater Key Water Co. and Carrizo Water Co., serving 1,150 customers in Henderson County, Texas, and $900,000 for the wastewater system of Emerald Plantation Utilities Inc. in Emerald Isle, N.C. Aqua America, which has made 21 acquisitions this year, is focusing its growth strategy on faster-growing states such as Texas.

- Andrew Maykuth

Pa. to need manufacturing workers

Pennsylvania faces a "critical shortage" of 15,000 to 17,000 skilled manufacturing workers in the next 10 years, a new report from the state Department of Labor and Industry said. Businesses need workers with skills and training to operate "increasingly complex, computer-controlled manufacturing systems, it said.

- Paul Schweizer

Saladworks adds two Pa. locations

Saladworks Inc.,

Conshohocken, announced agreements with two Pennsylvania franchisees, each of which will open a company restaurant. One will be in Bucks County, the other in the Lehigh Valley. Saladworks has 40 locations in Pennsylvania.

- Paul Schweizer


Tax changes may delay filing returns

Some taxpayers will have to wait until mid- to late-February to file their returns because of changes in the law approved by Congress in its lame-duck session, the

Internal Revenue Service

said. The changes apply to tax breaks on college tuition, state and local property taxes, and out-of-pocket expenses for teachers. The agency will need the extra time to reprogram its computers, but it said delays would be minimal for people who itemize deductions because they normally must wait for financial documents before filing their returns.

- AP

Jo-Ann Stores to go private for $1.6B

Fabric and craft store chain

Jo-Ann Stores Inc.,

Hudson, Ohio, is being taken private by investment firm

Leonard Green & Partners L.P

. for about $1.6 billion, or $61 a share - 34 percent more than Wednesday's closing price on the New York Stock Exchange. Jo-Ann's stock rose $14.56, or 32 percent, to $60.19 in trading Thursday. Leonard Green also has stakes in retailers Neiman Marcus Group, The Container Store, Tourneau, David's Bridal, Whole Foods Market, and Sports Authority. Jo-Ann's operates 14 stores in the Philadelphia area.

- AP

HCA files for IPO stock sale

Hospital operator

HCA Holdings Inc.

filed plans for a $4.6 billion initial public offering of stock after making a $2.1 billion payment to its current, private shareholders. The Nashville company did not say in a regulatory filing how many shares it will offer or their price range. They will be on the New York Stock Exchange. HCA runs 162 hospitals and 104 surgery centers.

- AP

Portugal's credit rating cut by Fitch



Ratings Inc.

agency downgraded


credit rating as the country finds it harder to raise money to finance its borrowings. Fitch said it was reducing its rating on the country's debt to "A+" from "AA-," citing a slow reduction in the country's current account deficit and a much more difficult financing environment.

- AP

Fed nomination to be resubmitted


White House

said President Obama will resubmit the nomination of Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond to the

Federal Reserve,

even though he faces stronger opposition from the next Congress. The Senate did not act on the nomination this year. Senate Republicans question Diamond's qualifications.

- AP