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Business news in brief

In the Region

Judge to issue sentencing guidelines

Four former

Synthes Inc.

executives who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from an illegal clinical trial of bone cement in which three people died are awaiting word from U.S. District Judge Legrome D. Davis about the guidelines he will use to sentence them and the date for sentencing. Michael Huggins of West Chester, Thomas Higgins of Berwyn, Richard Bohner of Malvern, and John Walsh of Coatesville were in court earlier this week as their lawyers argued for guidelines that might lessen the potential prison and probation time. Last year, Synthes and its former subsidiary Norian, both of West Chester, pleaded guilty to charges and paid fines totaling $23 million.

- David Sell

11% to 13% yearly sales growth seen

Air Products & Chemicals Inc.

, Allentown, forecast annual revenue growth of 11 percent to 13 percent the next four years, making it a $15 billion-a-year company by 2015. In its fiscal 2010, which ended in September, Air Products' revenue was $9 billion. The forecast was made at an investor conference by John McGlade, the company's chairman, president, and chief executive officer, and was based, he said, on the company's strength in the energy and environmental fields and in emerging markets around the world. Air Products supplies specialty gases and services for energy, technology, health-care, and other industries.

- Paul Schweizer

G4 could sell for $600 million


's G4 channel may fetch as much as $600 million in a sale to

Ultimate Fighting Championship

, according to analysts.

Comcast Corp.

's NBCUniversal is in talks to sell the video-game channel to UFC, the mixed-martial-arts fighting league, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. Negotiations are early and a deal may not be reached, said the people, who aren't authorized to speak publicly. Comcast is based in Philadelphia. Spokeswomen Amelia Stewart of NBCUniversal and Caren Bell of UFC declined to comment. The discussions were first reported Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal.

- Bloomberg News

Stock is split; dividend doubles

Triumph Group Inc.

announced a two-for-one split of its common stock. The split will be effective July 14 for shareholders as of June 22. Shares of the Wayne manufacturer are up 48 percent in the last 12 months. The split will cut the price in half, making the stock more affordable for investors. The shares closed up 74 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $92.75. In addition, Triumph said it would maintain its quarterly dividend at 4 cents per share, thereby doubling the payout. That will cost it about $1 million more a quarter. Triumph makes aircraft components and systems.

- Paul Schweizer

Plosser: Inflation risk, jobless drop

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank

president Charles Plosser warned of inflation pressures from record stimulus, while saying unemployment would probably fall to between 7 percent and 7.5 percent by the end of next year. "I see the inflation risks in the U.S. as being clearly to the upside," Plosser said Thursday in a speech in London to the

Society of Business Economists

. "My forecast is for the economy to continue to expand at a moderate pace and for inflation to move back down from its current level as oil prices stabilize."

- Bloomberg News

Plans for hundreds of hires in Del.

Bloom Energy

, Sunnyvale, Calif., said it planned to hire 350 construction workers this year and 900 permanent workers by 2012 for a Newark, Del., plant at the shuttered former


auto factory. It will produce natural-gas-powered Bloom Box-brand "fuel cells" to make electricity using an energy-efficient chemical process, instead of the usual heated-water electrical turbines. The proposal will require an $11.25 million state grant plus additional state funding. Bloom is a start-up company backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalists

Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers


- Joseph N. DiStefano

NCO to hire 400 in Illinois

NCO Group Inc.

, Horsham, said it would hire 400 full-time workers at its customer call center in Rockford, Ill. NCO said its job growth came as it expanded its work for a wireless telecommunications company. NCO handles tasks for businesses, mostly in customer relationships and accounts receivable.

- Paul Schweizer


First-time jobless claims rise

U.S. initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose by 1,000 last week, to 427,000,

Labor Department

figures showed - a sign that the labor market is struggling to gain traction. The four-week moving average, a less volatile measure than the weekly figures, fell to 424,000 last week from 426,750.

- Bloomberg News

U.S. trade deficit shrinks

The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly narrowed in April, reflecting a plunge in auto and oil imports combined with record exports. The gap shrank 6.7 percent to $43.7 billion, the lowest since December,

Commerce Department

figures showed. Purchases of goods from Japan dropped a record $3 billion in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

- Bloomberg News

Borders seeks lease extensions

Borders Group Inc.

says it may have to close dozens of its best-performing stores under a requirement of its bankruptcy financing if their landlords don't agree to extend a lease-negotiation period. Borders, which filed for bankruptcy court protection in February, has extension agreements for 365 stores. But it said in a court filing that it was still negotiating extensions for 51, many of them among its top-selling stores, including one near Penn Station in New York.

- AP

Greece approves austerity moves

Greek ministers approved a new round of austerity measures and a $73 billion privatization drive that are essential for the debt-ridden country to continue receiving money from its international bailout. The country is lagging behind in making changes promised in return for last year's $160 billion rescue-loan package. Fellow eurozone governments have warned that if Greece does not enforce new austerity, it will be cut off from aid.

- AP