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Business news in brief

Business news from around the region and elsewhere.


Unisys shares jump 20%

Shares of Unisys Corp. were among the biggest movers after the Blue Bell information technology company reported a rare quarterly revenue increase as well as higher profits. Unisys shares closed up 20 percent, or $3.30, to $19.70, making it the second-biggest gainer on the New York Stock Exchange. After stock market trading had ended Tuesday, the company announced first-quarter revenues of $928.4 million, up 2 percent from the same quarter in 2011. Unisys chairman and CEO Ed Coleman told analysts on a conference call that the "most challenging part of our business" is the unit that provides systems and services to federal agencies. He said federal revenue for Unisys decreased by 20 percent in the first quarter. Net income of $13.4 million, or 30 cents per share, represented a turnaround from last year's first-quarter net loss of $40.8 million, or 95 cents per share. — Mike Armstrong

Schroder to head health-care council

Pennsylvania State Rep. Curt Schroder (R., Chester) said he would resign his seat in Harrisburg on May 6 to become a senior vice president and regional executive with the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania's Delaware Valley Healthcare Council, which has 58 members in Southeastern Pennsylvania. Schroder will succeed Kenneth J. Braithwaite II, who left at the end of October. The hospital association praised Schroder for his hospital-friendly legislative efforts, including his advocacy of last year's Fair Share Act, which, the association said, was "designed to cut down on frivolous lawsuits." — Harold Brubaker

Glaxo sales up, profit down

GlaxoSmithKline P.L.C. said Wednesday that sales increased slightly, but first-quarter, after-tax profit dropped about 13 percent compared to the first quarter of 2011. The global drug maker is based in London, but has operations in Center City and the Philadelphia suburbs. Glaxo's 2011 sale of its interest in Quest, the U.S. laboratory company, was responsible in part for the higher profit number a year ago. Glaxo had after-tax profit of $2.55 billion in the first quarter in 2011. That figure dropped to $2.24 billion in 2012. Sales in the United States grew nine percent for the quarter, while Europe had a six percent decline. CEO Sir Andrew Witty said the company's recent $2.6 billion offer for Human Genome Sciences is a "very fair price," and does not expect higher bidders because of Glaxo's rights under existing partnerships with HGS on its key drugs. — David Sell

Ocean gas terminal plan withdrawn

A company that proposed building a liquefied natural gas terminal off the central New Jersey coast has withdrawn its application, saying it will start over on a new plan in the future. Liberty Natural Gas L.L.C. had applied to the federal Maritime Administration and the Coast Guard to build a facility 16 miles off Asbury Park. But Gov. Christie vetoed the plan in February 2011, saying it was too risky to the state's crucial tourism and fishing industries. The company kept pressing forward with the plan. But in an April 10 letter to regulators, it noted it had made so many changes to the proposal that a new application would be needed. — AP

Siemens buys FCE

Siemens Industry Inc., part of Germany-based Siemens AG, said it has acquired 100 percent of the shares of FCE L.L.C., of Huntingdon Valley, a 20-employee furnace company serving the metals industry. Financial details were not disclosed. FCE, founded in 2003, will operate within the metals technologies business unit of Siemens, but will continue to operate from its Pennsylvania location, Siemens said. — Inquirer staff


No delay in pharmacy deal

Express Scripts Holding Co. defeated a bid by retail drugstores to suspend its $29.1 billion purchase of Medco Health Solutions Inc. while a lawsuit challenging the takeover is pending. U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon in Pittsburgh said she will rule on the company's request to dismiss the case before considering the bid for a permanent injunction sought by retail pharmacy groups. Bissoon didn't say when she'd make either ruling. The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and others sued Express Scripts and Medco in March, arguing that the combination of the pharmacy-benefit management companies would reduce competition and make fewer services available to retail customers. Express Scripts completed its purchase on April 2. — Bloomberg News

Mortgage and refi applications drop

Mortgage applications dropped 3.8 percent in the week that ended Wednesday despite record low interest rates, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported. Refinance applications also declined, by 5.6 percent, but still accounted for 73.4 percent of total applications. More than half of the refis were at fixed interest rates, which stood at 4.04 percent, the lenders' group reported. — Alan J. Heavens

Splitting a Coke

The Coca-Cola Co. is seeking its first stock split in 16 years. The world's biggest beverage maker said Wednesday that the 2-for-1 split is in line with its plan to double revenue over this decade. The Atlanta-based company's stock began trading in 1919. Since then, the stock has been split only 10 other times. Companies split stocks when they think their share price has gotten too expensive or if the stock is trading too far above similar companies' stock — AP

Shutterfly bids for Kodak service

Shutterfly's stock climbed after the online photo publishing company emerged as the sole and thus the likely winning bidder for Eastman Kodak's online photo services business. The company says no other offers have emerged for Kodak Gallery. Pending final approval by a bankruptcy court, the business will be Shutterfly's for $23.8 million. Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January. — AP

House to vote on cybersecurity bill

The U.S. House of Representatives is considering a bill to defend critical U.S. industries and corporate networks from electronic attacks by foreign governments, cybercriminals and terrorist groups. The White House says it opposed the measure, arguing it falls short in protecting civil liberties. A final House vote may come Friday. — AP