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Business News in Brief

Business news from around the region and elsewhere.


Delco OKs contract for refinery study

The Delaware County Industrial Development Authority on Wednesday announced it had contracted with IHS Global Inc. to study potential uses for the 781-acre Sunoco Inc. Marcus Hook complex. The $100,000 study, which the Delaware County Council has agreed to finance, is expected to be completed in a month. Sunoco shut down its refinery in December, but says it has received no credible offers to operate the site as a refinery. IHS Global, an international information company with experts in energy, economics, sustainability and supply-chain management, is based in Colorado and has local offices in Eddystone. — Andrew Maykuth

Gas development helping taxes

Natural-gas development appears to have a positive effect on the local collection of state taxes in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale region, according to an analysis by researchers in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Sales tax collections in six counties with 150 or more Marcellus wells drilled between 2007 and 2011 rose an average of nearly 24 percent during those years, compared with an average decrease of about 5 percent in 31 counties with no Marcellus activity, said Timothy Kelsey, professor of agricultural economics. "The data support anecdotes we hear about Marcellus development increasing local retail activity," he said. Collections of the state's 1 percent realty transfer tax, which decreased 33 percent in non-Marcellus counties, rose an average of 4.3 percent in the six counties with more intense Marcellus activity. — Andrew Maykuth

Teva sales miss estimates

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s first-quarter sales missed estimates, held back by a slowdown in European demand for generic medicines and sales of its Copaxone multiple sclerosis drug. The stock closed down more than 5 percent. Sales rose 25 percent to $5.1 billion, the Petach Tikva, Israel-based company said in a statement. That was below the $5.52 billion average analysts had predicted. Teva's U.S. unit is based in North Wales, Pa. Analysts predicted $5.52 billion, the average of 18 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Earnings excluding some costs climbed 39 percent to $1.3 billion, or $1.47 a share, from $936 million, or $1.04, a year earlier. Profit beat the average estimate of $1.44 a share.— Bloomberg News

US Airways adds Europe flights

US Airways is adding flights to Europe from Philadelphia for the busy summer travel season, the airline said Wednesday. Seasonal flights will operate to Barcelona, Frankfurt, Venice, Lisbon, Athens, Glasgow and, for two weeks in July, to Dublin. Seasonal flights are also being added from Charlotte, N.C., the airline said. — Paul Nussbaum

Dividend increase for Quaker Chemical

Quaker Chemical Corp. increased its quarterly dividend half a penny, to 24.5 cents per share, the Conshohocken company said. The dividend is payable July 31 to shareholders of record July 17. Shares closed up 1.6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange. — Reid Kanaley

Aqua America unit buys Luzerne system

Aqua America Inc., Bryn Mawr, said its Pennsylvania subsidiary had paid $1.5 million for the water and wastewater system of Total Environmental Solutions Inc., which serves about 2,300 people in the Beech Mountain Lakes Resort Community in Luzerne County. The systems will be operated by Aqua's White Haven Division, which currently provides water and wastewater service to about 20,000 people. — Andrew Maykuth


Cisco's earnings up after cost cuts

Cisco Systems Inc.'s quarterly earnings surged 20 percent in the latest sign that a recent overhaul is paying off for the world's largest maker of computer-networking equipment. Cisco earned $2.2 billion, or 40 cents per share, during its fiscal third quarter, which spanned February through April. That compared with net income of $1.8 billion, or 33 cents per share, at the same time last year. If not for certain accounting items unrelated to its continuing business, Cisco would have earned 48 cents per share. On that basis, Cisco's earnings were a penny above the average estimate among analysts polled by FactSet. Revenue rose 7 percent from last year to $11.6 billion, matching analyst projections. The solid showing largely reflected the savings from a roughly $1 billion reduction in annual expenses. — AP

Fewer promotions for Pfizer's Lipitor

Officials from Pfizer Inc., whose blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor faces increased generic competition this month, told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the company would discontinue many of the unusual promotional programs it conducted in the last six months to retain revenue from the drug. Pfizer, which lost exclusivity on Lipitor in late November, had offered $4 coupons and struck deals with some health plans, which the Journal reported cost the company more than $87 million. Pfizer is based in Manhattan, but has operations in the Philadelphia suburbs. — David Sell

House votes to back Ex-Im Bank

The House voted to extend the life of the Export-Import Bank, after a struggle that split Republicans between pro-bank business groups and anti-big government conservatives seeking to have it dismantled. Most Republicans joined Democrats in backing the bank, a source of financing for U.S. companies trying to sell goods overseas. The measure reauthorizes the independent, self-financing federal agency for three years and raises its lending cap from the current $100 billion to $140 billion. The bank is about to hit its lending cap, and its operating authority expires at the end of this month. The Senate is expected to take it up before then. The bank, which was founded in 1934, previously had seen its charter renewed two dozen times without controversy. The Ex-Im Bank, which operates without taxpayer money, financed $32 billion in export sales last year, including about $11 billion worth of Boeing's large commercial sales. — AP

Bureau introduces mortgage rules

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau unveiled rules it says will simplify mortgage points and fees and bring greater transparency to the home-loan market. The rules, which the bureau expects to propose this summer and finalize by January, are designed to make it easier for consumers to understand mortgage costs and compare loans to choose the best deal. One of the proposals would require interest rate reductions when consumers choose to pay discount points. Another would ban origination charges that vary with the loan's size. Details of the proposals will be on the bureau's site, — Alan J. Heavens

Money-fund rates are unchanged

The average seven-day yield on taxable money-market funds was 0.03 percent this week, unchanged from last week, according to iMoneyNet Inc. A seven-day yield is an annual yield that is based on the preceding seven days' level of income by the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds was 0.02 percent this week, unchanged from last week. — Rhonda Dickey