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Business news in brief

In the Region

Endo CEO to step down

Drugmaker Endo Health Solutions Inc., of Chadds Ford, said chief executive officer David P. Holveck, 67, will retire by May, and will leave the post earlier if a replacement is found. A search is underway with assistance of executive search firm Korn/Ferry, the Endo board said in a statement. Holveck has been CEO for five years. The company also announced after markets closed that it expected 2012 diluted earnings per share to be at or below the low end of its previous guidance range of $5 to $5.10 per share, and that it likely will state lowered 2013 guidance in early January. Company shares closed down 1.81 percent, at $27.60, and fell sharply after the announcements. - Reid Kanaley

Pfizer in off-label settlements

Attorneys general in Pennsylvania and New Jersey said their states are among 33 that will share in a $42.9 million settlement with Pfizer Inc. that resolves allegations the pharmaceutical company unlawfully promoted antibiotic Zyvox and pain medication Lyrica for off-label uses. Pennsylvania said it will get in excess of $2 million, and New Jersey said it will get $1.79 million under the settlement. Separately, the U.S. Justice Department said Pfizer will pay $55 million to resolve allegations that Wyeth L.L.C., which Pfizer acquired in 2009, promoted its erosive-esophagitis treatment Protonix for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. - AP and Inquirer staff

ABC reaffirms 2013 guidance

Pharmaceutical packager and distributor AmerisourceBergen Corp., of Valley Forge, said at an investor conference that it reaffirmed fiscal year 2013 guidance, and continues to expect revenue growth in the range of 6 percent to 9 percent and diluted earnings per share from continuing operations in the range of $3.06 to $3.16 - up 11 percent to 14 percent over fiscal 2012. The company has about $80 billion in annual revenue and employs about 13,000. - Reid Kanaley

CEO named at Grand View Hospital

Grand View Hospital in Sellersville promoted Jean M. Keeler to president and chief executive from senior vice president and general counsel, effective immediately. Keeler replaced Stuart H. Fine, who announced his retirement in June. Keeler has worked at Grand View, which has 200 beds, since 1996. - Harold Brubaker

Notes priced by Brandywine Realty

Office real estate owner Brandywine Realty Trust, of Radnor, said its operating partnership, Brandywine Operating Partnership L.P., priced an offering of $250 million in 3.95 percent senior unsecured notes due in 2023. The notes are offered to investors at 99.273 percent of the face amount, for a yield at maturity of 4.037 percent. Most of the proceeds will fund earlier-announced tender offers on outstanding debt, the company said. - Inquirer staff


U.S. on track for another $1T deficit

The federal government's budget deficit widened in November compared with October, a sign that the nation is on a path to its fifth straight $1 trillion-plus deficit. The budget gap rose to $172 billion in November, up from $120 billion in October, the Treasury Department said. The November deficit was also 25 percent higher than the same month last year. The government finished the 2012 budget year with a deficit of $1.1 trillion. - AP

American rolls out new fares

American Airlines said it will charge up to $88 more per round trip for passengers who want a basic ticket that includes checking baggage or changing a reservation. Currently, the airline levies separate fees for those and other extras for everyone except premium passengers. American says the new fare structure is a response to customer complaints about fees for changing reservations. American said it will still sell a basic fare without protection against add-on fees. - AP

Mississippi water level still falling

Water levels on the drought-plagued Mississippi River are expected to keep dropping over the next several weeks, according to a new forecast, amid worries that barge traffic soon could be squeezed along a key stretch of the vital shipping corridor. The latest outlook by National Weather Service hydrologists shows the river at St. Louis, Mo., falling to about 9 feet deep by Dec. 30 - a day later than earlier predicted - and by a half-foot more by Jan. 9, barring significant rainfall. The Coast Guard has said further restrictions on barge traffic are likely if the river's depth dips to 9 feet. The river depth in St. Louis as of Wednesday was about 12 feet. Months of drought have left water levels up to 20 feet below normal along a 180-mile stretch of the river from St. Louis to Cairo, Ill. The problem was worsened last month when the Army Corps of Engineers cut the outflow from an upper Missouri River dam. - AP

Avon calling - with pink slips

Avon Products plans to cut about 1,500 jobs and exit two Asian markets, as the struggling beauty products seller begins a broad restructuring plan in an effort to turn around results. The job cuts amount to almost 4 percent of its workforce and mark one of the first major moves by CEO Sheri McCoy, who was brought on in April. Avon said the job cuts span all regions and functions. The 1,500 cuts include 100 employees in Vietnam and South Korea, which Avon will exit entirely. - AP

New privacy controls at Facebook

Facebook Inc. is trying to make its privacy controls easier to find and understand in an effort to turn the world's largest social network into a more discreet place. The most visible change will be a new "privacy shortcuts" section that appears as a tiny lock on the right-hand side at the top of people's news feeds. This feature offers a drop-down box where users can get answers to common privacy questions. - AP