Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

Business news in brief

In the Region

Coal-fired plant closing early

NRG Energy Inc., of Princeton, agreed to shut down its coal-fired Portland Generating Station in Mount Bethel, Pa., six months earlier than scheduled to settle a federal lawsuit over its emissions. NRG, which acquired the plant in December as part of its merger with GenOn Energy Inc., will close the plant by June 1, 2014, rather than January 2015. The closure ends a lawsuit brought by the States of New Jersey and Connecticut for alleged noncompliance with the federal Clean Air Act. The 570 megawatt plant is located 26 miles northeast of Bethlehem on the Delaware River. - Andrew Maykuth

Delta sees 'modest' profit at Trainer

Delta Air Lines said its Trainer oil refinery will produce a "modest" profit in the current quarter ending June 30, and that 10 percent of the refinery's crude supply will be cheaper Bakken crude coming from the upper Midwest in the second half of the year. Delta president Edward Bastian said Delta subsidiary Monroe Energy L.L.C. will make plant modifications over the next 12 months to maximize jet fuel production to 40,000 barrels a day by early 2014. "That will represent about 25 percent of Delta's domestic consumption," Bastian said. Delta acquired the former ConocoPhillips refinery in Delaware County last year. - Linda Loyd

Hill's U.S. contract could hit $100M

Hill International Inc., the Marlton engineering firm, said it won a contract worth up to $100 million from the U.S. Department of State to provide program management and other services worldwide. The contract has a one-year base term and four one-year option terms. The company said the contract supports the State Department's Office of Construction Management, which builds and renovates diplomatic facilities abroad. Hill shares closed unchanged at $2.98. - Reid Kanaley

Airline unions to jointly bargain

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) and the Transport Workers Union (TWU) said they will jointly be the bargaining agent for nearly 30,000 mechanics and fleet service workers at the new American Airlines, after American and US Airways Group merge. The agreement comes after the International Brotherhood of Teamsters recently filed a petition with the federal National Mediation Board seeking an election to represent US Airways' mechanics. The Teamsters said they also plan to file to represent ground workers at American. The TWU currently represents mechanics and related employees at American, while the machinists represent the workers at US Airways. The unions blasted the Teamsters filing last week, calling the action "an unprincipled raid." US Airways is the dominant airline serving Philadelphia International Airport. - Linda Loyd

Manufacturing slips in N.Y. survey

Manufacturing in the New York region unexpectedly shrank in May as factories received fewer orders and sales stagnated. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York's general economic index declined to minus-1.4 this month from 3.1 in April. Readings less than zero signal contraction in New York, North Jersey, and southern Connecticut. The median projection in a Bloomberg survey called for an increase to 4. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia releases its own regional manufacturing survey on Thursday. - Bloomberg News

Regulators approve Revel plan

New Jersey gaming regulators approved Revel casino's plan to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The plan, approved by a judge on Monday, will substantially trim Revel's debt and infuse $350 million in new financing for the Atlantic City resort. State regulators told management that the casino needs to dramatically increase its slots revenue to survive. Revel's chief restructuring officer, Dennis Stogsdill, told a bankruptcy judge on Monday that Revel was about four years away from achieving profitability. - Suzette Parmley


U.S. flight delays grow

The government says that fewer flights arrived on time and more were canceled in March than a year ago, but fewer passengers lodged formal complaints against the airlines. The Transportation Department said 79.8 percent of flights arrived within 14 minutes of schedule in March. That's down from 82.2 percent in March 2012. Hawaiian Airlines and Virgin America had the best on-time ratings at better than 87 percent, while regional carrier ExpressJet and JetBlue Airways had the worst at 72 percent. ExpressJet also had the highest rate of canceled flights. Among the five biggest carriers, Delta Air Lines was best at arriving on time, followed by US Airways, American, United, and Southwest. - AP

Wholesale prices fall sharply

Sharp drops in fuel and food costs reduced a measure of U.S. wholesale prices in April by the most in three years. Outside those volatile categories, inflation stayed tame. The producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach the consumer, fell a seasonally adjusted 0.7 percent in April from March, the Labor Department said. It was the second straight monthly decline and the steepest since February 2010. Lower inflation means the Federal Reserve has more leeway to continue its aggressive policies to boost economic growth. If there were signs that inflation was picking up, the Fed might be forced to raise interest rates. - AP

Southwest delays plane deliveries

Southwest Airlines Co. is delaying delivery of new airplanes and filling the gap with used planes to reduce spending over the next five years. It's also raising its dividend and could soon buy back more of its own shares. Southwest said it will delay 30 firm orders for Boeing 737 jets, which CEO Gary Kelly said would cut capital spending through 2018 by more than $500 million. The airline is also giving up or delaying options for additional planes. - AP