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Business news in brief

In the Region

Energy scores for city buildings

The city announced Thursday that most of Philadelphia's large commercial buildings complied with a new law to report energy usage, and their average Energy Star score came in at 64, above the national average of 50. Energy usage and water reports from 2012 were filed for 1,750 of about 1,900 eligible buildings larger than 50,000 square feet, representing 250 million square feet or 20 percent of all building space in the city. The city says the benchmarking law will give building owners, managers and tenants useful information for taking action to reduce their energy and water costs. The deadline for reporting 2013 energy and water usage is June 30. For more information about the benchmarking law: - Andrew Maykuth

League votes for golf plan

Members of the Union League have voted overwhelmingly in favor of a partnership with the Torresdale-Frankford Country Club, Union League president Thomas C. Lynch said in a note to members. Of 1,100 voting members, 82 percent voted to approve the plan, Lynch wrote. Under the proposal, the Union League will advance $2.5 million to pay off Torresdale-Frankford's debt and borrow $8 million for capital improvements to the golf course and clubhouse on 150 acres in the city's Northeast. - Reid Kanaley

PCA bond outlook revised downward

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its outlook on bonds issued by the Philadelphia Corp. for the Aging, which had a $2.5 million operating loss in fiscal 2013, to negative from stable. The nonprofit, known as PCA, administers services for the elderly in Philadelphia. PCA's credit rating remained at "BBB." PCA's revenue decreased 10 percent in fiscal 2013 to $89.1 million, following a change in reimbursement methodology by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare for certain aging services. PCA had $17.7 million in bond debt on June 30. It borrowed $22.26 million in 2001 to buy its office building at 642 N. Broad St. - Harold Brubaker

Urban names new brand exec

Urban Outfitters Inc. has named Trish Donnelly as president of its struggling Urban Outfitters brand, North America. Donnelly comes from hip-fashion retailer Steven Alan, where she served as president for almost three years. Before she joined Steven Alan, she spent more than seven years at J. Crew as the executive vice president for J. Crew Direct. She began her retail career with Ralph Lauren. - Chris Hepp

Drugmaker to pay $7.3M

A unit of Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma will pay the U.S. government $7.3 million to resolve claims that it illegally marketed its antifungal drug Mycamine for children before that use was approved. The investigation began in Philadelphia when lawyer Stephen Sheller filed a whistle-blower lawsuit in federal court here on behalf of a former Astellas sales representative. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia was involved in the investigation. Astellas says it has consistently denied the accusation of illegal marketing and is glad to resolve the dispute. The whistle-blower will get $709,000 of the settlement. - AP and Inquirer staff

Winter drags on DuPont

DuPont Co.'s agricultural sales suffered and its operating costs rose during extensive winter storms that dragged on first-quarter earnings, although volumes increased in the company's industrial segments and margins improved in almost every one of them. The Wilmington chemical maker reported net income of $1.4 billion, or $1.54 per share, for the quarter ended March 31. That's down from $3.35 billion, or $3.58 per share, for the same quarter a year ago, which included a onetime gain from completion of the sale of DuPont's performance coatings unit. Sales declined 3 percent to $10.1 billion for the quarter. Analysts were expecting revenue of $10.4 billion. - AP


Money-transfers at Walmarts

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. introduced a new money transfer service that it says will cut fees for its low-income customers by up to 50 percent compared with similar services elsewhere. The Walmart-2-Walmart service is being rolled out in partnership with Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet Worldwide Inc. The service, which will be available starting April 24, allows its customers to transfer up to $900 to and from more than 4,000 Walmart stores in the U.S. It's a huge footprint that could reshape that industry and is likely to set off a pricing battle. - AP

$58M for ex-Yahoo COO

Yahoo Inc.'s recently fired chief operating officer, Henrique de Castro, left the company with a severance package of $58 million, after just 15 months on the job. CEO Marissa Mayer dumped de Castro in January after concluding he wasn't executing on her plan for reviving ad growth. De Castro's severance pay more than doubled the amount that Yahoo paid Mayer last year. Mayer's compensation was valued at $24.9 million, a 32 percent decline from the previous year. - AP

Mortgage rates dip

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.27 percent from 4.34 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent. Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago. - AP