Business news briefs: Drilling deal for Allegheny County airport site

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Drilling deal for airport site

Washington County Commissioners signed a no-drill oil and gas lease with two Marcellus Shale drillers to allow natural gas development under the county's airport. The county was one member of a landowner coalition comprised of dozens of property owners representing thousands of acres. It leased 136 acres to Range Resources Corp. and EQT Corp. for a bonus payment of $6,400 per acre and an 18.25 percent royalty of gas sales once the companies start producing. Matt Pitzarella, a spokesman for Range, said all of the airport's acreage will fall under the company's development area. There will be no drilling, compressor stations or impoundments on airport property, only on adjacent parcels, with horizontal wells stretching underneath the county land.

AE's 4th quarter sales fall

South Side teen clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters said sales in stores open at least a year fell 7 percent during the nine-week period ended Jan. 4. Total sales dropped 2 percent to $882 million, compared to $904 million a year ago. The company had predicted fourth quarter earnings per share would be in the range of 26 to 30 cents, but now it expects to earn 26 cents.

Gaming company inks deal

Educational gaming company Schell Games, based on the South Side, has signed a long-term agreement with Cleveland developer Forest City Enterprises to lease office space in Station Square. The company will move into the Bessemer Court area sometime this spring as part of an overall expansion expected to add five to 10 new employees this year.

RBS open to offers

Royal Bank of Scotland Group would be open to takeover offers for its U.S. subsidiary as it prepares the division for an initial public offering this year, the unit's chief executive officer said. "If somebody came in with a blow-away price they'd certainly respond to that," Bruce Van Saun, CEO of Providence, R.I.-based RBS Citizens Financial Group Inc., said.

Holiday sales rise for chains

Holiday sales rose 3 percent, based on a check of chain store results, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. The growth, which accounted for the November-December period, came despite a shortened shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as challenging weather, the trade group said.

PayPal a financing source

E-retailers in need of quick cash can add PayPal to a growing list of non-traditional sources for financing. The online-payment giant offered 90,000 U.S. merchants the option of borrowing 8 percent of their yearly PayPal revenue, up to $20,000, through the Working Capital pilot program.


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