Business Briefs: PPG to expand presence in Mexico

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PPG to expand presence in Mexico

PPG Industries said it will invest more than $27 million to expand its coatings facility in San Juan del Rio, Mexico. The expansion includes four new buildings that will house production and laboratory space. PPG expects employment at the plant to grow by 30 percent to 115 workers. The facility makes coatings for automotive, protective and marine, packaging and industrial customers. 

Bar association to offer free legal clinic

Lawyers from the Allegheny County Bar Association will provide free legal consultations and education on March 29 at a clinic at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. The sessions will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Energy costs hold down consumer price increase

Cheaper energy kept U.S. consumer prices in check last month, despite a big rise in the cost of food, the latest sign that inflation is tame. The consumer price index rose 0.1 percent in February, matching January’s increase, the Labor Department said Tuesday. In the past 12 months, prices have risen just 1.1 percent. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices rose 0.1 percent last month and 1.6 percent in the past year.

Home construction fell for a third month

U.S. home construction fell for a third month in February, but in a hopeful sign, applications for building permits rose to their highest level in four months. Builders started work on 907,000 homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate in February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was down a slight 0.2 percent from January. The declines have been blamed in large part on severe winter weather in much of the country. Applications for permits to build homes, considered a gauge of future activity, rose a solid 7.7 percent in February to 1.02 million units.

Hertz spinning off its equipment rental business

Hertz plans to spin off its equipment rental business into a separate publicly traded company by early next year. The car rental company said Tuesday that it will receive about $2.5 billion in net proceeds as part of the transaction and plans to use it to pay down debt and to support a new $1 billion stock buyback.

GM CEO Barra expects to testify about recall

General Motors CEO Mary Barra says it’s likely she will testify before congressional committees investigating the company’s handling of a faulty ignition switch that is tied to 12 deaths. She spoke to reporters Tuesday for the first time since the company recalled 1.6 million compact cars to repair the problem. 

Google, Viacom settle YouTube copyright suit

Google Inc. and Viacom Inc. settled Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit claiming YouTube violated copyrights by letting users post video clips from television shows without authorization after a federal judge twice threw out the allegations. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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Laurie Brubaker has been named president of Aetna's Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia operations. Ms. Brubaker has worked at Aetna for 25 years, previously as its chief culture officer.

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