Business Briefs: Business expansion reported

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Business expansion reported

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, an economic development marketing organization, said Wednesday that businesses already here and those relocating to the Pittsburgh region announced 302 economic development deals in 2013. The various announcements added up to $2.4 billion in business expansions, which the alliance said would retain 1,669 jobs and add another 6,983 jobs in the coming years. Businesses already established in the region accounted for 124 of the announced expansions. The alliance said the information gathered for the report was from third-party sources and not independently verified.


PNC stock changes cleared

PNC Financial Services Group and Bank of New York Mellon on Thursday said regulators had cleared the banks' plans for increasing their common stock dividends and buying back company stock. PNC said the dividend hike would be acted on at the next meeting of the board of directors next Thursday, but did not say how large of an increase would be considered. The quarterly dividend currently is set at 44 cents. BNY Mellon said directors would meet April 8 to consider a 13 percent hike in the quarterly payout, from 15 cents to 17 cents. The nation's 30 largest banks must submit their capital plans to the Federal Reserve for review each January.


PPG to acquire coatings distributor in Panama

PPG Industries said it has an agreement to buy Canal Supplies Inc., a coatings distributor based in Panama. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Canal Supplies is privately held and has fewer than 15 employees. It distributes protective and marine coatings throughout Central America. PPG said the acquisition, which is expected to close in the second quarter, will help it expand its customer base in Central America, particularly in Costa Rica and Panama — which it said are growth markets.

Bayer grant for STEM

The Bayer USA Foundation awarded a three-year grant totaling $150,000 to the Carnegie Science Center for programs and events at the science center's Center for STEM Education and Career Development. The so-called STEM fields are science, technology, engineering and math. Separately, The Pittsburgh Foundation's Nelson Adult Blind Fund awarded a $70,000 grant to Blind & Vision Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh to provide eye exams, vision devices and rehabilitation to adults who do not have medical insurance or are underinsured.

Levi Strauss to eliminate about 800 jobs

Levi Strauss & Co. will eliminate about 800 jobs, almost 20 percent of its nonretail and nonmanufacturing employees, over the next 12 to 18 months. The privately held company said Wednesday that its restructuring plan will help it become more competitive and improve its financial health. Last month, the company said that its fourth-quarter gross profit weakened in part because it had to increase markdowns due to a slower holiday season.

Investor calls on Olive Garden parent to fire CEO

It’s time for Olive Garden’s parent company, Darden Restaurants, to consider looking for a new CEO, an activist investor said Wednesday. Barington Capital Group said it sent a letter to the independent directors on Darden’s board saying it was concerned by the company’s “rapidly deteriorating financial performance” under chief executive Clarence Otis. Darden said in a statement that its focus was on doing “what is in the best interest of all Darden shareholders."

Nissan recalls more than 1M vehicles for air bags

Nissan is recalling just over 1 million cars, SUVs and vans because the front passenger air bags may not inflate in a crash. It’s the company’s second recall to fix the same problem. The recall affects the Altima midsize car, Leaf electric car, Pathfinder SUV and Sentra compact models from the 2013 and 2014 model years, as well as the NV200 Taxi van and Infiniti JX35 SUV from 2013. Also covered are the Infiniti QX60 and Q50 SUVs from 2014.

Also in business ...

Orders to U.S. factories for long-lasting manufactured goods rose in February by 2.2 percent, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. 

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