Business Briefs: 4/7/14

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Ford recalls nearly 435,000 vehicles

Ford is recalling nearly 435,000 cars and SUVs to fix rusting frame parts or faulty seats. The biggest of the two recalls covers nearly 386,000 Ford Escapes from the 2001 through 2004 model years.  Dealers will install a reinforcement brace to fix the problem. The second recall covers 49,000 Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, Ford Escape and C-MAX vehicles from 2013 and 2014. Dealers will replace seat back frames that weren’t welded properly.

PPG partnering with Calif. firm for pigments

PPG Industries will partner with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, Calif., to develop dark pigments for coatings that will improve the energy efficiency of metal roofs and building facades. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded $530,000 for the project including $224,000 to PPG, $250,000 to Berkeley Lab and $56,000 in cost sharing.   

PPG re­tiree named N.J. firm’s di­rec­tor

Rick Elias, former senior vice president, optical and specialty materials for PPG Industries and chief executive of Transitions Optical, has been named to the board of directors of Universal Display Corp. based in Ewing, N.J. Mr. Elias retired from PPG and Transitions on April 1 after PPG sold its share of the Transitions joint venture to partner Essilor International. company hit with deception complaint

A company that created online profiles of some 73 million people using improperly obtained personal information from Facebook and labeling them "Jerk" or "not a Jerk" at a site called, was hit with a complaint by the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive practices. The company, Jerk LLC, falsely led consumers to believe the profiles were created by other users and that they could change their "Jerk" profile by paying $30, the FTC said. A hearing before an administrative law judge was set for January 2015.

Consumer borrowing up $16.5 billion 

Consumers increased their borrowing in February on autos and student loans by the largest amount in a year. But for a second straight month, they cut back on their credit card use. The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing climbed $16.5 billion in February, up from a $13.5 billion gain in January. The category that includes credit cards fell $2.4 billion after a $241 million drop in January. But this decline was offset by an $18.9 billion increase in borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans, the biggest one-month gain since February 2013.

Lands' End starts trading as public company

Lands’ End shares fell in its first day as a separate public company after being spun off from Sears. The company’s stock dropped $2.17, or 6.8 percent, to $29.50. Lands’ End was publicly traded before Sears Holdings Corp. purchased it in 2002 for nearly $2 billion. Sears announced in December that it was going to spin off the clothing business as a separate company by distributing stock to its shareholders. It closed on the spinoff Friday. Sears received gross proceeds of $500 million from the separation.

Sun Pharma to acquire Ranbaxy in $3.2 billion deal

Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., India’s largest drug maker by market value, agreed to buy competitor Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. for $3.2 billion from Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo Co., which paid 61 percent more for the company five years ago. Food and Drug Administration has banned four Ranbaxy plants from exporting to the U.S. Ranbaxy’s top product in the U.S. was acne drug Absorica.

Aluminum smelters in Dubai, Abu Dhabi join forces

State investment companies in the United Arab Emirates’ two biggest cities say they have jointly created an aluminum producer that will rank among the world’s largest producers of the metal. Mubadala Development Co. and the Investment Corporation of Dubai said Monday they have formally incorporated the new Abu Dhabi-based company, known as Emirates Global Aluminium. It combines the operations of Dubai Aluminium, the country’s largest smelter, with Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Aluminium. Financial terms were not disclosed.

From staff and wire reports

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