Business Briefs: 4/9/14

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Aluminum prices decline, charges hurt Alcoa Q1

Alcoa reported a first-quarter loss of $178 million, or 16 cents per share, citing an 8 percent drop in aluminum prices and restructuring charges. The company reported earnings of $149 million, or 13 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue fell 6 percent to $5.45 billion. The quarterly loss reflects $461 million in pretax restructuring and other charges. During the quarter, Alcoa announced it is idling aluminum smelters in New York, Brazil and Australia. Excluding special items, Alcoa said adjusted net income totaled $98 million, or 9 cents per share.

Analysts had expected the aluminum producer to report adjusted earnings of 5 cents per share on sales of $5.55 billion.

FNB acquires Germantown bank for about $94 million

FNB Corp. on Tuesday announced it was expanding its presence in Maryland and into the attractive Interstate 270 corridor with the acquisition of Germantown, Pa.-based OBA Bank in an all-stock transaction valued at $23.56 per share, or about $94 million. The deal, which calls for OBA shareholders to receive 1.781 shares of FNB stock for each of their shares, would give Hermitage, Pa.-based FNB an additional $390 million in assets, $290 million in deposits and six banking offices, bringing its branch count in Maryland to 31.

The transaction is expected to be completed in the third quarter pending regulatory and OBA shareholder approvals. FNB, which operates under the First National Bank banner, entered the Maryland market last year.

Speech firm’s entities issue Chapter 11 filing

DynaVox Systems LLC, a Shadyside-based speech and communication technology company, announced that related entities DynaVox Inc., DynaVox Systems Holdings LLC and DynaVox Intermediate LLC have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Those entities are controlled by New York-based private equity firm Vestar Capital. DynaVox Systems LLC is controlled by JEC-BR Partners, a collaboration between Randolph, Mass.-based JEC Capital Partners and Houston-based Fondren Management LP. 

Dick’s set to open McCandless store

Findlay-based Dick's Sporting Goods will officially open its 50,000-square-foot McCandless Crossing store today, after closing its nearby store at the Shoppes at Northway over the weekend. A HomeGoods store is expected to open later this month at the new shopping center, while a 12-screen Cinemark Theater should be ready by midsummer.

Local woman selected for taxpayer advocacy panel

A South Park woman was recently selected by the U.S. Treasury Department to serve on the IRS Taxpayer Advocacy Panel, which hears taxpayer concerns and makes suggestions for improving service. Jeanne Matthews, a retired senior course administrator for the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, will be one of 72 volunteers on the nationwide panel. Taxpayers may contact panel members at 1-888-912-1227 or www.improveirs.org.

FTC OKs L’Occitane deal on slimming claim

The Federal Trade Commission has approved a final consent order settling charges that beauty products and cosmetics marketer L’Occitane violated the Federal Trade Commission Act with claims about the slimming properties of its Almond Beautiful Shape and Almond Shaping Delight skin creams. First announced in January, the settlement requires L’Occitane to pay $450,000 for consumer redress and prohibits it from making future false and deceptive weight-loss claims.

Employers advertised more jobs in February

The Labor Department said Tuesday that employers advertised 4.2 million job openings in February, up 7.7 percent from January. That’s the highest number of postings since January 2008. There are roughly 2.5 unemployed Americans for each open job, the report shows. That average has slowly been approaching the 2 to 1 ratio typical of healthier economies.

GM SUVs get top marks in crash test

General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain earned the top marks among midsize sport-utility vehicles in a front-end crash test. The models earned a rating of “good” in results released Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Toyota Highlander was deemed acceptable. The worst performer among the tested SUVs was Honda's Pilot. The four other SUVs to receive a “poor” rating were the Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer, Kia Sorento and Toyota 4Runner. The Chrysler Jeep Grand Cherokee was rated marginal.

American, US Airways tweak fees, mileage rules

If you use miles to get a free ticket on American Airlines, you may have to pay to check that suitcase. American and US Airways announced changes Tuesday to their policies on checked-bag fees and redeeming miles for free flights. When it comes to redeeming miles for free flights, US Airways is ending blackout days. The two carriers merged in December.

CVS agrees to pay $20 million to settle SEC charges

CVS Caremark Corp. has agreed to pay $20 million to settle charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission that it misled investors about “significant financial setbacks” suffered by the company and artificially boosting its financial performance.

Nokia gets Chinese approval for Microsoft deal

Nokia has received regulatory approval from Chinese authorities to sell its mobile phone unit to Microsoft Corp., removing one of the last major hurdles to the 5.4 billion-euro ($7.3 billion) deal. The Finnish company says it expects the transaction to close by the end of the month. 

From staff and wire reports


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