Coke, and a smile?
ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steel producer, is restarting its Monessen, Westmoreland County, coke plant five years after the facility was idled, according to a company securities filing. The PG's Len Boselovic reports the Luxembourg steelmaker plans to resume production at the plant this month. ArcelorMittal, which purchased the plant from Koppers in October 2008 for about $160 million and then idled the plant seven months later, announced two years ago that it planned to invest $50 million in the plant and reopen it, creating 113 jobs.
Data-sharing, the good kind
UPMC and several other regional hospitals could soon be swapping patient records with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, part of an ongoing VA effort to share medical charts with community hospitals. They would do so by linking the patient database operated by the VA with a local health information exchange called ClinicalConnect, which is led by UPMC and will soon include patient records from nine other health networks and clinics. The point of the arrangement, VA and ClinicalConnect officials say, is to improve care for the thousands of veterans in the region who see doctors both inside and outside of the VA network.
Data-sharing, the bad kind
Revealed just last week, the so-called “heartbleed bug” is a flaw in the standard data encryption service than many websites and service providers use to transmit and scramble your username and password, keeping them safe from would-be thieves. Computer security expert Bruce Schneier, on his personal blog, said the bug represented a “catastrophic” weakness that could theoretically allow hackers to steal passwords and usernames across a variety of email hosts, shopping sites and other platforms. “On a scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11,” he wrote.
Websites are updating their encryption software presently, but change your passwords frequently, just to be safe.
Quote of the week
“They told me the food court is too 1980s and it hasn't been profitable for them in 10 years.”
— Dennis Scott, owner of Asiago Express and the Market Street restaurant in Two PPG Place, relaying what he says he was told when his landlord, Highwood Properties, did not renew his lease. Soon, the once-bustling food court at Two PPG Place will have only two restaurants left.
And speaking of food ...
Is Zoe's Kitchen the next Noodles & Co. or Chipotle? Investors like what they see so far: the small Texas-based chain — serving Middle Eastern and Mediterranean staples like hummus, Greek salads, pita sandwiches and kabobs — raised $87.5 million last week, selling 5.8 million shares at $15 apiece. By midday Friday, the stocks were selling for $25.90. The investors' IPO hunger isn't just tied to restaurants: About $16 billion has been raised in U.S. IPOs so far this year, making it the best start to a year in more than a decade, Reuters says. The chain has three Pennsylvania locations, all in Philadelphia.
In case you missed it ...
… visit post-gazette.com/business for Mark Belko's report on new office space construction in the city and its suburbs. Short version: 1.4 million square feet of office space is now under construction, the most in nearly a decade. Hot spots include Washington County's Southpointe (thanks to new energy company offices), the Parkway West and airport corridor, and in the East End (Oakland's Schenley Place and Bakery Square 2.0 in Larimer).
Building bigger nest eggs
“Retirement assets at the end of 2013 were the highest on record, a strong indication that many savers have seen their investment accounts bounce back from the financial crisis of 2008 when the stock market fell so hard it lost nearly half its value,” says the PG's Tim Grant. U.S. retirement assets were at $19 trillion Jan. 1, up from $16.3 trillion at the end of 2012, according to the Chicago-based Spectrem Group. As of Dec. 2, 2008, retirement accounts had lost $2.8 trillion — or 32 percent of their value — thanks to the recession.
Bill Toland: email@example.com or 412-263-2625.