Business Briefs: 5/9/14

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State moves ahead on Healthy PA 

The federal government has not yet approved Gov. Tom Corbett’s “Healthy PA” Medicaid overhaul, but his administration is moving forward with the piece of the overhaul that would extend private health insurance to Pennsylvania’s working poor. On Thursday, the administration issued procurement paperwork soliciting insurers that would offer health coverage to the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians that would be eligible for subsidized health coverage under the Healthy PA plan. Instead of expanding the state’s existing Medicaid program using federal money, as is permitted by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, Mr. Corbett wants to use that money to provide eligible households with “premium assistance” to purchase their own health policies

Strip District development plans expand

Oxford Development Co. is expanding plans for its proposed Three Crossings project on the Allegheny riverfront in the Strip District. Originally billed as a 299-unit apartment complex, the $122 million development now is expected to include 250,000 square feet of urban flex office space; complementary retail; and a transportation facility featuring 700 spaces for vehicles, 60 spaces for bicycles, a bicycle repair station and charging stations for electric cars. The city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority board voted Thursday to seek a $500,000 Allegheny County Gaming Economic Development Fund grant to help with infrastructure at the 11-acre brownfield site, a Pitt-Ohio Express truck terminal located between 26th and 27th streets. Oxford officials could not be reached for comment.

Amazon adds cities to Sunday delivery service

Amazon is expanding its Sunday package delivery service to 15 more cities across the country, but Pittsburgh still is not on the list. The cities that Sunday delivery is expanding to are: Indianapolis; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; New Orleans and Shreveport, Louisiana; Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio; Oklahoma City; Philadelphia; Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Waco and College Station, Texas. Amazon first rolled out the service as part of a new deal with the Postal Service in November to New York and Los Angeles, just ahead of the holiday rush.

Kashi settles class-action suit over 'All Natural'

Kellogg says it no longer will use the “All Natural” or “Nothing Artificial” labels on certain Kashi products as part of an agreement to settle a class-action lawsuit. The company, based in Battle Creek, Michigan, will also pay $5 million to settle the suit. The Food and Drug Administration says it doesn’t have an official definition for the term “natural.”

Local earnings

• Calgon Carbon reported first quarter profits and sales in line with analyst estimates. The Robinson environmental products and services firm said net income totaled $9.8 million, or 18 cents per share, comparable to results in the same quarter a year ago. Sales declined 3 percent to $131.6 million. Equipment sales fell 25 percent from year-ago levels because of lower revenue from ballast water treatment systems and traditional ultraviolet systems. Sales of activated carbon and related services, which accounted for about 90 percent of quarterly revenue, fell 1 percent. 

• Lanxess, the German specialty chemicals company with North American headquarters in Findlay, will consider closing plants and selling off business units as part of a restructuring that could take three years, said Matthias Zachert, the company’s chief executive. Lanxess raised about 430 million euros ($598 million) through the sale of 8.3 million new shares of stock and said it will use the proceeds to pay for restructuring costs. For the first quarter, net income was flat at 25 million euros, and global sales slipped by 2.5 percent to 2.04 billion euros. In North America, sales grew by 1 percent to 331 million euros, and the region’s share of global revenues rose to 16 percent. Lanxess employs about 300 at its Findlay headquarters and at facilities in Burgettstown, Washington County, and Neville Island.

• TreeHouse Foods Inc. profits plummeted in the first quarter as a result of refinancing debt and acquisition charges, among other things. The Oak Brook, Illinois, company reported a first quarter profit of $14.3 million, or 38 cents per share, down from $23 million, or 62 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding special items, the company said earnings per share rose 8.1 percent to 80 cents from 74 cents last year. TreeHouse, which makes private label soup in the former Heinz plant on the North Side, said sales of $618.9 million compared to $540.1 million last year. The North America real grocery division saw sales rise 17.2 percent to $452.4 million, although sales volume dipped for soup, cereals, pickles and salad dressings.

Also in business...

Maryland spice company McCormick & Co. has hired Brendan Foley to serve as president of its U.S. Consumer operations, effective June 2. Mr. Foley had been with Pittsburgh food company H.J. Heinz Co. until earlier this year, serving most recently as president of Heinz North America.


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