Business Briefs: 7/2/14

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Bayer plans plant closings in Germany, China

Bayer MaterialScience plans to close plants in Germany and China and sell a business in Australia and New Zealand because of low demand for its Makrolon polycarbonate sheet product used in building applications, the German-based company said. In Germany, BMS will close its sheet plant in Darmstadt. In China, it will close a site in Beijing and consolidate operations at a plant in Guangzhou.

Bayer AG will keep mega brands of Merck purchase

Bayer AG said it will keep mega brands Dr. Scholl’‍s and Coppertone that it acquired as part of its $14 billion purchase of Merck’‍s non-prescription drug business. Reuters reported Germany-based Bayer was approached by several prospective buyers for Dr. Scholl’‍s foot products and Coppertone sunscreens, but the company issued a statement saying it would keep Merck’‍s consumer brand portfolio “as a core business.” Merck’‍s other consumer products include Claritin allergy medications and MiraLax laxatives.

PPG Industries purchases local paint distributor

PPG Industries closed on the purchase of Masterwork Paint Co., a Shadyside-based paint distributor that has 13 retail stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York. Terms were not disclosed.

Coal producer announces closing of Va. mine

Alpha Natural Resources Inc., the second-largest U.S. coal producer, is closing its Cherokee mine in Virginia because of the decline in the price of metallurgical coal that’s used to make steel. The move affects 121 workers, said Steve Hawkins, a spokesman for the Bristol, Virginia-based company, in an e-mail.

Spinoff shale company rises on first trading day

Seventy Seven Energy Inc., the shale fracker spun off by Chesapeake Energy Corp., rose in its first day of trading as a stand-alone company. The spinoff represents one of Chesapeake Chief Executive Officer Doug Lawler’s biggest moves to break up the integrated explorer and driller built by his predecessor, Aubrey McClendon, who was fired last year amid a shareholder revolt at the company he led for a quarter century.

Curtiss-Wright sells local company for $50M

Curtiss-Wright sold its Pittsburgh-based Benshaw unit to Regal-Beloit Corp. for $50 million in cash. Benshaw makes electronic motor controls and other products, generating annual revenue of about $60 million. It has plants in O’‍Hara and Shaler that employ about 200.

BMW AG to invest $1B in new Mexico factory

BMW AG plans to invest about $1 billion in a new factory in Mexico, catching up with its German competitors in manufacturing luxury cars in the Latin American country, a person familiar with the matter said. BMW’s second plant in North America will produce about 150,000 cars a year when production starts by 2019.

U.S. factories experience spring boost in gains

American factories, propelled by strong spring orders, sustained gains in June and are poised to be part of the rebound in economic growth, according to The Institute for Supply Management. Producers of wood products, furniture, metals and machinery were among those seeing a pickup in demand.

GM sees sales gain, shocking investors

General Motors Co. surprised investors with a U.S. sales gain after analysts projected a decline in June. Ford Motor Co., Chrysler Group LLC and Nissan Motor Co. beat estimates in what’s shaping up to be a big month for the industry. GM’s sales rose 1 percent, beating the average analysts’ estimates for a 6.3 percent decline last month, and Chrysler’s deliveries rose 9.2 percent in June, the company’s 51st consecutive monthly increase.


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