Business Briefs: 7/4/14

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Moody’‍s: Deal with UPMC ‘‍credit positive’ for Highmark

In analysis issued Thursday, Moody’‍s Investors Service says the “transition” deal between Highmark Health and UPMC, giving Highmark customers access to ERs, oncology services and certain hospitals at in-network rates for five years, is “credit positive for Highmark because it is a significant breakthrough in an impasse between Highmark [and] UPMC.” While the stalemate was harmful to Highmark’‍s credit, Moody’‍s now believes the consent agreement “may convince a number of employers in the region to retain health insurance for their employees with Highmark for at least another year.”

SunEdison closes buy of Silver Ridge Stake

St. Peters, Mo.-based solar company SunEdison Inc., closed its purchase of AES Corp.’s stake in the Silver Ridge Power LLC venture for $178.6 million in cash. Riverstone Holdings LLC is retaining the remaining 50 percent stake. Silver Ridge is a joint venture formed by Riverstone and Arlington, Va.-based AES, which said in June that it expected to receive $165 million for its stake. SunEdison has climbed 74 percent this year, the most in the Bloomberg Industries Global Large Solar Energy Index. The stock slid 1 percent to close at $22.66.

Demand reduces summer shutdown for Detroit Three

Brisk sales of pickups and SUVs are causing the Detroit Three to eliminate or shorten their traditional two-week summer shutdown at many U.S. plants. This year, Chrysler workers will be on the job the next two weeks at four assembly plants, while Ford will idle at least four plants for only one week. General Motors will keep about one-third of its plants running. Historically, automakers halt production for the first two weeks in July to prepare for model year changeovers.

SunTrust to pay $320M to end mortgage probe

Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks Inc., has agreed to pay as much as $320 million to resolve federal criminal allegations it mishandled applicants for mortgage modifications.

The agreement, which lets the bank avoid prosecution, includes at least $179 million in “consumer remediation,” a sum that could rise to a maximum of $274 million, to resolve claims related to its administration of the federal Home Affordable Modification Program.

Son of mob boss convicted in company sacking

Nicodemo S. Scarfo, the son of a former Philadelphia mob boss, was convicted Thursday of federal fraud charges for taking over Irving, Texas-based mortgage company FirstPlus Financial Group and then plundering $12 million of its assets to buy homes, luxury cars and even a yacht.

A second lead defendant, Salvatore Pelullo, who prosecutors said ran the business takeover, was convicted of racketeering conspiracy, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and related counts.

Subaru recalls vehicles on brake concerns

Subaru is recalling more than 660,000 cars and SUVs because the brake lines can rust and leak fluid, and that can mean it will take longer to stop the vehicles. Affected are 2005 through 2009 Legacy and Outback, the 2008 through 2014 Impreza and the 2009 through 2013 Forester.

It covers vehicles sold or registered in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. Dealers will inspect the lines and replace them if leaks are found. They’ll also apply anti-corrosion wax.

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