Business Briefs: $5.2M in refunds headed to Pa. insurance buyers

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$5.2M in refunds headed to Pa. insurance buyers

Pennsylvania health insurance customers will be getting refunds totaling $5.2 million this year from carriers that violated the federal government’s prohibition on excessive profits. In Pennsylvania, Golden Rule Insurance Co., Time Insurance Co. and Aetna will be issuing the largest refunds.

Highmark, Geisinger agree on extension

Highmark Inc. and Geisinger Health System in Danville, Montour County, have agreed to a five-year extension that gives midstate Highmark members in-network access to Geisinger physicians and facilities.

Citizens Bank expands lending program

Citizens Bank is expanding its health care lending program to Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey, according to an announcement from the bank. Citizens, Pittsburgh’‍s No. 2 bank, says the banking group is tailored to meet the borrowing and financial needs of medical, dental and vision practices.

Amazon to open a sorting center

Amazon plans to move into the former Roomful Express building in Crafton and use the 550,000 building for sorting packages that will be loaded onto trucks there. Nina Lindsey, a company spokeswoman, said the new facility will create 100 jobs.

Local earnings

• First Commonwealth Financial on Wednesday reported that second-quarter profits nearly doubled from a year earlier — to $11.9 million from $5.8 million — as noninterest income rose and the Indiana, Pa.-based bank set aside less money to cover bad loans. On a per-share basis, the bank earned 13 cents vs. 6 cents in the same three months last year. Net interest income — essentially profit on loans — slipped to $46.2 million from $46.7 million. Noninterest income rose 14 percent to $17 million from $14.9 million, primarily due to a $2 million gain on the sale of property. The provision for loan losses fell to $3.3 million from $10.8 million.

• WesBanco Inc. reported an 11 percent increase in profits for the second quarter on higher revenue and a lower provision for bad loans. The Wheeling, W.Va.-based bank earned $18.9 million, or 64 cents per share, up from $17 million, or 58 cents, a year earlier.

Net interest income rose 5 percent to $48.3 million, while non-interest income rose 3 percent to $18.2 million. The provision for loan losses was $849,000, down from $1.02 million.

• GlaxoSmithKline, the United Kingdom’s largest drug maker, saw second-quarter sales drop to $9.34 billion from $10.19 billion for the same period in 2013, the company reported Wednesday, and officials said they expect no growth in sales the rest of this year.

Hardest hit were respiratory drug sales, which declined 18 percent.

Last month, Pennsylvania and 44 other states reached a $105 million settlement with Glaxo regarding allegations that it had misrepresented the asthma drug Advair in its marketing as well as two antidepressants. Glaxo employs about 450 in the Pittsburgh region.

• Pittsburgh-based information technology staffing company Mastech Holdings reported second-quarter profit of $893,000, or 21 cents per share, up from $789,000, or 18 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2013. Revenues inched up slightly to $27.6 million compared to $26.1 million last year during the same period.

In a news release, CEO Kevin Horner called performance during the quarter “disappointing” and said the company will “aggressively ramp-up our offshore recruiter hiring.”

GM recalls Chevrolets, Cadillacs, GMCs

General Motors Co., which has already recalled almost 29 million vehicles in North America for various fixes this year, recalled almost 718,000 more Wednesday. The recalls include Chevrolet Camaro for model years 2011-12, the Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain for 2010-12, and Cadillac SRX models for 2010-12. The bolt for seat-height adjustments may become loose or fall out, the company said. The automaker is also recalling more than 124,000 autos, including Cadillac CTS vehicles from 2014, because certain vehicles may have an incomplete weld on the seat hook bracket assembly.

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