Business Briefs: PPG Industries to award grants to college students

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PPG Industries to award grants to college students

PPG Industries Foundation said it will award $340,000 this year to undergraduate college students in communities where PPG operates facilities. The scholarships, awarded through the National Merit Scholarship Corp., include grants to children of PPG employees and other students who qualify through National Merit Scholarship testing.

Local earnings

• Kennametal shares dropped 4 percent after the Latrobe tool maker reported sharply lower profits for the fourth quarter and its fiscal year, as higher operating costs and restructuring charges offset rising sales. The results fell short of analyst forecasts. Fourth quarter net income fell 25 percent to $45.5 million, or 57 cents per share, vs. earnings of $60.8 million, or 76 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. For the fiscal year, Kennametal reported net income of $158.4 million, or $1.99 per share, vs. earnings of $203.3 million, or $2.52 per share, in the prior fiscal year. .

• Universal Stainless & Alloy Products said second quarter profits tripled on a 22 percent increase in sales. The Bridgeville specialty metals producer credited increasing demand from the aerospace industry, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of the company’s sales. Net income totaled $1.4 million, or 20 cents per share, on sales of $52.3 million vs. earnings of $478,000, or 6 cents per share, and sales of $42.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Federal court freezes assets of scam group

A federal court has halted and frozen the assets of an operation that bilked nonprofits, small businesses and municipalities out of millions of dollars by deceptively sending them overpriced light bulbs and cleaning supplies that they did not order, according to charges filed by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC alleges that the operation, doing business as Midway Industries and a variety of other names, tricked businesses nationwide into believing they had ordered the goods and paying for them.

Panasonic, Tesla to build battery plant

American electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. is teaming up with Japanese electronics company Panasonic Corp. to build a battery manufacturing plant in the U.S. expected to create 6,500 jobs. The companies announced the deal Thursday, but they did not say where the so-called “gigafactory” will be built. Financial terms weren’t disclosed for the $5 billion plant.

Unemployment benefits applications increase

Weekly applications for unemployment aid rose 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell 3,500 to 297,250. That’s the lowest average since April 2006, more than a year before the Great Recession began at the end of 2007.

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