Business news briefs for 07/30/10

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Obama: U.S. will recoup money from auto bailout

President Barack Obama said Thursday that the government would recover all the taxpayer money used to bail out the auto industry last year. In an interview on the ABC daytime talk show "The View." The president said the auto industry "tells a good story" of his administration's efforts to rescue the economy. He plans to highlight that story with stops at three auto plants over the next several days, including two stops in Michigan today. The White House released a report Thursday that says the failure to rescue GM and Chrysler would have led to the loss of nearly 1.1 million jobs. The auto industry has added 55,000 jobs in the year since the automotive bankruptcies.

State working to extend adultBasic funding deal

The state Insurance Department is working on a deal with the state's Blue Cross Blue Shield insurers to extend funding for the state's adultBasic health insurance program, which provides coverage for the working poor. The Blues insurers are one of the main sources of funding for adultBasic, but the funding agreement is set to expire at the end of 2010. The deal now being discussed would extend funding through June 2011, which would allow the new governor and Legislature additional time to tackle the problem. Without continued Blues' funding, critics say, tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians would be without health insurance.

PUC fines Columbia over Fayette incident

The state Public Utility Commission has levied a $10,000 fine against Columbia Gas of Pennsylvania for violations of state and federal regulations. The fine arises from an incident on Aug. 24, 2007, in German Township, Fayette County, in which an excavation contractor struck a service line owned by Columbia Gas. The agency charged that Columbia did not provide maps or temporary markings of buried pipelines prior to excavation activity.

Citigroup pays $75 million to settle subprime charges

Citigroup Inc. is paying $75 million to settle civil charges that it misled investors about its potential losses from subprime mortgages as the housing bust hit in 2007. The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the settlement with Citigroup on Thursday. It said the company made misleading statements in calls with analysts and regulatory filings about the extent of its holdings tied to high-risk mortgages.

Amazon plans to unveil smaller version of Kindle

Amazon.com hopes to entice consumers with a new smaller, lighter version of its Kindle e-reader, which can wirelessly download e-books over 3G cellular networks, and a cheaper Wi-Fi-only version. Amazon says it will start shipping the latest Kindle to customers on Aug. 27. It is 21 percent smaller than the current Kindle, though it continues to sport a 6-inch, grayscale screen. The new Kindle weighs 8.7 ounces -- 15 percent less than the existing Kindle -- and can store 3,500 books.

DCK Worldwide acquires Iowa contracting company

Pittsburgh-based construction firm DCK Worldwide, formerly Dick Corp., said Thursday that it acquired Oakview Construction Inc., a contracting company based in Red Oak, Iowa. Oakview has about 85 employees and is licensed in the 48 contiguous states. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The newly acquired firm will be called Oakview DCK.

Also in business ...

Mylan Inc. said Thursday it intended to privately place $300 million in aggregate principal amount of senior notes through a reopening of its senior notes due 2020, subject to market and other conditions. The company said it planned to use the proceeds of the offering to finance a portion of the $550 million previously announced acquisition of Bioniche Pharma Holdings Ltd. ... C. Neal Ellis Jr., has been named director of the West Penn Allegheny Health System division of colorectal surgery. Dr. Ellis most recently served as director of surgical research and professor of surgery at the University of South Alabama Medical College in Mobile, Ala.



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