Business Briefs: Neville Island steel plate processor is sold to Canadian firm

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Neville Island processor is sold to Canadian firm

Frontier Steel, a 13-year-old Neville Island steel plate processor with 71 employees, has been sold to Samuel, Son & Co. of Mississauga, Ontario. Terms were not disclosed. Frontier founder and president John Matig will continue managing the unit. Samuel is North America's fourth largest metals processor and distributor, employing more than 5,000 at 103 plants in North America, the United Kingdom, Australia and China.

II-VI acquires Calif.-based optical systems maker

II-VI Inc. of Saxonburg said it paid $31 million to acquire LightWorks Optics, a Tustin, Calif., maker of precision optical systems and components for the defense, aerospace, industrial and life sciences markets. LightWorks, a privately held company, had revenue of $22 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30. II-VI president and CEO Francis J. Kramer said he does not expect the acquisition to have a material impact on the company's revenue or earnings per share forecasts for the fiscal year ending June 30.

PPG subsidiary ex-manager sentenced to year in prison

A former manager for a subsidiary of PPG Industries Inc. in China was sentenced to a year in prison Thursday for conspiring to illegally export high-performance coatings to a nuclear reactor in Pakistan, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. Xun Wang, former managing director of PPG Paints Trading Co. in Shanghai, also was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine and perform 500 hours of community service. She was indicted in federal court in Washington, D.C., in 2011. PPG pleaded guilty in December 2010 to four charges under export control laws and agreed to pay $3.75 million in fines to settle the charges.

IRS clears PPG spinoff

PPG Industries said the IRS has given a favorable ruling on the tax treatment of the proposed spinoff of its commodity chemicals business, clearing the way for the transaction to be completed late next month. The Pittsburgh company said in July it would split the chemicals unit into a separate business that would then be merged with Georgia Gulf, an Atlanta-based chemical producer. PPG shareholders will own 50.5 percent of the combined company and Georgia Gulf shareholders will own 49.5 percent.

Consumer confidence sinks

Confidence among U.S. consumers has sunk to its lowest point since July, according to a monthly index. The University of Michigan says its consumer sentiment index for December fell to 72.9, a sharp drop from the November reading of 82.7. The November figure was a five-year high. Peter Newland, an economist at Barclays, says consumer confidence has dropped because of uncertainty over whether Congress and the Obama administration will reach a budget deal to avert sharp tax increases and government spending cuts set for January.

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