Business Briefs: Terrible Towel changes hands

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Terrible Towel changes hands

Little Earth Productions of the South Side is taking over production and distribution of the Terrible Towel. The towel -- an iconic yellow hand towel used to show support of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- was previously manufactured by a company in Wisconsin. All proceeds from sales of the towel will continue to benefit the Allegheny Valley School, based in Coraopolis, which provides services for disabled individuals. Towel creator Myron Cope gave AVS trademark rights to the towel in 1996.

Wesco will appeal verdict

Wesco International Inc. reported that a jury in Indiana last week returned a verdict in favor of ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor -- a customer of the Station Square-based provider of electrical, industrial and communications products -- that alleged it was sold defective products in 2004 by a Wesco subsidiary. The jury awarded damages of about $36 million. In a regulatory filing, Wesco said it plans to record the impact of the judgment in financial statements for the period ended Dec. 31, 2012, although it intends to appeal the verdict.

LifeSolutions to buy EAP

LifeSolutions, a nonprofit UPMC organization specializing in employee assistance programs, is purchasing the assets of Northwest Beacon EAP, including the customer contracts, UPMC officials announced Tuesday. Under the agreement, Northwest Beacon's employees will join LifeSolutions and continue to serve their current clients, who will now have 24-hour telephone support and other benefits. Terms of the deal were not released.

Low prices lead to Exco layoffs

Dallas-based Exco Resources says low natural gas prices are the cause of staff reductions at its local offices in Marshall. Of its 120 employees, 70 of those positions will be eliminated -- half of those will be layoffs, and the other half will be offered positions at Exco's Texas headquarters. The staff reductions, announced internally at the beginning of February, will take effect in April.

Directors to honor Boyce

Doreen Boyce today will receive a lifetime achievement award from the Three Rivers Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. The group is honoring Ms. Boyce for holding a wide range of board positions, for her leadership in advocating for women, and for helping to launch the local chapter of the NACD, the Executive Women's Council and the International Women's Forum. Her career included serving as provost and a professor of economics at Chatham University and as president of the Buhl Foundation. Ms. Boyce will receive the award at a luncheon at the Duquesne Club.

Wabtec beats Q4 expectations

Wilmerding-based Wabtec Corp. reported fourth quarter net income of $64.8 million, or $1.35 per share, compared to $46 million, or 96 cents per share, for the same quarter last year. The company beat analysts expectations of $1.31 per share. Net income for the year ended 2012 was $252 million, or $5.24 a share, compared to net income of $170 million, or $3.54 a share, for the year ended 2011. Sales for the fourth quarter were $610 million compared to fourth quarter 2011 sales of $535 million. Sales for 2012 were $2.4 billion compared to 2011 sales of $2 billion.

Also in business ...

Calgon Carbon has been awarded a two-year contract to provide activated carbon that will be used to remove mercury from the fluegas of the coal-fired power plants of a Midwestern utility. The Robinson environmental services firm said the contract is valued at $16 million to $22 million and did not identify its customer. ... The architect of an operation that allegedly made illegal robocalls was banned from telemarketing under a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission. The settlement with Roy M. Cox Jr. included a $1.1 million civil penalty that will be suspended because of an inability to pay. ... The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday dipped to 46 from 47 in January. It was the first monthly decline since April. ... Kansas plane maker Beechcraft Corp., formerly Hawker Beechcraft, has emerged from bankruptcy protection.

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