Business news briefs: WPAHS admits default

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WPAHS admits default

West Penn Allegheny Health System is juggling some long-term debt, reclassifying it as short-term debt, according to a financial update issued Thursday by the region's No. 2 health system. The accounting maneuver is an admission of default, precipitated because WPAHS "did not meet [specific] covenants" of its borrowing agreements. Bondholders won't call for the immediate repayment of the debt because of waivers included in the January debt-reduction agreement with Highmark Inc., which is seeking to buy the health system. That tender agreement with bondholders, in which Highmark agreed to pay 87.5 cents on the dollar, expires April 30.

Partnership on oncology

Butler Health System and UPMC CancerCenter are partnering to provide radiation oncology services to patients in the Butler region through the joint acquisition of Butler Radiation Oncology Associates, the two health organizations announced Thursday.

On Wednesday, Heritage Valley Pediatrics, part of the Heritage Valley Health System, announced that it has opened a new location in Calcutta, Ohio.

Anemic economic growth

The U.S. economy grew at an anemic annual rate of 0.4 percent in the October-December quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday. Analysts believe the economy is growing at a rate of around 2.5 percent in the current January-March quarter.

New VP at PPG Industries

Chemical and coatings company PPG Industries has hired Frank S. Sklarsky, who had been chief financial officer at Tyco International, to be executive vice president, finance, effective April 15, with plans to promote him to CFO in August. At that point, David B. Navikas, currently PPG senior vice president, finance and chief financial officer, will be "senior vice president in a senior leadership role that will be announced later," the Downtown company said.

Pinnacle Foods up 11% in IPO

Shares of Pinnacle Foods, the maker of Birds Eye frozen foods, Duncan Hines frosting and cake mixes and Vlasic pickles, rose in their first day of trading as a public company. Shares were up 11 percent to $22.21 Thursday after being priced at $20 per share, the high end of their expected range of $18 to $20 per share. The Parsippany, N.J., company. raised $580 million in an initial public offering of 29 million shares.

Boeing optimistic on 787

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney told a U.S. Chamber of Commerce aviation summit Thursday that his company is "very close" to getting its 787 Dreamliner jet back flying again after two incidents involving batteries on 787s led the Federal Aviation Administration and regulators in other countries to ground the planes in January.

Panasonic still likes TVs

Panasonic president Kazuhiro Tsuga said Thursday the company will persist in trying to fix its money-losing TV business, characterizing an exit from the industry as a "final resort." Panasonic also said Fumio Ohtsubo will step down as chairman in June ahead of schedule to take responsibility for the dismal financial results.

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