Business Briefs: Highmark, St. Clair Hospital sign reimbursement accord

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Highmark, St. Clair Hospital sign reimbursement accord

Highmark Inc.'s insurance division has agreed to a multi-year reimbursement contract with St. Clair Hospital, ensuring that Highmark customers will have access to the Mt. Lebanon health center, as well as access to St. Clair's new Peters Township Outpatient Center, which opened in June. Access to the center had been a point of dispute -- Highmark had said it would not credential the center unless the hospital agreed to a contract extension with the insurer.

Dell's founder ups his offer just before shareholder vote

A group led by Dell's founder raised its offer for the struggling computer maker Wednesday in hopes of attracting more shareholder support for its plan to take the company private. The 10-cent per share increase came just hours before Dell's shareholders were scheduled to vote on the previous $13.65 per share offer from company founder Michael Dell and investment firm Silver Lake Partners. The Round Rock, Texas, company delayed its shareholder meeting for the second time in two weeks, moving it to Aug. 2 to give the special committee of its board time to consider the offer.

Earnings

• MSA reported second quarter profits that were below year-ago levels, when asset sales increased the Cranberry safety product maker's bottom line. Net income totaled $24 million, or 64 cents per share, vs. earnings of $28 million, or 75 cents per share, in the year ago quarter. Sales rose 2 percent to $299.7 million. The results reflect $2.4 million in restructuring charges, $2 million in foreign currency charges, and the absence of sales from MSA's North American ballistic helmet business, which was sold in the second quarter last year. Divestitures in the year-ago quarter boosted net income for that period by $5 million.

• GlaxoSmithKline -- just two days after acknowledging the possible role of some of its executives in a bribery scandal in China -- on Wednesday reported second quarter sales of $10.19 billion, a 2 percent increase over last year, but saw a 16 percent drop in net income to $1.67 billion compared with the same period last year. GSK officials say they expect to take a financial hit in China because of the ongoing investigation into whether executives bribed physicians and hospitals to prescribe Glaxo medications. The British drugmaker has operations in Coraopolis and employs about 450 people locally.

• Thermo Fisher Scientific on Wednesday reported second quarter net income of $277.4 million, up from $233.8 million for the same period in 2012, while revenue jumped from $3.11 billion to $3.24 billion. During the quarter, Thermo's earnings per share hit 76 cents, compared with 63 cents per share last year. The Waltham, Mass.-based scientific instrument maker has about 1,600 employees in the Pittsburgh area.

• First Commonwealth Financial saw profit tumble in the second quarter, hurt by a decline in revenue and a higher provision for loan losses. The Indiana, Pa.-based bank Wednesday reported profit of $5.8 million, or 6 cents per share, down from $12.3 million, or 12 cents, in the same three months in 2012. Net interest income fell 3 percent while noninterest income slid 7 percent. The bank set aside $10.8 million to cover bad loans, up from $4.3 million in the second quarter of 2012. The higher provision was primarily related to a charge off of a soured loan to an unnamed real estate developer, the bank said.

• TriState Capital Holdings, the parent company of TriState Capital Bank that went public in May, said net income rose 30 percent in the second quarter to $3.9 million, up from $3 million a year earlier. Per-share profits were 15 cents vs. 15 cents in the year-ago quarter when the company had fewer shares outstanding prior to the initial public offering. The Pittsburgh-based bank serves middle market businesses and high net worth individuals.

Homes sold quickly in June

Americans snapped up new homes in June at the fastest pace in five years. Sales of newly built homes rose 8.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 497,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That's the highest since May 2008 and up from an annual rate of 459,000 in May, which was revised lower. Sales are below the 700,000 pace consistent with healthy markets.

Hanes makes purchase

HanesBrands is buying underwear maker Maidenform Brands Inc. for approximately $547.6 million. HanesBrands will pay $23.50 per share, a 23 percent premium to Maidenform's $19.09 Tuesday closing price. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter. Also in business ...

Genco said Laurie Barkman joined the company as chief operating officer of Genco Marketplace which liquidates retail returns and surplus inventories.

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