Business news briefs: Liquefied gas program OK'd

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Liquefied gas program OK'd

The Department of Energy has cleared Dominion's liquefied natural gas terminal project at Cove Point, Md. The facility will be allowed to convert natural gas, much of it coming from the Marcellus and Utica shales by pipeline, into a liquid that can be loaded on ships and transported abroad. This is the third export terminal to be approved by the DOE this year, and only the fourth since 2009. The approval allows Dominion to export 0.77 billion cubic feet of gas per day for 20 years.

Downtown hotel in the works

A 247-room Hotel Monaco will open in the nine-story James H. Reed Building on Sixth Avenue, Downtown, in late 2014. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants officially announced plans for the boutique hotel Wednesday. In addition to the 247 rooms, it will feature nearly 9,000 square feet of meeting space and a 120-seat restaurant. The hotel will be the first in the Pittsburgh region for San Francisco-based Kimpton. It is teaming with Philadelphia developer PMC Property Group on the venture. PMC bought the building for $5.5 million last year.

$160M in charges expected

The H.J. Heinz Co. expects to incur about $160 million in charges related to severance benefits and expenses as part of restructuring begun in August that has to date affected 1,200 workers globally -- including 350 in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh food company, acquired earlier this year by 3G Capital and Berkshire Hathaway, said fiscal first-quarter sales of $2.64 billion fell from $2.78 billion during the same period a year ago, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gains in emerging markets abroad were more than offset by declines in developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe.

Respiratory project financing

ALung Technologies Inc. on the South Side has raised $15.8 million in its latest financing round, with Allos Ventures the leading investor. The money will primarily be used to support the ongoing global commercialization of ALung's Hemolung Respiratory Assist Device, which can reduce a patient's need for ventilator support. The company says it has raised $56 million in equity capital to date.

Mo. firm to acquire Malin

Accounting firm Malin Bergquist & Co. will be acquired by BKD, a Springfield, Mo.-based CPA and advisory firm, effective Oct. 1. Malin has 75 employees including 25 in Ross and 50 in Erie. After it acquires Malin, BKD will have about 2,100 employees in 33 offices nationwide and annual revenues of $425 million.

Downtown grocery coming

It's official: A grocery is headed for Market Square. Developer Ralph Falbo officially announced Wednesday that he is teaming with the owners of Vallozzi's restaurants and the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation to open the store in the Thompson Building at 435 Market St. in spring 2014. Mr. Falbo and the Vallozzi's plan to have meetings with Downtown residents to discuss with them what items the grocery should stock. PHLF owns the Thompson Building, which is being renovated.

Money raised for area malls

Cleveland developer Forest City Enterprises Inc. said it had completed a joint venture with QIC, an institutional investment manager in Australia, to invest in eight regional malls, including the Mall at Robinson. The $350 million raised in the deal will be used to pay down debt, as well as reinvested in the malls.

Largest corporate bond deal

Verizon raised $49 billion Wednesday in the largest corporate bond deal ever. The sale dwarfs the previous record, Apple's sale of $17 billion in bonds in April, and proceeds from the sale Wednesday will help Verizon buy the rest of its U.S. wireless business from partner Vodafone for $130 billion.

Stockpiles, sales inch up

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that wholesale stockpiles rose just 0.1 percent in July from June. That followed a 0.3 percent decline in June. Sales rose just 0.1 percent in July, the smallest gain since December. Wholesale inventories are up 29.4 percent from the low point reached in September 2009, a period when businesses had been trimming stockpiles in the face of falling demand during the Great Recession.

Is a 3rd of all food wasted?

The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization says one-third of all food produced in the world gets wasted, amounting to a loss of $750 billion a year. The Rome-based agency said in a report Wednesday that food in developing countries is wasted mostly due to poor harvesting techniques, while in high-income areas the primary cause of waste is careless consumer behavior.

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