Business news briefs: Bayer considering cuts

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Bayer considering cuts

Bayer AG is exploring cost reductions in its material sciences business unit as it waits for demand to pick up for its plastics and chemicals products, its chief executive said. At a dinner Monday with reporters at Bayer's global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, Marijn Dekkers said the company is discussing "small adjustments" with labor representatives but declined to disclose specifics or whether the cuts would include job losses. Bayer's North American material sciences business is based in Robinson.

Bank parents redeems stock

Emclaire Financial said it has redeemed $5 million in preferred stock issued to the U.S. Treasury in 2011 in connection with the Venango County's bank's participation in a federal program for providing loans to small business. The shares paid a 5 percent annual dividend, and selling them will reduce dividend costs by about $250,000, the bank said. Another $5 million of the preferred shares remain outstanding. Emclaire is the parent of Farmers National Bank of Emlenton.

UPMC debt rating affirmed

Fitch Ratings has affirmed a 'AA-' rating on certain UPMC outstanding debt, while revising its outlook from stable to negative. In lowering the outlook, the ratings firm cited the uncertainty in the changing managed care market in Pittsburgh along with the decline in operating performance by the Pittsburgh health system.

AGH, Robert Morris strike deal

Allegheny General Hospital's sports medicine division has a five-year deal to be the exclusive health care provider for Robert Morris University's athletic teams. It will provide access to orthopedic and sports medicine physicians, two physician-led clinics weekly, on-site physicals, a licensed trainer and a physician who will be present at home games for football, hockey, basketball and lacrosse. Terms were not released.

Apex acquires consulting firm

Management and Technical Resources, a Pittsburgh environmental consulting firm, has been acquired by Apex Companies of Rockville, Md. Terms were not disclosed. Apex is a water resources and environmental services consulting and engineering firm that employs more than 500 at more than 40 U.S. offices.

Best companies for parents

Bayer Corp. and PNC Financial Services Group were among 100 companies named to Working Mother magazine's 2013 list of best companies that support working parents with policies such as flextime, mentorship programs and paid family leave. PNC is based Downtown, and Bayer's North American material science business is based in Robinson.

Price index, inflation crawl

The U.S. consumer price index increased just 0.1 percent in August, the Labor Department said Tuesday, after a 0.2 percent increase in July. Excluding volatile food and energy costs, core inflation also rose just 0.1 percent. In the past 12 months, prices have risen 1.5 percent. That's down from the 2 percent year-over-year gain in July and below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent inflation target.

Homebuilder certainty holds

Homebuilders' confidence in the housing market held this month at its highest level in nearly eight years. But builders are starting to worry that sales may slow if mortgage rates continue to rise. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Tuesday registered at 58. Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

Also in business...

Moon-based RTI International Metals said it has signed long-term titanium supply contracts with three business units of United Technologies. Terms were not disclosed. ... Retail sales are projected to advance 2.4 percent this holiday season, the smallest increase since 2009, ShopperTrak, a Chicago-based researcher, said Tuesday.



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