Business news briefs: Utility hardship fund now open

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Hardship fund now open

The Dollar Energy Fund, a hardship fund financed by utility customers' donations and matched by participating utilities, has opened its 2013-14 application process. People who need help with electricity, gas or water bills should contact their utility, which can assess their eligibility and refer them to a community organization for help with the application process. In order to qualify, customers served by Duquesne Light, Equitable Gas, Peoples Natural Gas and Pennsylvania American Water must earn no more than $47,100 for a family of four, or 200 percent of the federal poverty line. FirstEnergy Corp. customers may earn up to 250 percent of poverty guidelines.

RTI buys steel parts maker

Moon-based RTI International Metals said it paid $15 million cash for the Osborn Steel Extrusions business of Osborne Metals Ltd. The Bradford, England-based business makes titanium and stainless steel parts used in the aerospace, energy, defense and other markets. It has annual revenue of $20 million.

Ford, Chrysler post gains

Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group overcame a quirk in the industry sales calendar to post surprise U.S. gains for September while others, including General Motors Co. and Toyota Motor Corp., slumped. Chrysler deliveries climbed 0.7 percent to 143,017. Ford said sales rose 5.7 percent to 184,452. In total, industry sales slipped 4.2 percent in September, the first drop in 27 months, according to Autodata Corp. Deliveries for the first two days of September, including the Labor Day holiday, were counted in August figures. GM sales tumbled 11 percent, Toyota's dropped 4.3 percent, Nissan's slid 5.5 percent, and Honda's fell 9.9 percent. Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp.'s combined deliveries dropped 14 percent. Volkswagen's combined sales for its VW and Audi brands slipped 7.5 percent.

Manufacturing index rises

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday that its manufacturing index rose in September to 56.2, the highest since April 2011. Manufacturers added jobs last month at the fastest pace in more than a year and ramped up production, the survey showed.

Indigo buys Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines is being sold to William Franke, the former chairman of Spirit Airlines. His Indigo Partners LLC is buying Frontier from Republic Airways for $36 million plus assumed debt. The companies said they expect the sale to close in December.

Brake faults spur BMW recall

BMW is recalling 176,000 vehicles from the model years 2012 to 2014 over a problem with the power brake system. The brakes will still work, but the driver would have to press harder on the pedal. Affected BMW models have four-cylinder, 2-liter gasoline engines and include 125i compacts; 320i and 328i sedans; 520i and 528i sedans; X1 28i, 20i and 16i SUVs; X3 20i and 28i SUVs; and Z4 28i, 20i and 18i sports cars.

There's something jellyfishy ...

The Jellyfish Syndrome is over. On Tuesday, the pipes at the Oskarshamn nuclear plant in southeastern Sweden had been cleared of the jellyfish that had forced a reactor shutdown. Tons of jellyfish had clogged the pipes that bring in cool water to the plant's turbines.

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