Business news briefs for 10/22/10

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First Niagara Financial profits, revenue surge

Buffalo, N.Y.-based First Niagara Financial Group's profits surged to $45.6 million, or 22 cents per share, in the third quarter, up from $10.9 million, or 7 cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose to $210.8 million from $132.1 million, reflecting the benefit of acquisitions. The bank, which acquired 57 former National City branches in Western Pennsylvania from PNC Financial last year, raised its quarterly dividend a penny a share to 15 cents.

PPG posts 65 percent rise in profit in third quarter

PPG Industries said third-quarter net income jumped by 65 percent to $262 million, or $1.58 per share, while sales rose 7 percent to $3.5 billion. The coatings, glass and chemicals maker said it achieved record earnings because of strategic growth in emerging regions, such as Asia, and lower costs following cutbacks it made during the recent recession. The earnings easily beat Wall Street estimates. Analysts expected adjusted earnings per share of $1.46; PPG said adjusted net income was $1.59 per share including an after-tax charge of 1 cent for its ongoing asbestos settlement obligations.

WVS' profit falls on higher loan-loss provision

WVS Financial Corp., parent of West View Savings Bank, said net income declined to $59,000, or 3 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, from $171,000, or 8 cents, a year earlier. Profits were hurt by lower revenue and a higher provision for loan losses.

Dick's Strip site to push NHL Winter Classic goods

Dick's Sporting Goods will be setting up shop, temporarily, in the Strip District Nov. 19. In advance of the National Hockey League's 2011 Winter Classic match to be played Jan. 1 outdoors with the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the Washington Capitals at Heinz Field, the Findlay retailer plans to open a 5,000-square-foot hockey-only store near the Sen. John Heinz History Center. The store will carry Winter Classic, Penguins and Capitals goods, and will close just before the match, said Bill Colombo, board vice chairman.

State funds help start up idled plant, create 50 jobs

Thanks to state investments, an idled aluminum extrusion facility will be put back into productive use and create more than 50 jobs in Greenville, Mercer County. ILSCO Extrusions, closed since April 2009, is reopening the former Signature Aluminum Plant it purchased in June and is in the process of restarting manufacturing operations there. The Penn-Northwest Development Corp. helped the company obtain $1.3 million in startup funding from the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Avandia flap helps push Glaxo to lower profit

London-based GlaxoSmithKline reported Thursday that its third-quarter earnings fell 3.5 percent, which the company attributed to its diabetes drug Avandia being ordered off the market by European regulators last month, as well as increased competition by generic drug manufacturers. Net income fell to $2.03 billion compared with $2.11 billion for the same quarter a year ago.

Heinz praised for halting BPA use in some cans

The H.J. Heinz Co. earned a top grade from an investor organization advocating for the removal of bisphenol A, or BPA, from the lining of canned foods and beverages. In a new report, Green Century Capital Management and As You Sow gave A's to Pittsburgh-based Heinz as well as Hain Celestial and ConAgra for using BPA-free can linings for certain products and committing to eventually removing the chemical entirely. The report gave an F to San Francisco-based Del Monte Foods, which has an office on the North Shore, as well as to Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart for exploring substitutes to BPA but not committing to a phaseout.

Also in business ...

Holly Childs, former executive director of the Green Building Alliance, joined Burns & Scalo companies as business and community development director. ... Wilkins-based voice technology company Vocollect Inc. has named as chief financial officer Steven M. Barto, who had been with BPL Global Ltd., a smart grid technology company. ... Mylan Inc. said it received regulatory approval to market additional strengths of the generic version of Boehringer Ingelheim's Mirapex tablets, a treatment for Parkinson's disease. ... Rates on 30-year fixed mortgages rose slightly from their lowest level in decades, inching up to a national average of 4.21 percent.


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