Business Briefs: PPG expands licensing with Chinese firm

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PPG expands licensing with Chinese firm

PPG Industries entered a licensing agreement with Henan Billions Chemicals Joint Stock Co Ltd. of China that gives Henan the right to use PPG technology to manufacture chloride-grade titanium dioxide worldwide. Terms were not disclosed. PPG formerly produced the chemical -- used as a raw material for paints and coatings -- at its plant in Natrium, W.Va. Henan already supplies a different grade of titanium dioxide to PPG.

EU approves Bayer's new intrauterine contraceptive

Bayer AG said the European Union approved its new contraceptive, which the company said is an intrauterine system that can prevent pregnancies for up to three years. Bayer expects to launch the product under the name Jaydess in the second quarter of 2013 in the EU. The German-based firm also has applied to market the product in the U.S.

Siemens furloughs 30-plus in New Kensington, Plum

More than 30 salaried employees at Siemens Industry's large drives product campuses in New Kensington and Plum were furloughed Tuesday, the company announced. Siemens said the layoffs at the New Kensington and Sagamore facilities were required to "ensure continued success and profitability for the business."

Citigroup announces wave of 11,000 layoffs

Citigroup said Wednesday that it will cut 11,000 jobs, or about 4 percent of Citi's workforce of 262,000. The bulk of the cuts, about 6,200, will come from Citi's consumer banking unit. Citi said that it will sell or scale back consumer operations in Pakistan, Paraguay, Romania, Turkey and Uruguay and focus on 150 cities around the world "that have the highest growth potential in consumer banking." Investors appeared to like the move. They sent Citi stock up more than 6 percent to $36.46. Citi said it expects the cuts to save $900 million next year, and more in the following years. They will be a drag, though, in the short term: Citi said it expects to record pre-tax charges of approximately $1 billion in the fourth quarter.

Starbucks expects to add 1,500 locations in 5 years

Another Starbucks may soon pop up around the corner, with the world's biggest coffee company planning to add at least 1,500 cafes in the U.S. over the next five years. The plan, which would boost the number of Starbucks cafes in the country by about 13 percent, was announced at the company's investor day in New York Wednesday.

Superstorm Sandy dampened job numbers

A private survey released Wednesday by payroll processor ADP shows that U.S. businesses added fewer workers in November, mostly because Superstorm Sandy shut down factories, retail stores, and other companies. The report, which said employers added 118,000 jobs last month, only looks at hiring in the private sector and excludes government hiring. The Labor Department will offer a more complete picture of the November job market on Friday.

More orders helped grow service industry in November

U.S. service companies grew at a slightly faster pace in November because sales and new orders rose. The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 54.7 from 54.2 in October. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Amazon aims at kids with Kindle subscription service

Amazon is launching a subscription service for children's games, videos and books aimed at getting more kids to use its Kindle Fire tablet devices. Kindle FreeTime Unlimited will be available in the next few weeks as part of an automatic software update. The service, aimed at kids aged 3 to 8, will cost $4.99 per month for one child. It'll cost $2.99 per child for members of Amazon Prime, the company's premium shipping service.

Also in business...

Calgon Carbon said it won a $12.4 million contract to provide water disinfection equipment to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, California's largest public water provider. ... Mylan Inc. said it received regulatory approval for the generic version of AstraZeneca's Atacand HCT tablets used to treat high blood pressure. ... Factory orders edged up 0.8 percent in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

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