Business news briefs: Hospital, nurses sign contract

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Hospital, nurses sign contract

Allegheny General Hospital and its registered nurses have agreed to a two-year collective bargaining agreement, which calls for a 2 percent raise the first year and an additional 2.25 percent raise the second year. The pact, which covers AGH's 1,238 nurses, keeps the nurses' current health coverage and extends limits on nurse-patient ratios to the transplantation, oncology and step-down trauma units. The nurses are represented by Service Employees International Union Healthcare.

Real estate companies merge

Howard Hanna Real Estate Services has completed a merger with Morgan-Collins, a real estate company with 50 sales associates and offices in Harrisburg, Camp Hill, Carlisle and Hershey. The acquisition brings the number of Howard Hanna offices to 150 in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, Michigan, New York and West Virginia.

GNC OKs cash dividend

Board members for GNC Holdings, Inc. on Thursday authorized a fourth quarter cash dividend of 15 cents per share of common stock, which will be paid on or about Dec. 27.


• PPG Industries' shares on Thursday soared to a new high of $174.47 after the coatings and glass maker reported record third-quarter sales and adjusted income that beat analysts' estimates. The stock was up $8.25, or nearly 5 percent.

PPG said an improving economy boosted demand for its paints and other products. Sales jumped by 17 percent to $4 billion. Net income fell by 33 percent to $226 million, or $1.56 per share, and included costs related to environmental remediation at a former PPG plant in Jersey City, N.J., restructuring charges, and costs related to the April acquisition of the North American operations of Dutch-based paints maker AkzoNobel.

Excluding the one-time charges, adjusted net income from continuing operations was $353 million, or $2.44 per share, beating analysts' estimates of $2.34 per share.

The company has repurchased about $325 million of its shares through the first nine months of the year and said it has increased its target for full-year repurchase to close to $750 million.

• FNB Corp. in Hermitage said net income for the third quarter edged up 3 percent to $31.6 million from $30.7 million a year earlier. Per-share profits were unchanged at 22 cents. On the revenue side, net interest income rose 6 percent to $101 million, up from $95.4 million while non-interest income fell 6 percent to $32.9 million.

EU orders Italy to reclaim aid

The European Union's top court on Thursday ordered Italy to comply with a directive by the EU's executive arm to fully reclaim $400 million of state aid payments made to Alcoa. Italy granted Alcoa Inc.'s local affiliate, Alcoa Trasformazioni, preferential electricity prices for two production sites over several years, but the commission in 2009 ruled that was market-distorting state aid.

O'Hare opens new runway

Ten years into its $8 billion airfield overhaul, Chicago's O'Hare International Airport opened a second new runway Thursday that officials say will begin to ease the airport's congestion and eliminate the flight delays. Chronic flight delays at O'Hare, where around half of travelers are just transiting, sent shockwaves around the nation's air system in the late 1990s.

Microsoft releases upgrade

Microsoft released its long-awaited Windows 8.1 upgrade as a free download Thursday. On one hand, it features a touch-enabled tile interface resembling what's found in tablet computers. On the other, there's the old desktop mode where the keyboard and mouse still reign. Computers with Windows 8.1 already installed will go on sale Friday, which is also when people will be able to buy stand-alone copies of Windows 8.1.

LG to sell hi-def tablet

LG says it will start selling a tablet with a high-definition screen starting Nov. 3 in the U.S. for $350, putting the price in line with Apple and Samsung tablets of similar size. The G Pad 8.3 has a screen that measures 8.3 inches diagonally.

Toyota recalls over air bags

Toyota is recalling 803,000 vehicles in the U.S. because their air bags or power steering could stop working. The Camry and Camry hybrid, Avalon and Avalon hybrid and Venza from the 2012 and 2013 model years are affected. Owners will be notified starting next month. Toyota dealers will repair the problem for free.

Chevron suspends gas search

Chevron said Thursday it has suspended searching for shale gas in northeast Romania following protests in the capital and the local area against fracking. The statement came after hundreds of protested Wednesday in a field where Chevron plans to launch its operation, followed by a protest in Bucharest.

Survey calls for transparency

A survey of 100 of the fastest-growing companies in emerging market shows most are failing at public accountability. Transparency International, the Berlin-based watchdog, said Thursday that three quarters of the companies scored less than 5 on a scale where 10 is most transparent. The survey looked at the amount of information companies disclose on holdings, anti-corruption measures and other factors.


First Published October 17, 2013 8:02 PM


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