Sunday, December 21, 2014

Archive: July, 2011

POSTED: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 2:46 PM

PNC Financial Services Group, Pennsylvania's largest bank, reported a "much stronger than expected" second quarter, earning $912 million, up from $832 million a year ago, R. Scott Siefers, bank analyst at Sandler O'Neill + Partners in New York, told clients in a note today after PNC reported earnings here.
 
"PNC is capturing loan growth," Siefers wrote. "This quarter, average commercial loans grew at an 11.6% annual rate," and net lending will be higher this year than last, despite continued write-offs from billions of dollars in distressed loans.  

But Siefers says PNC is still suffering from the effects of low interest rates, pressure from Washington bank bureaucrats to raise capital -- and investors' continued "confusion" over PNC boss Jim Rohr's plan to buy RBC Bank and its money-losing branches in the Southern US.

He worries investors will be reluctant to bid up PNC's share price, despite its high profits, because they're concerned Rohr isn't done financing expensive mergers: "Given PNC's lack of scale in the Southeast following the RBC deal, it will probably be very difficult for this company to escape the fear of further big deals, regardless of management's assertions to the contrary."

POSTED: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 12:46 PM

Steven B. Tanger's North Carolina-based Tanger Factory Outlet Centers Inc. last week bought Atlantic City's Walk shopping outlets development, constructed at a cost of $220 million in 2003-07, from Baltimore-based Cordish Cos., best known locally as the re-developer of Comcast-Spectacor's Spectrum site.

Tanger paid $125.8 million in cash and assumed $73.5 million in debt - not just for the Walk, which claimes 99% occupancy of nearly 500,000 square feet opposite the Boardwalk - but also for the 200,000 sq ft, 93% occupied Ocean City Factory Outlets in Maryland. Tanger already owns the nearby Rehoboth, Del. outlet retail district.

The discount-oriented Walk is a lot busier than its high-end neighbor, Pier Shops, which developer Taubman Centers gave back to Bank of America last year.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 12:12 PM

ANOTHER UPDATE: US says it plans to close four data centers in Philadelphia: two for the Department of Treasury, one each for Homeland Security and Justice. Part of a long list put out by President Obama's technology office, which appears to have taken government departments by surprise, as none of the three departments was initially able to say how many jobs are affected.  More here.

THIS MUCH IS CONFIRMED: The U.S. Treasury plans to close its Treasury Financial Management Service data center in Northeast Philadelphia by the end of the year, Treasury employees confirmed. The center is one of three being consolidated, to two remaining centers in Parkersburg, W. Va., and Kansas City. Treasury expects minimal job loss - just one position. It's part of the larger consolidation of hundreds of US data sites.

The center is located at Treasury's Philadelphia Regional Financial Center, which employs 190. (UPDATED and CORRECTED) It's one of three in the US that prints Social Security checks and other goverment payments. The three big laser printers at 13000 Townsend Rd. in Northeast Philly can produce 180,000 checks an hour. That center will remain open, a Treasury spokesman told me.

POSTED: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 9:51 AM

"Though the population in Philadelphia's jails quadrupled from 1980 to 2008," since then "the inmate count has dropped in a dramatic way," Pew Charitable Trusts' Philadelphia initiative reports here.

"In 2010 alone, the average daily population declined by 11 percent. Population in the system peaked in January 2009 at 9,787; in June 2011, it stood at 8,048, after falling below 7,700 in the spring.

"As a result, the city’s budget for its jails in Fiscal 2012, at $231 million, is $10 million lower than it was three years ago. The declining population has also contributed to a reduction in the amount of overtime paid to police ($6.4 million over two years) and sheriff’s personnel ($1 million in Fiscal 2011)...

POSTED: Wednesday, July 20, 2011, 8:51 AM
Catherine Cook (left) and her brother Geoff Cook walk across from their myYearbook.com offices in New Hope in this photo from 2010. They preferred the Bucks County vibe for their business.

Quepasa Corp., a Miami-based, American Stock Exchange-listed, Latin America-focused social-media holding company run by former JPMorgan Securities manager John Abbott, says it's agreed to pay $82 million in stock and $12 million in cash, pending shareholder approval and financing, for New Hope-based myYearbook.com, a teen-focused social-media Web site whose financial backers include First Round Capital of Conshohocken and a couple of Silicon Valley venture firms.  Statement here. SEC merger filing here.

myYearbook founder Geoff Cook, in this letter to his firm's 100 workers, says he's keeping his job, and so are they: "I view this deal as a stepping stone to building a billion-dollar global brand around social discovery." In a conference with investors, Cook said the prospective partners both focus on helping users "meet new people," in contrast with Facebook's focus on connecting "to people you already know."

Cook's new titles will be chief operating officer and president of consumer Internet. "We continue to hire at a fast pace," he added. New Hope will remain "the lead development, safety and sales location" for the combined company in the U.S.

POSTED: Monday, July 18, 2011, 6:41 AM

We'll be back Monday, August 9.

Til then, scroll through the archive at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/inq-phillydeals/  

Happy Summer -

POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011, 2:08 PM

Who's backing the Republican insistence on cutting Medicare and not raising any taxes to ease the US budget deficit?

Not TD Bank. "The rational outcome" of the current fight between President Obama and House Republican leaders "would be acceptance that a mix of higher taxes and spending cuts is necessary," writes Craig Alexander, chief economist for TD,  the Toronto financial giant that owns what used to be Commerce Bank.

(Obama wants to raise taxes on the rich while also cutting government programs. House Republican leaders want deeper cuts, and no new taxes.)

POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011, 12:34 PM

At Tuesday's Philadelphia City Planning Commission meeting, 1 pm, upstairs at 1515 Arch St., planners will review:

- Center City: The Ron Caplan/PMC Property proposal to put stores and offices in the vacant former AAA office building at 2040 Market Street (Zoning Board case 15581), since Center City is more attractive to new residents than new employers;

- North Philly: Proposals to zone out industry and make it easier to open stores and offices in the Southwest Temple Urban Renewal area, which is actually southEAST of Temple's campus, around 9th and Girard, including Bart Blatstein/Tower Development's proposed 901 Girard Associates shopping center;

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at JoeD@phillynews.com or 215 854 5194.

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