Sunday, April 19, 2015

POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 12:27 PM

RES Software is looking for new office space around Philadelphia, after the 250-person company hired 15-year Citrix Systems Inc. executive Al Monserrat as its new CEO. The Dutch-owned firm, which offers corporate clients VMware and Citrix platforms to build service and app delivery, employs 30 at its North American headquarters in Radnor, and is looking to expand here.

But Monserrat doesn't plan to move North from his Florida home, he told me. He shouldn't have to: "I'll live out of a virtual office, demonstrating the poewr of the product." At the same time, "we'll need a West Coast presence as well, to grow," he added. 

Monserrat joined Citrix when it bought his IT consultancy in 2000. Citrix was a $350 million (yearly sales) company looking to diversify. He was put in charge of professional services, then North American sales, which he says he doubled in five years, to $500MM by 2008. He next headed worldwide sales and services, which have tripled to $3 billion, though growth has slowed in recent years -- as with most of IT, Monserrat says.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 12:27 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 11:22 AM

Point.io, a University City-based firm whose Digital Engagement Platform helps corporate customers build new cloud-based mobile applications compatible with older and desktop systems, has raised $4 million from "prominent companies and individuals" in New York and Philadelphia, bringing total capital raised to date to $4.5 million, chief executive Ron Rock tells me.

Rock and his fellow managers reorganized and renamed the firm after acquiring Andrew Schwabe's CloudPointe in 2013. Previous Form D filings here. Rock says clients include healthcare, telco and financial service companies, served by a mix team of "brilliant kids" and veteran engineers -- about 30 people in all, including sites in Boston and London. 

Point.io will use the money to "increase sales staff and add technical resources." Rock sold his previous firm, Knowledge Rules, a business-process management consultancy, to Accenture in 2010. 

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 11:22 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 10:38 AM

The Big Two aren't equal: A majority (57%) of municipal-bond analysts at investment firms have a "Very Favorable" or "Somewhat Favorable" opinion of Moody's Investors Service, one of the two major credit-rating agencies, according to a new survey.

By contrast, only a minority (43%) have a "Very Favorable" or "Somewhat Favorable" opinion of rival Standard and Poor's, which eased its municipal credit standards in 2013 (and now rates Philadelphia a notch higher than Moody's). 

That's according to a survey of 162 analysts at bond buyers, brokerages, bond insurers and other investment firms by Tom Kozlik, municipal credit analyst at Janney Montgomery Scott in Philadelphia. Fitch Ratings also scored 57% in the combined "Favorable" categories, though more respondents called Moody's "Very Favorable."

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:38 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 10:03 AM
The Wal-Mart company logo is seen outside a Wal-Mart Stores Inc company distribution center in Bentonville, Arkansas June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

(Revised and updated) Retail giant Walmart, whose 150-plus stores and 47,000 workers in Pennsylvania make it the state's largest corporate employer, says an increase in its starting wage, to $9 an hour, will boost average hourly pay at Walmarts in the state to $12.98/hour.

Before the increase, Walmart's average pay in the state was $12.87 an hour for fulltimers, or $11.28 combining  fulltimers and parttimers, the company says (UPDATING previous info from a past news story.) With the increase, 15,226 Walmart workers in Pa. who were paid under $9/hour will get increases starting April 23, for work beginning the week of April 4. Most were already making more than $8.50. Another 1,112 slightly higher-paid workers will also get bumped a little higher, according to Bill Wertz, Walmart spokesman. 

In December, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Walmart to pay $188 million the company had illegally withheld from 188,000 workers in 1998-2005. Walmart had fought that case with court appeals since an initial 2008 jury decision. Read the Pa. Supreme Court decision against Walmart here. 

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:03 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 8:23 AM

Iroko Pharmaceuticals LLC, the drug company headed by Osagie Imasogie and based at the business park at the old Philadelphia Naval Base, says it's been awarded U.S. patents for its two "FDA approved low dose nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs -- Zorvolex (diclofenac) capsules and Tivorbex (indomethacin) capsules," in partnership with iCeutica. (The name Zorvolex is registered, Tivorbex is trademarked.) 

In a statement, Imasogie said Zorvolex is FDA-approved "for the management of mild to moderate acute pain and osteoarthritis pain," and is already sold in U.S. pharmacies. Tivorbex "is approved by FDA for the treatment of mild to moderate acute pain in adults." Side effects of the whole class of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that include Zorvolex and Tivorbex include possible "risk of serious cardovascular thrombotic events," including heart attack and stroke, and "serious gastrointestinal" issues, including ulcers; among others. 

The patents will last at least to 2030, Iroko says. and the two drugs in addition "have three years of regulatory exclusivity from date of product approval through FDA’s regulatory pathway." The patents will be listed in FDA's "Orange Book" of approved drugs. Iroko says it will join iCeutica, developer of "SoluMatrix Fine Partical Technology" licensed exclusively to Iroko, to "continue to prosecute additional patent applications for these and other products in the Iroko portfolio of low dose SoluMatrix" NSAIDs.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 8:23 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 2:48 PM

DuPont Co. has sold two parking lots across Orange St. from its soon-to-be-former headquarters in central Wilmington, Del., and the parking garage for the Hotel du Pont, to the Buccini brothers, Wilmington developers, real estate managers and hoteliers, for $7 million, according to a person familiar with the deal.
UPDATE: CONFIRMED: “DuPont signed an agreement to sell the Hotel du Pont Carpark to the Buccini Pollin Group. The carpark properties include a parking structure and two surface parking lots," DuPont spokesman Daniel Turner tells me in a reply email. "The transaction closed on March 31, 2015. Terms of the agreement are confidential."

I also hear DuPont is weighing sale of the Hotel du Pont itself (no confirmation yet). And that Chemours (kem-OARS), the planned $4 billion DuPont spin-off of the company's titanium dioxide business, is weighing these possible sites for a permanent headquarters, and maybe more (also Unconfirmed, though each would please plenty of local folks):

- New Jersey: A big cash gift from Gov. Christie's tax incentive program could land Chemours at DuPont's sprawling Chambers Works at the Salem County end of the Delaware Memorial twin bridges.
- Philadelphia: City officials and developers would love to place Chemours in a new-style open-plan office building near LIBERTY PROPERTY TRUST'S (CORRECTED) Glaxo building just south of I-95.
- Delco: Banker Rocco Abessinio landed DuPont spinoff Axalta's North American headquarters at his office building in Glen Mills, near the US 1 - US 202 junction. There's room nearby, and it's convenient to both Delaware and Philly.
- Wilmington: Or they could always stay in the former DuPont headquarters, which would spare the expense of relocation, and may make Chemours more attractive to new potential owners.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 2:48 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 1:43 PM
Ed Rendell: "Trade might not be a kitchen-table issue, but it's been helping American families put food on their tables for years."

One of the nation's biggest retail landlords says it's turned the page on last year's financial issues and is ready to grow again.

Five months after its shares lost half its value after reporting it had filed false financial statements, American Realty Capital Partners, a real estate investment trust (REIT) and one of the many real estate and investment firms set up by Jenkintown scrap-metal heir-turned-national property mogul Nicholas Schorsch, still controls impressive assets: nearly 5,000 Lowe's building-supply stores, Red Lobster restaurants, CVS pharmacies, Citizens Bank branches, and others, totalling over 100 million square feet. That's more than double all the office space in Center City Philadelphia.

American Realty, based in Phoenix, still trades at a deep discount: Shares are worth just $9 billion, less than half the $20 billion market value of its properties. But the stock has been on the mend, partly recovering from its December low of $7.70, to around $10 in trading last week, still far below its pre-scandal high of $17.82.  

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 1:43 PM  Permalink | 0 comments
POSTED: Thursday, April 2, 2015, 10:22 AM

Linode, a 12-year-old, Galloway Township-based cloud-hosting company which claims 350,000 customers worldwide for services starting at $10/month and scaling pay-as-you-go, says it will hold an open house at its new Haddonfield office, at the Kings Hall coworking space, 2 Kings Highway West, Haddonfield (NJ 08033), on May 7 and 8 between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Linode hopes to add 30 Philadelphia-area computer professionals this year, bringing total staff to 90. More info at www.linode.com/careers/

The company invested $45 million in new switches and faster server capabilities last year. Linode CEO Christopher S. Aker said in a statement his firm will add Singapore and Frankfurt to its network of six data centers by June. “We are thrilled to be expanding into the Philadelphia area,” Aker added. “We expect our new location to attract job candidates who are passionate about Linux and interested in joining our vibrant team of innovative people.” COO Tom Asaro promised "competitive salaries, excellent benefits, flexible work hours" at a growing tech company.

Joseph N. DiStefano @ 10:22 AM  Permalink | 0 comments
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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