Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: October, 2012

POSTED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 11:34 AM

As my colleague David Sell notes in today's Inquirer, Shire Pharmaceuticals is planning a 600,000 sq ft headquarters complex in national landlord Trammel Crow Corp.'s new Atwater office development next to Liberty Property Trust's Great Valley Corporate Center in East Whiteland Township, Chester County, and will leave Pitcairn Corp.'s Chesterbrook Corporate Center.

Similarly, Endo Pharmaceuticals is leaving its Chadd Ford offices, also for Atwater, which among its other advantages is close to a new EasyPass-only exit from the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The move puts pressure on Tredyffrin to update its planning to make its aging and increasingly vacant US 202 Corridor office centers competitive for redevelopers. (Vanguard Group is also consolidating some of its Tredyffrin offices into East Whiteland.)

POSTED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 10:33 AM

"A complex financial strategy that was supposed to save Philadelphia money on bonds it sold investors in the mid-2000s could end up costing the city up to $186 million, compared with what issuing simple fixed-rate bonds would have cost, city treasurer Nancy Winkler told City Council members at a hearing Tuesday organized by Jim Kenney (D., at-large).

"The city arranged interest-rate swaps with Wall Street banks in exchange for up-front cash and to protect taxpayers from the risk of rising interest rates."

But "instead, the city found itself owing millions to the banks and its clients when interest rates fell, bond insurers failed, and financial markets froze in the crisis of 2008. Some swaps contracts lacked cancellation clauses, boosting the city's costs.

POSTED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 4:16 PM

Shares of SAP AG, the German business-software company that employs 2,500 at its US headquarters in Newtown Square, rose 2 percent to top $71 today after reporting higher-than-expected $618 million in third-quarter after-tax profits on sales of $4 billion, including record software sales of $1.3 billion.

But the company has slowed its hiring plans as it prepares to absorb cloud-computing specialist Ariba Inc. and boost its Hana database program, chief financial officer Werner Brandt told investors in a morning conference call. Brandt said the company added 350 mostly sales and marketing people in the third quarter and said it had no plans to scale up hiring into next year. 

SAP hired 4,500 over the past year, plus adding 2,300 through corporate acquisitions. But Brandt said the company added only 350, mostly sales and marketing people, in the three months ended Sept. 30, and said it had no plans to scale up hiring into next year. SAP employs around 61,000 worldwide. 
SAP hired 4,500 over the past year, plus adding 2,300 through corporate acquisitions. But Brandt said the company added only 350, mostly sales and marketing people, in the three months ended Sept. 30, and said it had no plans to scale up hiring into next year. SAP employs around 61,000 worldwide. 

POSTED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 4:00 PM

Ace Ltd., the big insurer nominally based in Switzerland but largely run through the former Insurance Co. of North America in Philadelphia and executive offices in New York, now says it expects crop-insurance losses from the drought of 2012 will cost the company $195 million, after tax, less than its previous estimate of up to $268 million, after late rains helped salvage Midwestern grain crops.

Ace shares slipped less than 1 percent, to below $80, today despite higher-than-expected profits thanks to rising insurance prices in the U.S. market.

Will this year's drought lead to higher crop insurance charges and fears global warming has made U.S. farming a lot more risky? Not according to Ace boss Evan Grenberg: He told investors the reinsurers who help finance crop loss payouts "have made good money in tha tbusines in the U.S." by pricing losses over 10-year periods. Failed 2012 crops will be "rolled forward" and won't spike prices unless the drought keeps repeating.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 1:06 PM

H2L2, the Philadelphia architectual firm with a legacy of building big bridges and a recent roster of university clients, is becoming part of Nelson, a Philadelphia-based firm best known for helping Bank of America and other multinationals consolidate their office space.

The deal is the latest in a string of 17 Nelson mergers since second-generation boss John "Ozzie" Nelson Jr. took over 10 years ago. With H2L2, a firm that traces its roots to Philadelphia architect Paul Phillipe Cret in 1907, combining its Philadelphia and New York offices with Nelson, the company will boast 32 locations and 400 professionals worldwide.

H2L2 will bring Nelson to foreign university clients so "we will be able to evolve and raise our practice by several levels," H2L2 senior principal Barry Eiswerth said in a statement.

POSTED: Tuesday, October 23, 2012, 9:14 AM

DuPont Co. third-quarter sales fell 9% to around $7.4 billion from last year, dropping the chemical giant's earnings to almost break-even, and boss Ellen Kullman announced $450 million in plant, office and job cuts, reducing headcount by about 1,500, with a number of the cuts reducing staff at the company's Wilmington, Del. headquarters.

UPDATE: Separately, Dow Chemical says it's laying off 2,400 and closing plants in Michigan, Ohio, Europe and Japan. More here and here.

The cuts at Dow and DuPont, in response to weak demand in Europe and elsewhere, tumbled the Dow-Jones Industrials stock benchmark and reminds us that the U.S. manufacturing revival isn't producing large numbers of new jobs, noted James M. Meyer in a report to clients of Boenning & Scattergood, West Conshohohcken.

POSTED: Monday, October 22, 2012, 2:52 PM

ParenteBeard, the Philadelphia-based accounting firm, asked 70 Pennsylvania-based small business owners who they want to win the November presidential election.

Of the 70, some 61 -- that's 86% -- said Romney.

The firm, which employs more than 1,100 and ranks among the 25 largest US accounting firms, also asked who they expect will win. This time 42 -- a majority -- said they thought Obama would be re-elected, John Nealon, head of the firm's small-business accounting practice, told me.

POSTED: Monday, October 22, 2012, 1:42 PM

Top contributors to Mitt Romney's Republican campaign for the third quarter of 2012 was "the Rothman Institute, a Philadelphia-based orthopedic" chain of clinics started by surgeon Richard H. Rothman reports the Washington Post here.

Some "65 doctors at the chain, which comprises more than 15 offices, donated to Romney on Sept. 17, including 20 who each gave $25,000, according to the report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

"The money went to Romney Victory, a joint effort of Romney’s campaign and the Republican Party, which will spend on his behalf." A Rothman official didn't return the Post's calls.

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 or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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