Thursday, April 24, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2011

POSTED: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 1:51 PM

UPDATE 4/1: Despite buyer M&T's sympathetic comment (below), Wilmington Trust is suing three managers who quit the soon-to-be acquired bank to join Citi's Philadelphia office, says the Wilmington News Journal here.

UPDATE 4/7: Suit settled without costs, says Bloomberg here.

BACK ON 3/30: Citigroup's Citi Private Bank unit has grabbed five Wilmington Trust Co. "ultra high net worth" client managers and moved them from the doomed bank's headquarters to Citi's Center City Philadelphia office, where they'll focus on multimillionaire business owners and their charities in Pennsylvania and Delaware, Citi spokesman Mark Costiglio says.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 11:51 AM

Corrected: Philadelphia city tax collections hit $428 million in February, the most since May 2007, and a 7% increase over last year, city controller Alan Butkovitz says.

Tax collections fell as business slowed, property sales collapsed and workers lost their jobs in the recession. Philadelphia responded by boosting sales taxes and cutting expenses.

(The lowest month in this period was September 2009 when collections fell to $137 million in September 2009, says Butkovitz spokesman Brian Dries; there are seasonal, as well as economic, fluctuations that account for much of the rise and fall.)

POSTED: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 10:36 AM

UPDATE: "Kimberly-Clark's Chester, PA, mill is currently not part of our recently announced tissue restructuring plan, and no decision has been made to close the facility," says Kimberly-Clark spokeswoman Kay Jackson.

"Mill management and union leadership are currently working on a cost improvement plan and will continue to do so for many months... We are constantly looking at ways to improve this mill's effectiveness and competitiveness.

"In the meantime, the mill is currently down for a major site maintenance outage and is in no way related to rumors of a mill closure.  The mill is scheduled to complete its maintenance next week and be back into service with full operational capability."

POSTED: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 8:16 AM

Frazer-based drugmaker Cephalon says it's weighing last night's $73-a-share unsolicited takeover offer from Valeant Pharmaceuticals, based in suburban Toronto. The Cephalon board will meet next week to consider the offer, worth $5.7 billion, Cephalon says in this statement.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 30, 2011, 6:23 PM

Members of the Collins family, owners of Wayne-based wallpaper designer Wallquest Inc., were in Washington Thursday, drinking mojitos and eating arroz con pollo with Export-Import Bank boss Fred Hochberg, to collect honors as an Ex-Im Small Business Exporter of the Year.

Wallquest employs 120 at its Devon Park Drive headquarters (and 30 at smaller factories in New York and New Jersey), nearly double its workforce two years ago. Exports (financed by PNC with $10 million in working capital, half guaranteed by Ex-Im) rose 76% last year to $17 million+, to buyers in China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and more than 40 other countries, Ex-Im says.  PNC bankers Brad Weaver (Abington), Joe Zeccardi (Center City) and Jerry Hanley (Berwyn) came down for the award, too.

"Almost everything we sell is made by us in the United States, except for a few glass cloths and corks" used in a minority of the company's prints, manager Jack Collins told me. The firm uses water-based inks, and prints "for many of the other top brands in our industry." Its Wayne works includes old-fashioned rotogravure, 19th Century surface printers (for "an almost hand-painted appearance"), and modern laser printing.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 1:51 PM

Ten years ago, Gov. Ridge and the PA General Assembly passed a law dividing Pennsylvania's $370 million annual share of funds from the 1998 Tobacco Settlement Act. As Auditor General Jack Wagner reminded the state Senate yesterday, it was supposed to go:

8%  "for an endowment account for the future"
30% "for adultBasic and Medicaid for workers with disabilities"
18% "for health research"
13% "for home and community-based services for the elderly"
12% "for tobacco prevention and cessation programs"
10% "to reimburse hospitals for uncompensated care"
8% "to expand the Pacenet prescription drug program"
1% "for cancer research"

How'd that go? Says Wagner: "The programs were funded as mandated until 2005," when "language inserted into the state budget (began diverting) the funds to other categories." Some $1.34 billion, in all, has gone to other state programs.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 1:02 PM

Fallout continues from the implosion of Devon-based business consultant LECG and its accounting affiliate, formerly Smart & Associates LLP. LECG was a publicly-traded company that grew by expansion in the late 2000s with an infusion of private-equity capital, but couldn't manage its debt as the recession cut into sales.

In February, as bankers closed in, LECG agreed to sell two units to FTI Consulting of Florida, and two more to Grant Thornton LLP. A smaller group joined WeiserMazarsLLP. Others quit to join BDO. More here.  And here.

Most recently: Former Smart personnel boss Andrew Coll has bolted to Nihill & Riedley, the Center City forensic-accounting firm purchased by Smart founder Jim Smart with some of the millions he made in selling his former firm to LECG.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 12:44 PM

(Updated) Enterprise Community Investment Inc., Charlie Werhane's for-profit affiliate of nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners, Columbia, Md., says it's raised a total of $29.4 million million for construction of Ingerman Group's planned 41-unit Meadows at Pyne Poynt development in North Camden.

The money includes $10.5 million in federal taxpayer-subsidized Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a $4 million "equity bridge loan," a $6 million TD Bank construction loan, and around $9 million in loans from the NJ Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency, Camden's Neighborhood Stabilization program, and Respond Inc., which will run a job training center at the site, Enterprise spokesman Jon Searles told me.

Who gets to live at Pyne Poynt? "30 of the units will be rented to people earning up to 50 and 60 % of area median income, and 10 will have project-based rental assistance for homeless individuals or families," with "priority being given to veterans and the formerly incarcerated," Enterprise says.

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.

Joseph N. DiStefano
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected