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POSTED: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 10:10 PM
Filed Under: Business Services

When I’d read that Norristown-based USM Services Holdings Inc. had been acquired for $255 million last week, one thought kept resonating in my mind.

It’s another example of what’s possible when graduates of area colleges stick around to start their businesses here. Internet-oriented companies may get much of the attention now, but there are plenty of low-tech firms launched by young grads, too.

USM was founded in 1988 by two West Chester University graduates who sought to clean up by cleaning commercial buildings. What was once Tower Cleaning Systems, making the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing privately held businesses, would become U.S. Maintenance Inc.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 8:00 PM

It seems odd for the U.S. Small Business Administration to hand out awards to big businesses just because they play well with small business.

But if it wasn’t for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Award for Excellence, the Philadelphia area wouldn’t have any winners among the national awards issued during last week’s National Small Business Week.

Amec Earth & Environmental Inc., of Plymouth Meeting, received the Eisenhower award in the services category. That office is part of Amec P.L.C., a London-based engineering and project-management company that had 2010 revenue of 2.95 billion pounds, or $4.5 billion.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 5:59 PM

Ask me how thrilled I am that we’ll soon have a jobs commission in Philadelphia to come up with ways to put people to work.

Not that we don’t need to reverse the decades-long decline in employment in the city. It’s just that this is the wrong way to go about it.

In case you missed it amid all the excitement over the Pennsylvania primary election, voters in the city on May 17 approved a ballot question establishing a 17-member jobs commission.

POSTED: Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 8:30 AM

This morning, Toll Bros. posted another quarterly loss, but the $20.8M loss for its Q2 was lower than the $40.4M for the same quarter a year ago. The Horsham luxury home builder said that contracts were up 8 percent. Also, it now expects to "deliver" 2,300 to 2,800 houses this year. That's a bit better than the 2,200 low end it had previously forecast.

No one's in a good mood filling up their gas tanks lately. Whenever oil prices run up, charges of unscrupulous speculator fly around. Well, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission is suing two trading firms for their actions during the 2008 spike when oil nearly reached $150 per barrel. Details here in this Reuters report.

Shire, the Dublin-based pharmaceutical company with North American HQ in Wayne, has gotten word from two more generic drug makers who want to make generic versions of its Vyvanse, an ADHD treatment. Amneal Pharmaceuticals and Waton Laboratories join Sandoz in wanting to copy the drug, which Shire says is protected by patents that expire in 2023. Shire's sales of Vyvanse totaled $634M in 2010.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 12:37 PM
Filed Under: Politics, Taxes

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made his point early and often:

If Congress passed a transportation bill, it would create jobs.

It's a message he's been repeating at speeches and appearances across the nation since the Obama administration released a $550 billion, six-year plan to pay for various transportation-related infrastructure projects on Labor Day last year.

POSTED: Tuesday, May 24, 2011, 9:00 AM

They’ll be talking trains at the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce’s State of the Region event at the Chase Center in Wilmington on Tuesday morning.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Albrecht Engel, vice president of Amtrak’s High Speed Rail Division, are scheduled to discuss the latest push to shrink the travel times between Northeast cities with faster rail service.

The audience for that meeting is far different from one being held later also May 24 at Temple University: Campus Philly’s third annual Opportunity Fair.

POSTED: Monday, May 23, 2011, 8:34 AM

As we start the week before Memorial Day, more people are probably checking their grills to make sure they're ready to char dinner, not their soup pots.

However, Campbell Soup may stir some discussion today with its Q3 financial results. After all, sales rose 1 percent to $1.81B in the quarter, though not because we kept our soup spoons at the ready.

No, what led the Camden company's sales growth this quarter was a 10 percent rise in sales for its baking and snacking segment (think: Pepperidge Farm goldfish and Swirl breads). Campbell Soup even eked out a small profit increase to $187M, or 57 cents per share, from $168M, or 49 cents EPS, for last year's Q3.

POSTED: Friday, May 20, 2011, 8:52 AM

How about some baked goods to start the day?

I guess noboby bakes a cash tender offer as tasty as Flowers Foods, which says it completed its offer of $4 per share for Tasty Baking. The companies say that 77 percent of Tasty's outstanding shares were tendered. That offer expired at midnight on Thursday. Soon, Tasty common stock will cease trading on the Nasdaq.

HR software maker Kenexa has priced a secondary offering of its common stock at $27.75 per share. The Wayne company will offer 3M shares to raise net proceeds of $78.7M.

About this blog
Mike Armstrong blogs about Philadelphia corporations and business-related topics. Contact him at 215-854-2980. Reach Mike at marmstrong@phillynews.com.

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