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Inquirer Daily News

Real Estate

POSTED: Thursday, October 29, 2009, 7:14 AM
Filed Under: Pharma, Biotech | Real Estate

The playbook for the pharmaceutical industry has always seemed to be: Think globally, but the U.S. is what really matters.

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty has been redirecting his company to think globally and make money globally.

“Less than 30 percent of this quarter’s sales were generated from what I call ‘white pill western markets’ compared to 38 percent in the quarter before I took over as CEO,” Witty told analysts on a conference call.

POSTED: Thursday, July 16, 2009, 2:05 PM
Filed Under: Real Estate

Looks like we'll get our first peak next week at the entertainment complex developers are planning to build once the Spectrum arena comes down.

UPDATE: (As several readers remind me, the developer's Web site has had renderings and "virtual tour" of the project up for months. So it's hardly a first look. But if we've learned nothing from the stalled slots parlor development process, these plans can change ... a lot.)

The Philadelphia City Planning Commission's agenda for its meeting on July 21 lists an information only presentation on the Philly Live! Entertainment Complex on the 1100 block of Pattison Avenue in South Philadelphia.

POSTED: Thursday, June 18, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Manufacturing | Real Estate

The United States is in the fourth year of its housing slump, and the commercial building sector is down as well.

So why does DuPont Co. think now is the right time to open its first design studios, including one in Philadelphia, to showcase its Corian solid surfaces?

It’s hoping to create buzz - and new business - for a 42-year-old product primarily known for its use in countertops. To that end, the Wilmington chemical giant has opened studios in Milan, New York and now Philadelphia to show designers and architects how Corian can be used as a design material.

POSTED: Friday, May 1, 2009, 2:30 AM
Filed Under: Real Estate | Technology

Less than 10 years ago, SAP America Inc. moved into its 400,000-square-foot headquarters in Newtown Square. Today, executives will snip the ribbon on a 200,000-square-foot expansion.

Back then, the businesssoftware maker had 1,100 workers in Delaware County. Today, headcount tops 2,000.

If the design of the original structure sought to reflect the changing role of the office in the 21st century, the new one embodies SAP’s embrace of “corporate sustainability.”

POSTED: Monday, March 16, 2009, 2:30 AM

Corporate annual reports began flooding into the Securities and Exchange Commission last week.

If you own shares in a public company, you really should read the document it files with the SEC called a Form 10-K.

Federal rules require many companies to file their annual reports within 75 days of the end of their fiscal years. Given that most companies use Dec. 31 for their year-end, today is Day 75 for them.

POSTED: Friday, March 13, 2009, 6:00 AM

It’s moving day for Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney P.C.

The law firm is closed today so that all those leather-bound law books can be lugged from the 14th floor of 1835 Market St. to Two Liberty Place, 50 S. 16th St., a few blocks away.

On Monday morning, Buchanan Ingersoll lawyers and staff will have a new view of the world from their offices on the 31st, 32nd and 33rd floors. The firm signed a 12-year lease for 77,018 square feet in blue-glass office tower in January 2008.

POSTED: Thursday, February 19, 2009, 2:30 AM
“The more you spend, the more you save.”
Who knew that that tried-and-true advertising line would become the preferred strategy for turning around the economy, bulldozing the housing crisis, and replenishing the banking sector?
While those crises have spawned progressively more expensive fixes, we’ve outdone ourselves this week.
President Obama signed into law the $787 billion economic stimulus plan. The automakers requested $14 billion more in federal aid. And yesterday, the president unveiled a $75 billion foreclosure plan and committed $200 billion more to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Shock and awe, for me. Aw, shucks, for the markets apparently.
But the economists and policy analysts I talked with, while applauding the Obama plan as “thoughtful” and “ambitious,” reminded me of the scope of the problem.
The Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is designed to aid a maximum of 9 million households at risk of foreclosure. But housing prices continue to fall and credit standards continue to tighten.
Moody’s Economy.com estimates about 26 percent of the 52 million U.S. households with mortgages owe more than their house is worth.
Susan Wachter, a Wharton real estate professor, said she liked the Obama plan’s “systemic approach” in that it addresses the need to slow down foreclosures that are preventable.
Sharon Price, director of policy with the National Housing Conference, said the plan shows the federal government finally “leveraging the influence” it now has over the financial industry.
However, Joseph Brusuelas, a Moody’s Economy.com director, said he’d expected a “more aggressive plan” and that the amount committed was “not large enough.”
For my part, I’m glad to see more details in this plan than the vague trillion-dollar framework offered by the Treasury Department last week to aid the banking sector.
But I come back to the staggering amounts we’re committing to rescue everyone and everything. Even the world’s richest country can’t afford a “nothing can fail” strategy for too many years.
POSTED: Monday, February 16, 2009, 2:30 AM
Special-purpose acquisition companies were created as a way to raise money publicly and buy an operating company.
Often simply called by their initials, SPACs are increasingly finding their special purpose may be in not doing deals.
Last week, a Philadelphia SPAC said its shareholders voted to dissolve the company and liquidate. Dekania Corp. had wanted to buy BlueCreek Energy Inc., a Denver company that extracts and processes natural gas in the Rocky Mountains.
It was a key moment for the publicly held Dekania, which had raised $97 million from investors in 2007. Dekania was sponsored by Cohen Bros. L.L.C., an alternative investment firm based in Philadelphia.
Dekania’s units and other securities traded over what is now called the NYSE Alternext US market.
But time really is money when it comes to SPACs. Dekania had struck the deal to buy BlueCreek on Dec. 29, but needed shareholder approval to extend the life of Dekania beyond Feb. 7 in order to close the deal.
Its shareholders, which are largely institutional investors, overwhelmingly torpedoed that idea at a special meeting on Feb. 6. (Only 3,695 votes out of 9,647,695 were cast in favor of extension.)
Buying BlueCreek was actually Plan B for Dekania. It had struck a deal to buy Advanced Equities Financial Corp., a Chicago provider of annuities and other financial products, on Sept. 12.
But in early October, a majority of Advanced Equities shareholders rejected that offer. Dekania began talks with BlueCreek in November. However, Dekania’s investors had other ideas.
So two years after investors paid $10 per unit to buy into Dekania, they’ll be getting their $10 back. Which isn’t such a bad deal when you consider how much value has been destroyed in the stock market.
Dekania units actually rose 6 percent over the last year compared with a 40 percent decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.
Given the lousy environment for mergers of all kinds, we’ll probably be seeing a lot more non-action by SPACs.
According to Thomson Reuters, 84 SPACs raised $16.3 billion in 2007 and 2008. Most of them have not made an acquisition. With only two years to make a deal, that means many more could liquidate this year.

Still a ‘Go’

Newark Mayor Cory A. Booker said last week one of his administration’s big priorities is to support a huge mixed-use residential and retail project that involves Philadelphia developer Carl E. Dranoff.
Called Two Center Street, the 40-plus-story tower would be adjacent to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. The arts center selected Dranoff Properties Inc. in January 2008 to develop what would be the tallest building in the North Jersey city.
“In partnership with [NJPAC CEO] Larry Goldman, we pledge to intensively move this project forward this year, securing the resources we need to make it a go into construction,” Booker said in his “state of the city” address.
Goldman was pleased that $225 million project was chosen after an objective selection process by a committee assembled by the Brick City Development Corporation. Goldman called the city’s backing “a booster rocket.”
What’s next? Dranoff Properties will begin the design process in earnest, Goldman said. The developer and arts center will seek approvals at the city and state levels for Two Center Street.
Goldman said the overarching goal remains to get some new residents and activity in downtown Newark around the arts center, which opened in 1997.

On the Spot

Howard Stoeckel, president and CEO of Wawa Inc., will be giving a speech titled “Wawa … Convenient Cult” as part of Montgomery County Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series.
Stoeckel, who’s led the 570-unit convenience store chain since 2005, will talk about how Wawa’s business strategies could be applied to other companies.
The speech will be held in the Science Center Theater on the community college’s central campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, at 12:15 p.m., today. Yes, the head Wawan will take questions after his address.

Earnings

Tuesday: Discovery Laboratories, Marlin Business Services;
Wednesday: Auxilium Pharmaceuticals, Brandywine Realty Trust, Comcast, NutriSystem;
Thursday: Harleysville Group, PMA Capital, West Pharmaceutical Services;
Friday: Campbell Soup, Dorman Products, First Keystone Financial.
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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