Business news in brief

IN THE REGION

Dimock results disputed

Tests by the Environmental Protection Agency of water in Dimock, Pa., found elevated levels of methane consistent with leakage from gas drilling nearby, according to scientists who reviewed the data. Results from the first 11 wells tested by the EPA found one with a methane level of 52 parts per million, which could be explosive, and a total of six with more than the 7 milligrams per liter at which drillers are required to notify the state. The findings raise questions about the EPA's March 15 statement to Dimock residents that their water didn't pose a health risk, said Ronald Bishop, a chemist at the State University of New York's College at Oneonta. - Bloomberg News

Airgas buys Miss. firm

Airgas Inc. said it acquired the assets and operations of Industrial Welding Supplies of Hattiesburg L.L.C., which is doing business as Nordan Smith, a Mississippi-based distributor of industrial, medical, and specialty gases and related supplies. The acquired business, with 110 employees and 17 locations in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Alabama, generates annual revenues in excess of $30 million, Airgas said. The company did not disclose a purchase price. - Reid Kanaley

Plosser warns on interest rates

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia president Charles Plosser said the Fed may need to raise interest rates before late 2014 and that additional stimulus isn't needed as the U.S. economy shows signs of strength. The policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee this month raised its assessment of the economy, while repeating its plan to keep interest rates near zero at least through late 2014. - Bloomberg News

ELSEWHERE

Big loss at American

The parent company of American Airlines told a bankruptcy court that it lost $619 million last month as revenue declined from January and failed to offset major expenses like fuel and labor. AMR Corp. said revenue was $1.81 billion. American Airlines and AMR filed for bankruptcy protection in November. The airline plans to cut 13,000 jobs and get labor-cost concessions from its unions. - AP

Bank closing is 16th for 2012

Federal regulators have closed a bank in Michigan, bringing to 16 the number of banks that have failed in 2012. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Friday that it shuttered Fidelity Bank, based in Dearborn, Mich. The bank, with 15 branches, had about $818.2 million in assets and $747.6 million in deposits as of Dec. 31. The Huntington National Bank of Columbus, Ohio, agreed to assume Fidelity Bank's deposits and buy essentially all of its assets. The FDIC estimates that Fidelity Bank's failure will cost the insurance fund $92.8 million. - AP