Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Business news in brief

A worker walks in a container area at a port in Tokyo. Japan suffered its worst annual trade deficit in March, as export growth slowed to its weakest in a year, as a national sales-tax hike puts more strain on growth. The deficit of 13.75 trillion yen ($134.45 billion) for the fiscal year that ended in March means "Tokyo may have to resort to bolder monetary policies, said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington.
A worker walks in a container area at a port in Tokyo. Japan suffered its worst annual trade deficit in March, as export growth slowed to its weakest in a year, as a national sales-tax hike puts more strain on growth. The deficit of 13.75 trillion yen ($134.45 billion) for the fiscal year that ended in March means "Tokyo may have to resort to bolder monetary policies, said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington. Reuters

In the Region

Two A.C. casinos fined

New Jersey has fined two Atlantic City casinos more than $107,000 for a series of violations including improper use of security guards, allowing people who had banned themselves from casinos to gamble, and other transgressions. The Division of Gaming Enforcement fined Harrah's Resort Atlantic City $70,000 for improper security staffing levels. It also issued four fines totaling $37,500 against Revel Casino Hotel for allowing self-excluded gamblers to make bets, failing to collect cards properly after a blackjack game, and violating security rules regarding the collection of cash boxes. The casinos declined to comment on the fines; they reached settlements with the state on each. - AP

Grant for CNG-powered trucks

Pennsylvania American Water announced plans to buy 18 trucks fueled by compressed natural gas under a $315,000 state grant funded from the Marcellus Shale impact fee. The new vehicles will be based in the company's Scranton operations. Pennsylvania American last year launched a pilot with four CNG-powered pickup trucks in Punxsutawney and Coatesville. In November, it also received a $62,800 Alternative Fuel Incentive Grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection to convert 14 new light-duty trucks to CNG. This year's grant, financed by the impact fee paid by natural gas producers, was secured through a partnership with Greater Philadelphia Clean Cities Coalition, which urges 34 counties in eastern Pennsylvania to implement alternative fuel use in transportation. - Andrew Maykuth

Job fair for Kensington project

Philadelphia's Arab-American Community Development Corp. and Conifer Realty L.L.C. will host a job fair and hiring workshop Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Al Aqsa Islamic Society at 1501 Germantown Ave. The event is aimed at finding local workers for a planned $15 million affordable-housing project, Tajdeed Residences, at Cadwallader and Oxford Streets in Kensington. The development is slated to begin construction in May. For information contact Alliedjobs@altmanco.com or call 215-884-0500, Ext. 107. - Erin Arvedlund

Elsewhere

Ford set to name new CEO

Ford Motor Co. will soon name chief operating officer Mark Fields as successor to chief executive Alan Mulally, a person familiar with the plans said on Monday. Mulally, the 68-year-old executive credited with reviving Ford's fortunes since taking its helm in 2006, will step down before the end of the year, said the person, who asked not to be identified discussing the company's plans. Fields, 53, was named COO in December 2012 and has been seen as Mulally's successor. Bloomberg News earlier reported that Ford may make an announcement as early as May 1. A Ford spokeswoman declined to comment. - Reuters

UAW drops appeal of VW vote

The United Auto Workers dropped its appeal of a worker vote against unionizing at a Volkswagen AG plant in Tennessee, a move that the union said should put pressure on Republican politicians to quickly approve incentives the German automaker is seeking to expand its lone U.S. assembly plant. The prolonged fight over labor issues at the Chattanooga facility appeared headed for a lengthy National Labor Relations Board appeal until the UAW announced an hour before a scheduled hearing that it was ending its challenge. Some Republican lawmakers had blamed the appeal for holding up expansion plans at the plant - and the UAW says that perceived obstacle is now out of the way. - AP

Bid coming for Allergan

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. and Pershing Square Capital Management L.P. are teaming up to bid for Allergan Inc., according to a regulatory filing. The offer will include a cash component of about $15 billion, the filing shows. Pershing Square, the fund run by Bill Ackman, and Valeant think that Allergan's stock is undervalued and an attractive investment, according to the filing. Pershing owns about 10 percent of Allergan's stock. - Bloomberg News

Program boosts rural business

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a new $150 million program designed to provide investment capital to help small agriculture-related business in rural areas with cash needed to expand. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the formation of the Rural Business Investment Co., a for-profit firm licensed by the USDA to invest in businesses that otherwise might not have the capital to increase business opportunities. - AP

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