AmerisourceBergen Corp. said its quarterly profit soared 26 percent on increases in its pharmaceutical-distribution business, driven primarily by cancer-drug distributions and specialty products to physicians. The Valley Forge pharmaceutical wholesaler raised its 2007 forecast. The drug wholesaler reported fiscal first-quarter earnings of $122.2 million, or 63 cents a share, up from $97.3 million, or 46 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier. Total revenue rose 14 percent, to $16.7 billion in the three months ended Dec. 31 from $14.7 billion in the same quarter a year earlier. Shares closed up $3.89 at $51.96 on the New York Stock Exchange. For AmerisourceBergen's full financial report, go to
- Linda Loyd
Vishay Intertechnology Inc., Malvern, said its proposed $290 million purchase of International Rectifier Corp.'s power-control-systems business has won federal antitrust approval. Vishay has said the purchase would strengthen its offering of semiconductors. The deal, announced in November, is expected to close by April 1. International Rectifier, a power-management company, is based in El Segundo, Calif.
- Thomas J. Brady
The board of PVG GP L.L.C., the general partner of Penn Virginia GP Holdings L.P., declared an annualized distribution of 96 cents per unit, up 2 cents from the 94-cent distribution projected when the company went public last month. The initial distribution, a prorated 7 cents per unit for the period from Dec. 5 through 31, is payable Feb. 14 to shareholders of record Feb. 5. Penn Virginia GP Holdings is the owner of the general partner and the largest unit holder of Penn Virginia Resource Partners L.P., a manager of coal properties and operator of a midstream natural-gas-gathering and -processing business. Both are based in Radnor.
- Harold Brubaker
Aetna Inc. said it had received state approval to begin offering a portfolio of HMO-based and PPO-based health plans in 13 northeastern Pennsylvania counties, effective April 1. Aetna provides benefits to more than one million members in Pennsylvania. Northeastern Pennsylvania members can receive care, at in-network rates, from Aetna's network of 23 hospitals, 513 primary-care physicians, and 1,126 specialists. Aetna's HMO business is based in King of Prussia.
- Thomas J. Brady
Blue Bell-based Unisys Corp. said it had won an estimated $112 million blanket purchase agreement from the U.S. Department of Justice, Asset Forfeiture Management Staff. The eight-year contract allows Unisys to issue delivery orders for continued support of the Consolidated Asset Tracking System, which tracks, monitors and reports on assets seized and forfeited while prosecuting criminals. Unisys will provide an applications managed service environment for the seized and forfeited assets.
- Madhusmita Bora
Utility company PPL Corp. said it would buy 300 megawatts of energy and capacity from a new coal-fired generating plant set to be built in Maidsville, W.Va. The company did not release financial details on the five-year, fixed-price contract with Longview Power L.L.C. The agreement includes an option to extend the contract a year at a fixed price. Construction at the Longview facility will begin this month. PPL will start buying power in 2012, the company said.
- Madhusmita Bora
Electric utility Exelon Corp., the parent of Peco, reported a profit in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss in the year-earlier period that was weighed down by more than $1 billion in charges. Exelon said it earned $592 million, or 87 cents a share, compared with a loss of $837 million, or $1.25 a share, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding certain special items, such as a onetime benefit of 14 cents a share related to severance costs, profit for the latest quarter totaled 72 cents a share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast a profit of 77 cents a share. For Exelon's full financial report, go to
Bank of America Corp., the second-biggest U.S. bank, will repurchase up to $14 billion of its shares within the next 12 to 18 months after recording its most profitable year ever in 2006. The program authorizes the company to buy back up to 200 million, or 5 percent, of its 4 billion outstanding common shares, the Charlotte, N.C., bank said.
- Bloomberg News
Cingular Wireless L.L.C., the nation's largest cell-phone provider, said its fourth-quarter profit nearly quadrupled, boosted by customer growth during the holidays. Cingular said it earned $782 million in the fourth quarter vs. $204 million in the same quarter of 2005. The company reported revenue of $9.8 billion, up 10 percent from $8.8 billion a year earlier.
ConocoPhillips, the nation's third-largest oil company, said its fourth-quarter profit fell 13 percent largely because of lower gas prices and reduced margins at its refining operations. The company - the first of the major oil players to report fourth-quarter and full-year earnings - also said it expected oil and gas production to be down slightly in the first quarter from the October-to-December period.
EBay Inc. said fourth-quarter profit increased 24 percent from the same period a year earlier, trouncing estimates and prompting executives to raise estimates for the current quarter. Thanks to scorching holiday sales - particularly in eBay's traditional strongholds of the United States, United Kingdom and Germany - the online-auction company earned $349 million, or 25 cents a share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. It earned $279 million, or 20 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.
McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food chain, said its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, thanks in large part to the spin-off of a burrito chain and strong sales in Europe. The restaurant company earned $1.2 billion, or $1 a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. That was up from $608.5 million, or 48 cents a share, during the same period a year earlier.
Taxpayers around the country will get an extra two days, until April 17, to file 2006 returns and pay taxes owed, the Internal Revenue Service said. The two-day reprieve comes about because April 15, the usual tax day, falls on a Sunday this year and because April 16 is Emancipation Day, a legal holiday in the District of Columbia. The IRS said holidays observed in the nation's capital had an impact nationwide.
The average seven-day yield on taxable money-market funds was unchanged this week at 4.73 percent, according to iMoneyNet Inc. A seven-day yield is an annual yield that is based on the preceding seven days' level of income by the fund. The average yield on tax-free funds nudged up to 3.05 percent from 2.99 percent.