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Business in the Burbs

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Hamburger chain adds MasterCard PayPass

August
25
MasterCard Inc., the Purchase-based credit card giant, said that Whataburger, a Texas-based fast food chain, Whataburger, will accept MasterCard PayPass payments at more than 500 locations across the South. PayPass, developed by MasterCard, allows consumers to tap cards or devices on the special readers at checkout to pay for products quickly. There are nearly 61 million MasterCard PayPass cards and devices in use at over 153,000 merchants worldwide, including BP, Best Buy, 7-Eleven, CVS and McDonald’s.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 at 2:13 pm
Category: Uncategorized

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New CEO named at Aureon Laboratories

August
25

Aureon Laboratories Inc., a Yonkers-based laboratory that specializes in cancer treatment, said that Robert Shovlin has been promoted from president to president and chief executive officer. Vijay Aggarwal will step down as CEO, but will remain a member of the company’s board of directors. Shovlin joined the company in June 2005 as vice president of sales and marketing. He was promoted to chief operating officer in 2007.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 at 2:04 pm
Category: Management changes

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iMedicor forms partnership with voicemail services company

August
25

iMedicor, a Nanuet-based company that specializes in electronic medica records, said that it has formed a partnership with PhoneTag, a New York-based voicemail services company. As a result of the partnership, physicians and healthcare providers can access transcription services on their mobile devices.

Posted by Mike Bieger on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 at 1:50 pm
Category: Uncategorized

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FDA panel to review Acorda drug on Oct. 14

August
25

October 14th will be an important day for Acorda Therapeutics Inc., a Hawthorne-based biotech company.

That’s when a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel is scheduled to conduct a critical review of Fampridine-SR, Acorda’s new multiple sclerosis drug that is designed to make walking easier for the disease’s victims. Acorda has been working on the development of the drug since the mid-1990s.

Investor optimism about the drug’s potential has helped fuel a rise of more than 800 percent in Acorda’s stock price since September 2006.

Analysts said that a final FDA decision on Fampridine-SR may slip past an earlier deadline of Oct. 22.

“It would seem nearly impossible for the FDA to approve Fampridine so quickly after the panel” conducted its review on Oct. 14, Phil Nadeau, a Cowen & Co. analyst, said in a note to clients, according to Bloomberg News. “Nonetheless, assuming a positive panel, the delay is likely to be modest (three months or so).”

Acorda recently reached agreement with another biotech company, Biogen Idec of Cambridge, Mass., to handle the marketing and regulatory approvals for the Fampridine-SR medication in foreign markets. Acorda already sells Zanaflex, a treatment for involuntary muscle movements caused by multiple sclerosis and spinal injuries.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 at 1:22 pm
Category: Biopharmaceutical

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PepsiAmericas to open Romanian bottling plant

August
24

PepsiAmericas, the second largest bottler of Pepsi beverage products, said that it will invest $150 million to build a bottling plant in Romania.

The factory, expected to open on Sept 1, is the latest investment that the Minneapolis-based company has made in the fast growing region of Eastern Europe. In 2007, PepsiAmericas took control of Quadrant-Amroq Bottling QAB, a Pepsi distributor in Romania.

Earlier this month, Purchase-based PepsiCo said it was buying PepsiAmericas and another major bottler, Somers-based Pepsi Bottling Group, as part of a $7.8 billion deal.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, August 24th, 2009 at 4:56 pm
Category: Uncategorized

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Broadview Networks names executive vice president

August
24

Broadview Networks, a Rye Brook-based business communications provider, said that Christopher Eldredge is joining the company as executive vice president of alternate channels and carrier sales.

Eldredge will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the company’s agent sales channel and wholesale organizations. He previously was vice president of carrier sales and service for Frontier Communications, a rural local exchange telephone company.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, August 24th, 2009 at 4:34 pm
Category: Management actions

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IBM expanding program in developing countries

August
24

IBM Corp. said that it is expanding a program that sends employee teams to developing countries to assist local organizations on projects that involve business, social or technology issues.

The Armonk-based computer services giant said that the expanded program, known as the Corporate Service Corps, will result in 1,500 employees working in the various countries by 2010, up from 600 currently.

By the end of 2009, IBM will deploy 52 global teams of eight to 10 employees to countries that include the Philippines, Vietnam, China, Malaysia, Brazil, Tanzania, Ghana, South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Romania and Turkey.

“Participants benefit via a once-in-a-life-time, problem-solving exercise in the developing world, communities gain by obtaining hundreds of thousands of dollars in pro bono expert consulting services, and IBM benefits by growing its next generation of leaders with the skills required to lead in a globally-integrated world,” said Stanley S. Litow, vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs at IBM.

Nigeria—a new countty that IBM is adding to the program this year—provides examples of the type of projects that are receiving assistance from IBM. In that African country, IBM workers will help the government devise an information system for monitoring child and maternal health and help create an information technology platform that will link 18 government departments.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, August 24th, 2009 at 4:25 pm
Category: Technology

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Haights Cross reaches agreement on debt restructuring

August
21

Haights Cross Communications Inc., a White Plains-based library and educational publisher, said that it has reached agreement with major lenders on a restructuting of the company’s debt and credit agreement that should improve its financial outlook.

The company added that the restructuring is not expected to lead to changes in its Triumph Learning and Recorded Books businesses.

“We will continue to acquire rights and publish new products, market and sell all our products to all customer segments, and plan to continue to pay our vendors, licensors and employees on a timely basis,” Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Crecca said in a written statement. “Once the restructuring of the Haights Cross debt is complete, the enterprise will be significantly deleveraged, a very positive outcome for our businesses.”

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, August 21st, 2009 at 1:59 pm
Category: Credit

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Barter service expands in Rockland County

August
21

Hudson Barter Exchange, a recent business startup that brings businesses together to make deals without cash, is expanding from its initial service territory of Westchester County into Rockland County.

The Elmsford-based company said that it has added over 160 members since it opened nine months ago. Trading volume on the barter site has doubled every month during that time, according to the company.

In Rockland, businesses that have signed up to use the barter service include an advertising company, a pest control buiness, a photography studio, a pet spa and a dental office.

Barter has become a popular way for many businesses to trade services with each other during the recession that has eroded sales and dried up available cash to make standard purchases.

Nearly 400,000 businesses nationally now barter for services, according to the National Association of of Trade Exchanges. Across the country, 350 local barter exchanges allow thousands of small and mid-sized businesses to exchange services with each other. The exchange takes a 6 percent commission from each side in a transaction.

Kevin Brown, co-principal of Hudson Barter Exchange, said that the barter service can help businesses attract new customers and manage cash flow.

“These are just two of the many benefits of bartering that (the exchange) now brings to Rockland County,” Brown said.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, August 21st, 2009 at 1:38 pm
Category: Expansion

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Real estate firm founder receives ethics award

August
21
Rick Rakow, founder of Rakow Commercial Realty Group Inc. in White Plains, recently received the “Business Ethics Award” from The White Plains Rotary Club in recognition of his business career and involvement in the community. Rakow, who has worked in the real estate business for 25 years, handles about 100 real estate transactions a year. He also has been active as a local board member at the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, The Business Council of Westchester, the American Heart Association, The Food Bank of Westchester and other organizations.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, August 21st, 2009 at 12:04 pm
Category: Awards

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Accounting firm launches financial blog

August
21

D’Arcangelo & Co. LLP, a regional accounting firm, has launched an online blog to keep businesses, organizations and individuals updated with financial news and information.

The blog can be found at http://www.darcangelo.com/blog. D’Arcangelo also publishes financial articles in a bimonthly e-newsletter. D’Arcangelo & Co. LLP has five offices in Purchase, Poughkeepsie, Millbrook, Utica, and Rome.

“This is a way for our clients and friends to stay current with new tax laws, federal guidelines and innovative ways to save money,” explained Rich Kleban, D’Arcangelo’s director of business development.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, August 21st, 2009 at 11:40 am
Category: Uncategorized

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IBM to provide tech services to W. R. Grace & Co.

August
20

IBM Corp. has signed a contract to provide technology services to W. R. Grace & Co., a specialty chemical and materials company with about 6,000 employees in more than 40 countries. IBM will provide Grace with a technology system that is designed to help the company support customers, integrate acquisitions and open new offices around the world. The financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 12:57 pm
Category: Contract

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WHX swings to loss in 2Q

August
20

WHX Corp., a White Plains maker of industrial products, swung to a net loss of $4.1 million during the second quarter as the company coped with slower sales in a weak global economy. A year earlier, the company had reported net income of $5.3 million.

The recession “had a material adverse effect on almost all of our businesses during the first half of 2009, driving sales down by over 25 percent from the first half of 2008,” Chief Executive Officer Glen Kassan said. Net sales fell to $141.4 million during the second quarter from $197 million a year earlier.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 12:42 pm
Category: Earnings

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Reader’s Digest says most lenders back restructuring plan

August
20

The Reader’s Digest Association Inc., the troubled Chappaqua-based magazine publisher that is expected to soon file for bankruptcy reorganization, said that most major creditors and investors are backing the company’s efforts to revamp the company’s finances.

Reader’s Digest said today that nearly 80 percent of its senior secured lenders and nearly 70 percent of its institutional investors have signed on to an agreement that calls for a restructuring plan that will reduce the company’s debts and improve its financial outlook.

Reader’s Digest, whose flagship magazine is the world’s largest with nearly 70 million readers in more than 60 countries, has been hurt by the global economic slowdown that has eroded advertising revenues and accelerated declining print subscriptions.

The privately held company reported a net loss of $462 million during its fiscal third quarter ending March 31, much worse than the net loss of $53.6 million a year earlier.

Under the restructuring plan announced this week, the debt on the company’s books would fall from $2.2 billion to $550 million. Reader’s Digest said it plans to file soon for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to complete the deal.

On Monday, the company missed a $27 million interest payment as it continued talks with lenders about the restructuring plan.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, August 20th, 2009 at 12:25 pm
Category: Uncategorized

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Panera Bread to open cafe in White Plains

August
19

Panera Bread, a national chain of bakery-cafes, expects to open a new store in downtown White Plains on Monday. The store will be next to Wal-Mart at One North Broadway. The menu features a variety of freshly baked bread products, including breakfast bagels, muffins, sandwiches and soups served in Sourdough Bread Bowls.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 4:06 pm
Category: New store

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Physical therapy center open in Hartsdale

August
19

Empire Physical Therapy recently opened a new location in Hartsdale. The facility at 280 Dobbs Ferry Road, suite 208 and 209, offers services designed to aid healing from injuries related to sports, physical ailments and accidents. Empire Physical Therapy participates with most major insurance companies.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 3:51 pm
Category: Uncategorized

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Snap!VRS is buying competitor in telecom industry

August
19

Snap!VRS, a Pearl River-based company that focuses on telecommuications services for the deaf, is buying Viable Communications Inc., another company in the same industry.

Viable, based in Rockville, Md., specializes in videoconferencing hardware and software, video relay services, and interpreting services for the deaf community. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. “Pairing our respective synergies will create a company capable of servicing the deaf community unlike any other,” said Snap!VRS President Tom Kielty.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 3:34 pm
Category: Acquisitions

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Akzo Nobel to invest $4.4 million in the region

August
19

Akzo Nobel Surface Chemistry is investing $4.4 million in new machinery and equipment at two operations in the Lower Hudson Valley.

The chemical company, which had previously considered moving out of state before opting to remain in New York, expects to preserve 85 existing jobs as a result of the investment, according to the Empire State Development Corp.

Akzo Nobel has received a $292,300 state grant to offset the investment costs at the two facilities, a 66,000-square foot research and development facility in Brewster and 16,609 square feet in administrative offices in Tarrytown, according to Empire.

Akzo Nobel, based in the Netherlands, is a Global Fortune 500 company and a major manufacturer of surfactants, chemicals used in soaps and detergents that allow for stable mixtures of oil and water.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 3:11 pm
Category: Uncategorized

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Painting contractor opens in Bronxville

August
18

LG Painting Co. recently opened at 81 Pondfield Rd., Suite 310, in Bronxville. The residential and commercial painting contractor serves the tri-state area. The company’s Web site is www.lgpainting.com.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 at 2:06 pm
Category: New business

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T.J. Maxx completes remodeling of Hartsdale store

August
18

T.J. Maxx, the off-price retail chain, recently completed a remodeling of its store at the Dalewood III Shopping Center in Hartsdale. The store redesigned its dressing rooms, revamped the checkout area and added new signage. The beauty department also doubled in size.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 at 1:53 pm
Category: Retail

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About this blog
Business in the Burbs is our online news blog about businesses based or operating in the Lower Hudson Valley. Visitors here will also find items of interest to consumers in the region. Most contributions are from business reporters and editors covering Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties.

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