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Archive for December, 2008

Fitness center open in Harrison

December
31

The Club @1133 Sports & Fitness recently opened in the former IBM building at 1133 Westchester Ave. in Harrison. The 6,000 square-foot fitness facility includes a golf simulator, personal training and spa treatments. The club is the second venture of the Callaway Sports Group, which also owns the three-year-old Club @ 800 Squash & Fitness in the former Kraft building at 800 Westchester Ave.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
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ConEdison Solutions named energy efficiency provider

December
31

ConEdison Solutions, an energy services company based in White Plains, said that it has been designated as an “approved provider of energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation services” at the Department of Defense and other government offices nationally. Under the program, the Defense Depart initiative could use various contractors to undertake up to $900 million in energy efficiency, renewable energy and water conservation projects at federal sites.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 at 3:19 pm |
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Hudson Valley Holding to continue FDIC program

December
31

Hudson Valley Holding Corp., the Yonkers-based parent company of Hudson Valley Bank and New York National Bank, said that it will continue to participate in a federal program designed to strengthen public confidence in the financial system.

Under the Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program, the government said that it will provide full insurance coverage of non-interest bearing deposit accounts, regardless of dollar amount.

The program, which covered Hudson Valley and other institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., was set to expire unless individual banks opted to continue their participation.

“Although Hudson Valley is and has always been a safe, sound, and strong organization, we wanted to provide our customers with the most comprehensive deposit insurance protection offered by the U.S. government,” James J. Landy, president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, December 31st, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
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Environmental Power completes repairs at Texas plant

December
30

Environmental Power Corp., a Tarrytown-based company that produces natural gas from animal waste and other organic materials, said that it recently completed repairs and upgrades to its Huckabay Ridge production plant in Stephenville, Texas. The company said that the plant has resumed production of natural gas. The company is delivering natural gas to California utility Pacific Gas & Electric Co. under an agreement that will run through December 2018.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
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Tax workshops planned

December
30

Gilman Ciocia Inc., a provider of tax planning and preparation services, said that it will hold taxpayer workshops in Rockland County to educate the public about tax planning.

Workshop presenters will discuss strategies to reduce current income taxes, recover back taxes, protect personal assets and achieve financial security. The workshops will be Jan. 7 and 21 at Romolo’s at 77 South Route 303 in Congers at 6 p.m. Individuals may sign up for the free workshops at www.gtax.com/seminars or by calling 1-800-TAX-TEAM.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 at 6:23 pm |
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MVC reports gains of $60.8 million

December
30

MVC Capital Inc., a Purchase-based company that invests in small businesses, said that the weakness in the U.S. economy didn’t stop it from reporting solid results during the fiscal year ending Oct. 31.

Realized and unrealized gains for MVC were $60.8 million, primarily as a result of increased values of the companies in which it has invested.

MVC also benefited from the sale of key assets.

During the fiscal year, MVC said that it made four new investments and 11 follow-on investments, committing $126.3 million of capital. MVC also paid $11.6 million in distributions to shareholders.

“We are pleased with the results that we achieved during fiscal 2008, especially considering the challenging economic environment,” Michael Tokarz, chairman and portfolio manager of MVC, said in a written statement. “As we begin fiscal 2009, we are encouraged by the quality of our portfolio and are committed to maintaining our investment and operating disciplines.”

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, December 30th, 2008 at 6:21 pm |
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Video of foreclosure workshop available online

December
29

A video of a Rockland County foreclosure prevention workshop last month is available on the Prudential Rand Realty Web site. The Nov. 25 workshop, organized by Prudential Rand, attracted more than 150 home owners to the Comfort Inn in Nanuet to learn about strategies on how to deal with home foreclosure. The video of the event can be viewed at www.prudentialrand.com/workshop. That site also includes a link to a YouTube channel for the event. The video features presentations by local, state and federal government officials and nonprofit housing counselors.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, December 29th, 2008 at 5:46 pm |
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IBM signs seven-year contract with Sara Lee

December
29

IBM Corp. said that it has signed a seven-year contract to manage part of the back office operations for Sara Lee Corp., a consumer products giant whose brands include Jimmy Dean sausages and Ball Park franks. Under the contract, IBM will manage a portion of Sara Lee’s North American and European transaction processing, global information services and procurement activities. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, December 29th, 2008 at 5:37 pm |
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SL Green cuts dividend by more than 50%

December
29

SL Green Realty Corp., a major office landlord in New York City and Westchester County, will cut its dividend by more than half as it responds to a weakening economy and a softening real estate market.

The New York-based real estate investment trust said that it will pay a dividend of 37.5 cents a share during the fourth quarter, down from from the dividend of 78.8 cents that it paid during the four previous quarters.

“Given the current capital markets environment, we have reset the dividend to reflect the company’s current policy to preserve internally generated cash flows,” Chief Executive Officer Marc Holliday said in a written statement. “Looking forward, this reset will help conserve approximately $95 million for the company in 2009.”

Analysts have been concerned that the worst downturn in the financial services industry since the Great Depression could hurt SL Green more than other real eatate companies. More than 85 percent of the company’s office leases comes from Midtown Manhattan, home to large numbers of troubled financial companies.

“Financial-services firms, which make up 42 percent of SL Green’s base rental revenue, are cutting back on head count, demanding less space and even subleasing office space that they no longer need,” Morningstar analyst Jeremy Glaser wrote in a research report. “Although demand from other sectors and international firms is picking up some of the slack, rental rates have moved downward for the first time in four years as vacancies have inched up.”

In 2007, SL Green acquired 3.6 million square feet of space in Westchester, and Stamford, Conn., helping to diversfy the company beyond Manhattan.

Glaser said that the divdend cut will help SL Green preserve capital in an uncertain economy.

“Management believes that the crisis will eventually bring opportunities to buy distressed assets at bargain prices,” Glaser said. “However, we’d still prefer SL Green pay down its debt and strengthen its balance sheet before it takes on more acquisitions.”

Shares of SL Green dropped $2.80 to $24.42 in trading today on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock is down 72 percent during the past year.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, December 29th, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
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eDocNY awarded contract with Westchester County Clerk

December
26

The Westchester County Clerk’s office recently awarded a one-year contract to eDocNY, a White Plains-based document management company. Starting in January, eDocNY will scan and digitize a high volume of records for the office’s legal division using equipment at its headquarters at 388 Tarrytown Road. eDocNY was created by Westchester Arc, the largest agency in the county serving children and adults with developmental disabilities.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, December 26th, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
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Jones Apparel shares climb 44%

December
26

Shares of Jones Apparel Group Inc. soared 44 percent yesterday after the New York-based clothing and shoe maker cut back on its credit lines and gained borrowing flexibility to navigate through one of the toughest retail climates in decades.

Jones, the parent company of shoe designer Nine West Group in White Plains, said that its $750 million credit line maturing in May 2010 was trimmed to $600 million, reflecting its current business needs. In addition, Jones said that a $500 million credit line that matures in June was canceled.

The company said that the successful negotiations with lenders to adjust its existing credit agreements will give it greater flexibility to run its businesses “during these unprecedented economic times.”

Bloomberg News reported yesterday that the holiday shopping season may have been the worst in four decades after consumers spent 20 percent less on women’s clothing, electronics and jewelry during November and December. The weakness in consumer spending has put pressure of Jones and other apparel companies that supply traditional department stores and increased investor concerns about their debt levels.

The company’s brand names include Nine West, Jones New York, Kasper, Bandolino, Enzo Angiolini, Anne Klein and Gloria Vanderbilt.

“We are pleased with the overwhelming support of the financial institutions associated with the amendment process and believe it was prudent to pursue amendments now that allow financial flexibility in the current uncertain economic environment,” Chief Financial Officer John T. McClain said in a written statement.

Shares of Jones surged $1.73 to $5.62 in regular trading yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The percentage gain of 44 percent was the largest daily gain in 17 years, according to Bloomberg. Even with the strong day, the shares remained far below the 52-week high of $22.12 on Sept. 9.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, December 26th, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
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Jarden makes BusinessWeek list of influential companies

December
24

Jarden Corp. recently was named to BusinessWeek magazine’s list of the World’s Most Influential Companies. The Rye-based company’s inclusion on the annual list was featured in the magazine’s December 22nd print edition, and on a slide show on the BusinessWeek website.

Jarden, a consumer products company whose products include canning jars, coffee makers and playing cards, was the only company based in the Lower Hudson Valley on the list. The rankings were compiled with the assistance of an advisory board of 14 academics, consultants, and industry leaders.

“This honor is truly meaningful to us all as it represents the dedication and hard work of our more than 25,000 employees around the world who have each helped make Jarden a continued success in the consumer products industry,” Chief Executive Officer Martin E. Franklin said in a written statement.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
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Verizon wins $33.2 million court judgement

December
24

Verizon Communications Inc., the dominant telephone company in the Lower Hudson Valley, has won a $33.2 million court judgement against an Internet services company that was accused of confusing customers by using Internet names similar to Verizon trademarks.

The court decision stemmed from a lawsuit that Manhattan-based Verizon had filed against San Francisco-based OnlineNIC in June. In the case, Verizon alleged that OnlineNIC had engaged in “cybersquatting” by unlawfully registering at least 663 Internet domain names that were identical to or similar to Verizon online addresses.

“This case should send a clear message and serve to deter cybersquatters who continue to run businesses for the primary purpose of misleading consumers,” said Sarah Deutsch, Verizon vice president and associate general counsel. “Verizon intends to continue to take all steps necessary to protect our brand and consumers from Internet frauds and abuses.”

In the court ruling, U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel in San Jose, Calif., indicated that OnlineNIC’s registrations of Verizon names was intended to confuse Internet users who wanted to do business online with Verizon. The judge calculated a damage award based on $50,000 for each online name, according to Verizon.

Verizon said the case is the fourth cybersquatting court victory that it has won as it intensifies efforts to protect its brand name and trademarks.

Representatives of OnlineNIC could not be reached for comment.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
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Hudson Valley Bank receives approval for Conn. branch

December
23

Hudson Valley Bank of Yonkers said that it has received approval from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to open a branch in Milford, Conn. The branch is expected to open the second quarter. The bank operates 30 branches in Westchester, Rockland, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Fairfield County, Conn.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
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Center for Wound Healing announces loan agreement

December
23

The Center for Wound Healing Inc., a Tarrytown-based manager of wound treatment centers, said that New York-based Signature Bank will provide the company with an $8 million loan agreement to replace an older $6 million line of credit.

The company said that the larger loan agreement will provide funding for working capital and long-term investment spending, including additional hospital partnerships. The company manages 35 wound care centers in the eastern United States.

“This substantial increase in our borrowing capacity is a reflection of the significant progress we have made in turning around the company, and in executing to our growth strategy,” Chief Executive Officer Andrew G. Barnett.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 6:25 pm |
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IBM lands $100 million contract

December
23

IBM Corp. will provide information technology services to the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic under a $100 million contract.

The Armonk-based company said that the contract calls for it to implement an information system that allows for the Czech government to efficiently handle state budget resources and public finance. The system is already deployed by many European Union member countries.

The new contract with the Czech government is the latest example of how IBM has continued to land new businesses despite a softening economy.

During the third quarter, IBM earned $2.05 a share from continuing operations, an increase of 22 percent over the $1.68 a share reported for the third quarter of 2007.

“We believe IBM is as strong as ever and is well-positioned to continue to deliver superior customer solutions through its globally integrated services, software, and hardware offerings,” Morningstar analyst Rick Hanna wrote in a research report.

During the third quarter, IBM was the leading vendor of servers costing more than $250,000 with 57.7 percent share of that market worldwide, according to Gartner. IBM gained 5.1 points of market share in this category.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008 at 6:24 pm |
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A 182-mile natural gas pipeline opens

December
22

The region gained a new source of energy after a 182-mile natural gas pipeline began fully operating today and delivering fuel to shippers.

It took 18 months and more than 2,000 workers to complete the $1 billion project that involved building a pipeline 30 inches in diameter from Corning to Ramapo.

The pipeline is expected to help meet the growing energy demand in the New York metro area by significantly expanding the supplies of natural gas for businesses and homeowners.

The project was built by Millennium Pipeline Company L.L.C. of Pearl River.

“This is an historic day for New York state and the Northeast,” Millennium President Dick Leehr said. “Many years of hard work and planning, permitting and eventual construction have finally come to fruition, enabling Millennium to deliver much-needed natural gas supplies as we enter the peak of the 2008-09 winter heating season.”

Construction of the pipeline started in June 2007, but most of the work took place this year.
While more than 90 percent of the pipeline was built within or next to existing pipeline rights-of-way, some of the most challenging work occured in Rockland County. Steep slopes and rocky terrain along the Rockland route required workers to blast away rock.

Even though the pipeline has started operating, land restoration and environmental monitoring work will continue in 2009.

“It is gratifying to see that a major collaborative effort involving skilled union workers from local communities and around the country, government officials at all levels, customers, partners, contractors, vendors and many other organizations came together to achieve this common important goal of meeting the region’s growing energy needs,” Leehr said.

The pipeline will use various pipeline interconnections to bring more natural gas to New York from Canada.

Pipeline customers include Consolidated Edison of New York, KeySpan Energy Delivery Long Island, Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation and Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corporation.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, December 22nd, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
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Pernod Ricard ads encourage responsible drinking

December
22

Pernod Ricard USA, a Purchase-based producer of spirits and wine brands, said that it is rolling out a series of online video messages as part of an ongoing campaign to encourage responsible drinking. The campaign highlights common excuses used to justify drunk driving, underage consumption and binge drinking. The online videos are posted at www.acceptresponsibility.org.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, December 22nd, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
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Carmel allows Verizon to offer FiOS TV

December
22

The town of Carmel in Putnam County recently granted a cable television franchise to Verizon Communications Inc. Verizon, the dominant local phone company in New York, has made major investments in recent years to roll out video services to its customers. The approval by Carmel allows the company to offer its FiOS TV service, delivered over a fiber-optic network to customers’ homes. After the approval by Carmel, 145 New York municipalities have authorized Verizon to offer FiOS.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, December 22nd, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
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General Patent licenses patent to Sony Ericsson

December
22

General Patent Corp., a Suffern-based patent licensing and enforcement firm, said that it has licensed a cell phone patent to Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB, one of the world’s largest mobile phone companies. The patent covers technology that improves communications between cell-phone transmitters and handsets. The patent is held by a sister company of General Patent, Digital Technology Licensing LLC, which is also based in Suffern.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, December 22nd, 2008 at 3:42 pm |
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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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