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Archive for February, 2009

Economy seminar planned for March 11

February
27

The Rockland Business Women’s Network will host a panel discussion on the economy on March 11 from noon to 2 p.m. at Pasta Cucina at 253 S. Little Tor Road in New City. The topic will be “Weathering the Economic Storm – Keeping Your Business Afloat and Your Credit Score High.” Cost is $25 for members who pre-register by 5 p.m. on March 10 and $35 for non-members and for members at the door. For more information or to register, call 845-357-3312.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
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Home buyers seminar planned for March 9

February
27

Community Mutual Savings Bank, a 122-year old community savings bank with four Westchester branches, will host a free home buyers seminar on March 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at the John C. Hart Library at 1130 Main St. in Shrub Oak. Topics will include how home buyers can qualify for a low-interest mortgage; purchasing a home with little money down; understanding short sale transactions; and buying foreclosures. To register, call 866-359-2133.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
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Housing expo planned for March 7

February
27

The 13th annual Affordable Housing Expo will be March 7 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The expo, aimed at first time homebuyers and those experiencing difficulties with mortgage payments, will feature vendor exhibits.

There also will be workshops on a variety of topics, including “Is this a good time to buy a home?” “How much can I spend on a house?” and “How to Qualify for a Mortgage.” The expo is sponsored by the Westchester Interfaith Housing Corp. in cooperation with Housing Action Council and Westchester Residential Opportunities, two not-for-profit home ownership counseling and foreclosure prevention agencies.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
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Dress Barn signs contract for e-commerce services

February
27

Dress Barn Inc., the Montebello-based retailer, said that it has signed an agreement to receive electronic commerce technology and design services from GSI Commerce Inc., an e-commerce company in King of Prussia, Pa. Under the contract, GSI will launch an online store for Dress Barn’s maurices brand this fall.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
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4Q loss narrows at EpiCept

February
27

EpiCept Corp., a biotech company based in Tarrytown, reported a net loss of $5.4 million, or 7 cents a share, during the fourth quarter. That compared to a net loss of $6.3 million, or 15 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenues of $100,000 rose from $23,000 a year earlier.

“The year 2008 was a challenging, pivotal and ultimately successful one for EpiCept,” Jack Talley, president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement. “In the second half of 2008, we secured European approval of (the leukemia treatment) Ceplene and initiated partnership dialogues with several companies interested in marketing this product. We are seeking to finalize negotiations and to launch Ceplene commercially as quickly as possible.”

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 4:49 pm |
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IBM helping hospitals with tech projects

February
27

IBM Corp. is helping U.S. hospitals improve their health care technolgy at a time when the federal stimulus package provides $19 billion of additional funding for such investments.

The Armonk-based computer services giant announced new agreements with four hopsitals this week, including an IBM system at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., in which doctors are notified electronically when lab results indicate a critical situation for patients.

In addition, Trillium Health Centre in Canada is using IBM systems to provide data on patient length of stay, patient safety, staff retention and budgets.

IBM estimated that it is helping more than 1,000 hospitals worldwide on tech projects that include electronic medical records.

Such spending is likely to accelerate as a result of the economic stimulus package, recently signed into law by President Barack Obama. The legislation included grants and incentives for health care providers to develop electronic medical records, implement new tech systems and boost efficiencies.

“Now is an important time for industry leaders to step up and contribute to health care reform and transformation,” said Dan Pelino, general manager of IBM Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry. “To accelerate achievement of such goals, IBM is teaming with our many business partners, alliances and key clients” to invest in new health care technologies.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, February 27th, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
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Consumer Reports unveils top auto picks

February
26

Yonkers-based Consumer Reports has named the Toyota Highlander and the Chevrolet Avalanche as its top choices for midsized sports utility vehicles and pickups. The Toyota Prius remained the magazine’s favorite in the “green” car category for the sixth straight year. The Prius’s 44 overall mpg was the best Consumer Reports measured in a five-passenger car. These are among the “Top Picks for 2009” that are part of Consumer Reports’ annual auto issue that was unveiled today at a Washington press conference.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
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IBM reaffirms 2009 earnings outlook

February
26

IBM Corp., the Armonk-based computer services giant whose business has held up better in the recession than many companies, cheered investors today by reaffirming its earnings guidance for 2009.

IBM projected that it expects earnings per share to total at least $9.20 in 2009 — with a relatively flat performance in the first quarter, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The forecast matches the guidance that the company gave in January.

“Regarding the services business, quarter-to-date the company has had year-to-year growth in signings, with strong double-digit growth in long term signings,” the SEC filing read. “Recognizing that it is still early in the quarter, the company expects double-digit growth in long term signings, and growth in total signings in first quarter 2009.”

IBM, which had a cash balance of nearly $13 billion at the end of last year, said that it is is repurchasing its shares in the open market.

In another development, IBM said it has signed a contract extension to provide information technology services to Primagaz, an energy company in France. Under the five-year extension, Armonk-based IBM will manage data processing systems for Primagaz. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Shares of IBM rose $2.96 to $88.86 in trading today on the New York Stock Exchange.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
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PepsiCo sells $1 billion of notes

February
26

PepsiCo Inc., the Purchase-based beverage and snack food giant, sold $1 billion of notes as it became the latest major company to raise capital in the credit markets, according to a company filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The 3.75 percent senior notes will mature in 2014. Interest payment dates are scheduled semi-annually on March 1 and Sept. 1, starting on the latter date this year.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
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Regeneron reports wider 4Q loss

February
26

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., a biotech company in Eastview, reported a net loss of $31.5 million, or 40 cents per share, during the fourth quarter. That compared to a net loss of $13.1 million, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier. Total revenues decreased to $55.8 million in the fourth quarter from $64.7 million a year earlier.

Arcalyst, Regeneron’s only marketable drug, was approved last year for treatment of a rare auto-inflammatory condition known as CAPS. Regeneron said that it expects shipments of Arcalyst to exceed $20 million this year.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
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TAL reports 4Q loss as global trade weakens

February
26

TAL International Group Inc., the Purchase-based company that leases freight containers to shippers, is feeling the effects of a slumping global economy in which manufactuers around the world are exporting fewer goods.

Chief Executive Officer Brian M. Sondey said that a respectable performance in the first nine months of 2008 deteriorated in the fourth quarter with a sharp drop in economic activity and global trade corresponding to the worsening global financial crisis. The end result for TAL was a fourth-quarter loss.

The outlook was particularly bleak in November and December when “many of our shipping line customers reported substantial decreases in the volume of their container shipments, and this reduced level of trade has continued for the first two months of 2009,” Sondey said in a written statement.

TAL’s results provide a window into the health of a complex global trade system that moves products manufactured overseas to retailers. TAL’s fleet of more than 756,000 freight containers is leased to companies around the world that ship clothes, electronics, appliances, frozen foods, building products, machinery and other goods.

TAL specializes in what is known as intermodal containers that can be easily transferred between ships, rail lines or trucks to provide versatility for shippers.

The company reported a net loss of $15.3 million, or 47 cents a share, during the fourth quarter, compared to net income of $3.4 million, or 10 cents a share, a year earlier. Leasing revenues for the fourth quarter were $83.6 million compared to $77.5 million a year earlier.

Sondey said the outlook is uncertain this year.

“For the full year of 2009, our results will be highly dependent on how long global containerized trade volumes remain at depressed levels,” he said. “A sustained decrease in trade growth will lead to lower utilization, reduced revenue and higher operating expenses for 2009, but we are hopeful that these negative effects of the current market will be temporary.”

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, February 26th, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
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GoodTemps wins Westchester contract

February
25

About 50 workers with disabilities are expected to be hired for jobs at Westchester County government offices as a result of a new contract between the county and GoodTemps, a temporary staffing agency.

GoodTemps, a division of Goodwill Industries of Greater New York and Northern New Jersey Inc., said that the job opportunities for workers with disabilities include short-term and long-term temporary positions.

GoodTemps, which operates offices in New York and New Jersey, is one of the largest privately held temporary services agencies in the region. It has placed about 600 people with disabilities in jobs in the metro area.

“The GoodTemps contract is significant because it marks Goodwill’s first foray into Westchester County,” said David Schoch, senior vice president of GoodTemps. “We’re very proud to have been chosen for the assignment.”

The county contract makes GoodTemps the exclusive provider of temporary staffing services to Westchester County agencies. The contract was awarded through the New York State Industries for the Disabled.

To screen applicants, GoodTemps has opened its first Westchester office in the Goodwill store at 380 North Saw Mill River Road (Skyline Drive), in Elmsford. Individuals looking for jobs can call 646-573-8820 or submit resumes to staffing@goodwillny.org.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
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IBM extends contract with French company

February
25

IBM Corp. said it has signed a contract extension to provide information technology services to Primagaz, an energy company in France. Under the five-year extension, Armonk-based IBM will manage data processing systems for Primagaz. Financial terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
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Iona students to offer tax help

February
25

Students from Iona College’s Hagan School of Business are offering free tax help to the public on four Saturdays leading up to the tax filing deadline of April 15. Volunteers will be available for consultations from 9:30 a.m. to noon on March 7, March 14, March 28 and April 4.

The service will be offered at the lower level Computer Lab of Hagan Hall on Iona’s campus at 715 North Ave. in New Rochelle. Taxpayers using this service should bring last year’s tax returns, this year’s tax package, W-2 and 1099 forms, information on other income and information on deductions or credits. For more information, please call 914-633-2267.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
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Gamco to spin off advisory unit

February
25

Gamco Investors Inc. said that it is pushing ahead with its plans to spin off Teton Advisors Inc., the adviser to the Gamco Westwood family of funds. Gamco, a Rye-based money manager founded by investor Mario Gabelli, said that each of its shareholders will receive 14.930 shares of Teton for each 1,000 shares of Gamco that they own under the spinoff plan. Gamco said that it believes that Teton can operate more effectively as a separate company.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
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EpiCept repays credit agreement

February
24

EpiCept Corp., a Tarrytown-based biotech company, said that it has repaid the outstanding principal balance and fees of a $10 million credit agreement with Hercules Technology Growth Corp., a specialty finance company in Palo Alto, Calif. EpiCept added that it has no further obligations under this agreement. EpiCept hopes to file an application seeking U.S. regulatory approval for Ceplene, a new leukemia treatment, during the second half of 2009.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
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Ryogen awarded genetic patents

February
24

Ryogen, a genetic company based in Suffern, said that has been awarded two patents on human genes that could play a role in developing heart disease, diabetes and other serious illnesses. The patents were awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“The patents are important addition to the Ryogen’s patent portfolio,” said Valeria Poltorak, Ryogen’s executive vice president. “We are planning to license the newly issued patents and make these genes widely available for research to promote the development of new methods of genetic diagnostics and treatment.”

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 6:07 pm |
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Nokia offers resignation packages to its workers

February
24

Nokia Oyj, facing slumping demand for its mobile phones in a sluggish global economy, is offering voluntary severance packages to employees in a broad cost-cutting drive.

Nokia said that the program, known as a “voluntary resignation package,” is available to most of its 128,000 employees worldwide, except for factory workers and senior executives.

Nokia said that employees will be eligible to apply for the severance until 1,000 employees have applied, or until May 31.

Nokia said it will also grant short-term unpaid leaves when it doesn’t interfere with its business. The company, based in Finland, has offices in Harrison.

“The response from employees and employee representatives in proposing ideas to help reduce personnel-related costs has been encouraging,” Hallstein Moerk, Nokia’s head of human resources, said in a written statement. “We have considered these and are now announcing voluntary initiatives that could contribute to our efforts to adjust our cost base to the current market environment.”

Nokia, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, cut its dividend in January and reported weaker than expected profits in the midst of a global economic crisis that has eroded consumer purchases of its products.

Nokia also cut its forecast for 2009 with the economic crisis showing few signs of abating. The company said it expects industry sales volumes of mobile phones will drop 10 percent this year, more than an earlier forecast of a 5 percent decline.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, February 24th, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
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ITT to pursue opportunities in United Arab Emirates

February
23

ITT Corp., a White Plains-based defense contractor, will pursue business ventures in the defense and security sectors of the United Arab Emirates as part of a partnership agreement announced today.

ITT expects that the agreement will open up opportunities in communications, sensing, surveillance, space, and advanced engineering in the Middle Eastern country. Dave Melcher, president of ITT Defense Electronics and Services, signed the agreement with Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, chairman and chief executive officer of Emirates Advanced Investments, which will act as a partner.

“The signing of this agreement formalizes a relationship of trust and confidence that we have mutually developed over the course of nearly a year,” Bernard J. Dunn, vice president of ITT Middle East Operations, said in a written statement.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
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Dannon unveils new products

February
23

The Dannon Company Inc. of White Plains said that it is expanding its Activia brand of yogurt products with two new offerings. The new products, Activia Dairy Drinks and Activia Fiber, fit into the company’s stategy to expand further in the United States.

“The U.S. is still an emerging yogurt market, as Americans consume about 75 percent less yogurt per person than people in other countries, such as France and Spain,” said Marc Jove, senior vice president of marketing for Dannon.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, February 23rd, 2009 at 2:30 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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