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Archive for April, 2009

MBIA files lawsuit against Merrill Lynch

April
30

MBIA Inc. filed a lawsuit alleging that it faces several hundred million dollars in losses related to soured subprime mortgage investment products because of the misrepresentations by investment banking giant Merrill Lynch.

MBIA, an Armonk-based bond insurer, said that its insurance subsidiary is seeking damages from Merrill Lynch in the case filed in New York State Supreme Court.

“Today’s action is consistent with our intention to pursue all available remedies against those parties whose improper actions have directly resulted in substantial losses for MBIA and its shareholders,” MBIA Chief Executive Officer Jay Brown said in a written statement.

Merrill Lynch, now owned by Bank of America Corp., pursued a strategy to offload billions of dollars in souring subprime residential mortgages on its books by packaging them into collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), according to the lawsuit. That hurt MBIA because it had insured more than $5.7 billion of credit default protection on four of the CDOs based upon Merrill Lynch’s misrepresentations concerning the credit quality of these toxic products, the suit added.

Brown said that Merrill Lynch has unfairly benefited from the MBIA insurance coverage.

“Consequently, we are asking the court to rescind the contracts with Merrill Lynch and require them to compensate us for our payments to other counterparties,” Brown said.

MBIA’s shares plunged 79 percent during 2008 after the company was hobbled by the global credit crunch, a weak housing market and exposure to souring mortgage bonds.

Merrill Lynch declined comment.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 5:12 pm |
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Universal American reports 1Q loss

April
30

Universal American Corp. swung to a loss in the first quarter as setbacks on investments for the Rye Brook-based health insurer offset membership growth in its core businesses.

The company reported a net loss of $13.1 million, or 16 cents a share, during the quarter, which compares to a net loss of $46 million, or 50 cents a share, a year earlier. Total revenues for the first quarter increased 11.2 percent to $1.4 billion.

In a volatile investment climate, Universal American said it suffered pre-tax losses of $8.1 million on its investments, or 0.8 percent of its fixed-income investment portfolio.

A key part of Universal American’s growth has been its Medicare Part D business that is covered under a federal government program that helps subsidize prescription drug benefits for senior citizens. Another business, the company’s Medicare Advantage HMO health plans, reported a 14 percent quarterly revenue jump to $646.2 million.

“Our value proposition to members combined with operational improvements gives us confidence that we are well positioned to prosper in the new legislative and regulatory environment,” Richard A. Barasch, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
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Earnings rise at Acadia Realty Trust

April
30

Acadia Realty Trust, a real estate investment trust in White Plains that specializes in retail properties, reported earnings per share from continuing operations of 27 cents during the first quarter, up from 23 cents a year earlier. Occupancy at Acadia’s properties was 92.8 percent on March 31, down from 94.4 percent a year earlier. In January, Acadia paid $78 million to buy Cortlandt Towne Center, a 640,000-square-foot regional shopping center in Westchester County.

Posted by Mike Bieger on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 2:23 pm |
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MasterCard extends contract with Fifth Third Bank

April
30

MasterCard Inc., the Purchase-based credit card giant, said that it has extended a multi-year contract with Fifth Third Bank. The Cincinnati-based bank, which has $119 billion in assets and 1,311 full-service branches, has been issuing MasterCard products since 1980. Under the agreement, Fifth Third will continue to issue credit and debit cards for both consumers and corporations under the MasterCard brand.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
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BioScrip earns $3.3 million in first quarter

April
30

BioScrip Inc., the pharmacy benefits management company in Elmsford, earned $3.3 million, or 8 cents a share, turning around last year’s loss of $500,000, or a penny a share, the company said this morning.

But revenue dropped slightly to $325.7 million from $327.5 million, the company said.
A BioScrip shareholder said in a letter this week the company should cut costs while exploring a sale.

Anchor Capital of Raleigh, N.C., said in a letter to the BioScrip board that investors have lost confidence in management’s ability to cut costs and operate the company’s assets “at a reasonable level of profitability.”

The company’s shares were trading at $3.04 this morning, up 23 cents, or 8.2 percent. The shares have gained 37 percent on the year.

Posted by Allan Drury on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
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Regeneron reports another Q1 loss

April
30

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc., a drug development company in Eastview, said this morning it lost $17.5 million, or 22 cents a share, in the first quarter, compared with a loss of $11.6 million, or 15 cents a share, in the first quarter of 2008.

Total revenues increased to $75 million from $56.4 million in the same period of 2008. The company said the revenue came from contract research and development, technology licensing and net product sales.

Regeneron is working on new drugs with French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis and Bayer HealthCare.

Posted by Allan Drury on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
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IntegraMed grows revenue, profit

April
30

IntegraMed America Inc., the Purchase company that runs vein clinics and fertility centers, said this morning its first-quarter profit rose to $920,000 from $621,000.

On a per-share basis, the company earned 10 cents in this year’s quarter, compared with 7 cents last year.

Revenues rose to $52.36 million from $45.61 million.

IntegraMed’s chief executive, Jay Higham, said in a statement released by the company, “Our businesses continue to perform well in a challenging economic environment, reaffirming our strategy of focusing on emerging niche medical specialties.”

The company’s revenue from all three of its business units grew.

Revenue from the fertility center business, the largest unit, grew 11 percent to $36.3 million. The increase was driven by a 7.6 percent rise money taken in by centers open at least a year. In addition, the company got revenue from the addition of new clinics.

Revenues from IntegraMed’s vein clinics business grew 22.7 to $10.8 million compared to $8.8 million in the year-ago quarter.

Consumer services revenue grew 30 percent to $5.2 million.

Posted by Allan Drury on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
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Job skills workshop set in White Plains Thursday

April
29

Westchester County will host a free workshop, “Developing Job Skills in Hard Times: Alternative Ways to Career Success,” Thursday, April 30 at 4:30 p.m. at the YWCA of White Plains and Northern Westchester, 515 North St., White Plains.
Employment experts will discuss such topics as volunteer work that can lead to a paying job, opting for a vocational trade, and opening your own business. The Westchester County One Stop Employment Center, BOCES, the Women’s Enterprise Development Center and JobStar at Westchester Community College will provide speakers.
For more information, call (914) 995-2476 or e-mail mal6@westchestergov.com. A light supper will be served.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
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Tompkins Financial sees higher 1Q profit

April
29

Tompkins Financial Corp. of Ithaca, the owner of Mahopac National Bank and Tompkins Trustco, said it had first-quarter net income of $7.74 million, or 79 cents a share, on net interest income of $25.9 million. For the comparable quarter a year earlier, it had net income of $7.54 million, or 77 cents a share, on net interest income of $19.7 million.
The higher numbers partially reflect Tompkins’ acquisition in May 2008 of the parent company of Sleepy Hollow Bank, which was merged into Mahopac National.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
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IBM signs $4.2 million technology contract with Amway GmbH

April
29

IBM Corp. has extended a $4.2 million technology outsourcing contract with Amway GmbH for an additional three years. Amway, a direct selling company, has outsourced part of its technology infrastructure work in Germany to Armonk-based IBM since 2004. In a seperate announcement, ABC Brazil Bank has signed a contract with IBM in Brazil to install a data center. The agreement includes 36 months of IBM online maintenance and support.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
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Cleaning service expands in Valhalla

April
29

Maid Brigade, which offers home cleaning services throughout Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Fairfield counties, recently purchased a 7,000-square-foot building at 8-14 Legion Drive in Valhalla.

The company will move into 5,000 square feet in the building early next month, more than doubling the size of its previous site in Pleasantville.

The company said its goal is to provide environmentally-friendly cleaning services with such cleaning tools as microfiber mops and vacuums with specialized filters.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
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Citizens Bank opens Pomona branch

April
29

Citizens Bank recently opened a new in-store branch at the Mount Ivy Stop & Shop at 1581 Route 202 in Pomona. The branch, which offers full-service banking seven days a week, is Citizens’ fifth office in Rockland County.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
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Westinghouse Air Brake renews Elmsford lease

April
29

Mack-Cali Realty Corp. said Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corp. has signed a five-year lease renewal for 28,000 square feet at 4 Warehouse Lane, at the Elmsford Distribution Center. Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies Corporation provides technology-based products and services for the rail industry.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
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Labor group plans rally, dinner

April
29

The Westchester Putnam Central Labor Body will hold its annual rally Thursday, April 30 in Valhalla to commemorate workers who have died on the job, and later will sponsor a fund-raising dinner for a memorial.
Five local workers — Wayne Bleidner, Luis De Oliviera, Kenneth McGrath, Bruce Plunkett, and David Vasquez — will be remembered at the rally at Kensico Dam Plaza, starting at 4:45 p.m.
The dinner takes place from 6:30-9:30 p.m at the Colonial Mansion Caterers, 139 N. Broadway, in North White Plains. State Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins will receive the labor group’s Outstanding Public Service Award. Mike Trinchi, the group’s former labor liaison to the United Way, will receive the group’s Labor Service Award.
For more information, contact Carol Craft at 914-698-7988.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 11:50 am |
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Starwood announces revised credit agreement

April
28

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. said that it has successfully neogotiated an amendment to its credit agreements that will keep its borrowing capacity at $1.875 billion. The White Plains-based operator of the Sheraton and Westin chains said that it also pre-paid a $500 million bank loan due June 29 by drawing down a revolving credit agreement. Under the revised agreement, Starwood agreed to upfront fees, higher interest rates and other changes.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
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Nokia to cut 450 jobs

April
28

Mobile phone giant Nokia Oyj said that it will eliminate about 450 jobs globally as it reorganizes its services unit to cut costs and better target its investments.

Nokia said that the changes are also designed to simplify customer experiences and open up opportunites for outside developers of mobile phone applications. Nokia, based in Finland, also announced plans to streamline its internal information technology unit and corporate development office unit.

It was unclear what impact that the job cuts will have on Nokia’s offices in Harrison.

“Where applicable, Nokia will start consultations with employee representatives about these plans,” the company said in a written statement. “All of these measures are part of Nokia’s previously announced plans to adjust its business operations and cost base in accordance with market demand and to safeguard future competitiveness.”

In February, Nokia made a “voluntary resignation package,” available to most of its employees worldwide. Nokia said employees were eligible to apply for the severance until 1,000 had done so, or until May 31.

Nokia, the world’s largest maker of mobile phones, cut its dividend in January after phone sales slumped as a result of the severe economic downturn.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
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ITT to raise $1 billion by selling notes

April
28

ITT Corp., a White Plains-based defense contractor, said that it plans to raise about $1 billion by selling 5- and 10-year notes, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. ITT will use proceeds from the sale for general business purposes, including repayment of short-term debt.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 3:22 pm |
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Foreclosure workshop to be held May 6

April
28

Community Housing Innovations, a nonprofit organization based in White Plains, will offer a free foreclosure prevention workshop on May 6 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Mount Vernon Public Library, 28 South First Ave.

The program will include a presentation by attorney Peter Spino, who heads the Foreclosure Prevention Program at Community Housing Innovations. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions and seek advice. For additional information, call 914-595-0980.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
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Putnam business expo planned for May 6

April
28

The 5th Annual Shop Putnam Business and Home Expo will be May 6 at the Villa Barone Hilltop Manor on 466 Route 6 in Mahopac. The exhibit floor will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. to feature the products of small and large businesses.

There also will be free seminars on “Planning for a Successful Business, Now” from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and “Adjusting Your Business to Today’s Economy” from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. For information on how to participate as an exhibitor, contact the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce at www.mahopcachamber.com or 845-628-5553.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
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Jarden to sell $300 million of senior notes

April
28

Jarden Corp., the Rye-based consumer products company, said that it plans to sell $300 million of senior notes due in 2016. Jarden said that it expects to use proceeds from the sale to repay debt. Deutsche Bank Securities, J.P. Morgan and Barclays Capital are acting as managers of the debt offering.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 12:45 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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