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Business in the Burbs

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Archive for July, 2009

Profits, sales fall sharply at Drew Industries

July
31

Sharp declines in shipments of manufactured homes and recreational vehicles continue to hurt Drew Industries Inc., a White Plains-based company that supplies components to those economically sensitive industries.

Drew’s net income of $2.6 million, or 12 cents a share, during the second quarter, fell sharply from net income of $9.2 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. The company blamed the lower profits on a 33 percent drop in net sales to $101 million during the quarter.

Consumers have been reluctant to spend on big-ticket items in a slow economy marked by job insecurity and rising unemployment. That reduction in consumer spending contributed to a 44 percent drop in industry-wide wholesale shipments of travel trailers and 43 percent decrease in industry-wide production of manufactured homes during the quarter.

The slowdown has had ripple effects on parts suppliers such as Drew.

“Last year at this time many of our customers began to significantly cut back production schedules in response to lower demand from dealers,” Jason Lippert, president and chief executive officer of Drew’s subsidiaries, Lippert Components and Kinro. “While there are uncertainties, it appears that many of our customers will continue to produce five days a week for the next couple of months. Beyond that it is difficult to anticipate demand, particularly during the winter months.”

Drew said that it has responded to the challenging economy by cutting costs through plant consolidations, work force reductions and efficiency gains within its operating units.

The cost reduction moves boosted second quarter results by more than $2 million and and are expected to lead to full-year savings of nearly $10 million, according to the company.

Drew also reduced its total debt by more than $5 million to a total of $1 million.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
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Starwood sells San Francisco hotel for $90 million

July
31

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. of White Plains said that it sold its W hotel in San Francisco to Keck Seng Investments Limited in Hong Kong for $90 million. Starwood, whose network includes nearly 1,000 hotels in 100 countries, said that it also agreed to a management contract to continue operating the San Francisco hotel as a W.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
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AFP Imaging sells unit to Italian company

July
31

AFP Imaging Corp., an Elmsford-based supplier of medical imaging systems, said that it sold its Italian Quantitative Radiology subsidiary to Cefla Capital Services SpA in a stock transaction.

Cefla’s dental group, based in Imola, Italy, is a major manufacturer of dental equipment. AFP said that it will use the proceeds from the sale to reduce debt, increase working capital and better position the company for expansion. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
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Profits rise at Spar in 2Q

July
31

Spar Group Inc., a marketing services company based in Tarrytown, reported net income of $236,000, or 1 cent a share during the second quarter, up from net income of $3,000 a year earlier.

Revenues fell to $13.5 million from $18.9 million a year earlier.

“Second quarter revenues continued to be affected by weak global economic conditions, with our overseas operations experiencing the greater impact,” Gary Raymond, president and chief executive officer, said in a written statement.

He added that management last year took steps to cut costs in response to the sluggish business outlook.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 1:33 pm |
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IBM signs 5-year contract with Amtrak

July
31

IBM Corp. said that it has signed a five-year contract to provide information technology services to Amtrak, the passenger train operator.

Amtrak, which employs 19,000 workers and transports more than 28.7 million passengers annually, will receive help with data center services, including mainframes, servers and security, from Armonk-based IBM.

IBM also will support the infrastructure for Amtrak’s reservation system that handles ticket orders through the Web, telephone, and ticket counters. The contract continues a relationship between IBM and Amtrak that dates back to 1994. Financial details of the contract were not disclosed.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
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Marketing officer named at PepsiCo Americas Beverages

July
31

PepsiCo Americas Beverages named Jill Beraud as its chief marketing officer and president-joint ventures. Beraud most recently served as global chief marketing officer for parent company PepsiCo in Purchase.

In her new position, Beraud will be responsible for marketing in North America and Latin America, as well as PepsiCo’s beverage joint ventures in North America that include partnerships with Unilever in ready-to-drink teas and Starbucks in coffee. Earlier in her career, she worked for 13 years at Limited Brands, including a stint as chief marketing officer of its Victoria’s Secret brand.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 31st, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
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Workshop on business plans to be held Aug. 5

July
30

Michael Marinaccio, dean of the School of Business at Monroe College, will present a free workshop on writing business plans and sticking to them on Aug. 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The event will be sponsored by the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Cross Cultural Solutions at Two Clinton Place in New Rochelle. On street parking is available. Attendees will have time to network and light refreshments will be served. Reservations are requested but not required and can be made by calling 914-632-5700.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 3:44 pm |
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Earnings rise at BioScrip in 2Q

July
30

BioScrip Inc., an Elmsford-based pharmacy benefits manager, reported net income of $4.4 million, or 11 cents a share, during the second quarter. That was up from net income of $1.6 million, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenues dropped to $328.7 million from $348.4 million a year earlier. This company said the higher earnings were partly driven by an improved product mix, efforts to control costs and a reduction in customer debt problems.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
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Earnings fall at Acadia Realty Trust in 2Q

July
30

Acadia Realty Trust, a White Plains real estate investment trust that specializes in retail shopping centers, felt the effects of a slower economy during the second quarter.

Acadia said that earnings per share from continuing operations dropped to 18 cents during the quarter, down from 30 cents a year earlier. Funds from operations slipped to 30 cents a share from 38 cents a year earlier as the company faced lower occupancy and declining rents.

The slowdown in consumer spending and store closings have put pressure on real estate companies across the company that focus on retail properties.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 2:34 pm |
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Earnings fall sharply at Universal American

July
30

Universal American Corp., a Rye Brook-based health insurer, reported a sharp drop in profits during the second quarter as it faced investment losses and costs related to a complicated restructuring of its business.

Net income of $4.9 million, or 6 cents a share, dropped from net income of $28.4 million, or 32 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenues were nearly unchanged at $1.2 billion.

Universal American has not escaped fallout from the global financial crisis. The company disclosed last year that it had been hurt by exposure to troubled subprime mortgage investments and Lehman Brothers, the Manhattan-based investment bank that filed for bankruptcy in September.

During the second quarter, the company disclosed that it faced $3.5 million of pretax losses on securities sold and also recorded an additional $4.5 million of impairments.

The company said that it is pursuing a strategy to restructure its investment portfolio to reduce “credit and concentration exposures.” Universal American added that it transferred more than $450 million of assets to a reinsurer — a company that provides insurance to other insurance companies — in connection with the reinsurance of the life and annuity business.

Richard A. Barasch, chairman and chief executive officer, said the company’s core health care businesses continue to perform well. Membership in the company’s Medicare Advantage HMO health plans jumped 16.8 percent to 63,400 members.

The company added that it is taking steps to prepare the company for possible changes that may result from the approval of a health care reform plan in Congress.

“Although we do not yet know exactly what all of the changes will be, we are building and refining the skill sets that are necessary to continue to offer products and services of value to our members,” Barasch said.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Thursday, July 30th, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
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New restaurant to open in Yonkers

July
29

A new restaurant, The Gas Light Ale House, is expected to open at 1 Van Der Donck Street in Yonkers after renovations to the space are completed. The restaurant, owned by Westside Hospitality Group, will feature a contemporary American menu along with wines and beer. The manager will be Nicky Sarro, a Yonkers native and a veteran of the restaurant industry. The lease of the space was handled by Houlihan & O’Malley Real Estate Services.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
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Pace students participate in IBM online forum

July
29

Students from Pace University in Pleasantville recently were among the nearly 2,000 students and faculty from more than 200 universities in 40 countries that took part in the Smarter Planet University Jam. The event, coordinated by Armonk-based IBM Corp., was on online forum in which students discussed their ideas for a better world.

A poll held in conjunction with the event found that 80 percent of the students want universities to revamp traditional learning environments, 90 percent want to join or start a green advocacy group on campus and 64 percent of students believe that the world has a chance to reverse carbon emissions by 2025.

“This kind of free-flowing forum is extremely vital to the sustainability movement, where far too often good ideas are never shared or worse, never listened to,” said Taylor Vogt, a political science student at Pace. “I was proud to be a part of this experience.”

Posted by Jay Loomis on Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 at 2:08 pm |
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AboveNet extends lease in White Plains

July
28

AboveNet Communications Inc., a telecommunications company that provides high-speed data links, said that it has signed a 10-year lease to remain at its White Plains headquarters at 360 Hamilton Ave.

 The company occupies 32,000 square feet in the downtown building owned by Reckson, a division of SL Green. AboveNet’s system delivers network and Internet services among 15 top U.S. markets and London.

“We are pleased to continue our commitment to the White Plains community with this lease signing,” said Bill LaPerch, AboveNet president and chief executive officer. “The New York area is one of our most important and robust markets of the 15 major metro markets that we support.  Our White Plains headquarters is strategically located to serve the needs of some of the world’s most demanding customers.”  

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
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Cleveland Clinic offers IntegraMed program to fertility patients

July
28

IntegraMed America Inc., the Purchase-based company that runs vein clinics and fertility centers, said that the Cleveland Clinic has begun offering its Attain IVF Program to patients undergoing fertility treatment.

The program provides refunds of 70 percent to 100 percent of patient fees if the fertility treatments do not result in the family taking home a baby.

IntegraMed said the program is designed to reduce the financial risk for a patient receiving such treatments. The Cleveland Clinic, one of the largest private medical centers in the world, performed more than 600 fertility treatments during the past year.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
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Two Spic and Span products to carry EPA seal

July
28

Prestige Brands Holdings Inc., an Irvington-based consumer products company, said that two of its Spic and Span cleaning products will carry the Environmental Protection Agency’s “Design for the Environment” seal. Prestige said the program recognizes the ingredients in these products as safer for the environment, families and pets. Spic and Span Sun Fresh and Spic and Span Citrus Fresh dilutable cleaners are the products that will include the EPA seal.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
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IBM to buy software company for $1.2 billion

July
28

IBM Corp. said that it will pay $1.2 billion to buy SPSS Inc., a Chicago-based technology company that makes software to help companies analyze data and identify business trends.

The buyout values SPSS, a publicly traded company, at $50 a share, or more than 42 percent above Monday’s closing price of $35.09. In trading yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, shares of SPSS soared $14.29 to $49.38.

Shares of IBM dropped 65 cents to $116.98 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The acquisition is expected to be completed before the end of the year if it receives shareholder and regulatory approvals.

The all-cash buyout expands IBM’s presence in the market for business analytics software that is designed to help companies develop a competitive advantage through the smart use of information that can help control costs, increase efficiency and boost profitability.

The global market for such software is expected to increase 4 percent this year to $25 billion this year, according to IDC.

“With this acquisition, we are extending our capabilities around a new level of analytics that not only provides clients with greater insight — but true foresight,” said Ambuj Goyal, IBM’s general manager for information management.

IBM said that the addition of SPSS will allow it to offer products that are targeted at meeting the needs of major industries, including customer retention for financial services, patient care improvement data in the healthcare industry, crime prevention for the public sector and scouting site locations for retailers and manufacturers.

“This technology has also been used in political campaigns to zero in on likely voters to determine what campaign messages have the greatest impact on undecided voters,” IBM said in a written statement.

IBM has made about 80 acquisitions in hardware, software and services since Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano took the reins in 2002, according to Bloomberg News. Most of the deals, including the $4.5 billion purchase of Cognos Inc., have increased the scale of IBM’s software business.

In a second acquistion announced yesterday, IBM said that it bought Ounce Labs, Inc., a privately-held company in Waltham, Mass. Ounce makes software that helps companies reduce the costs related to security and compliance concerns. Financial terms of this buyout were not disclosed.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Tuesday, July 28th, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
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Executive recruiter to offer career tips

July
27

Kimberly Bishop, an executive recruiter and career management expert, will speak on finding a job, recession-proofing your career, and transitioning to a new industry on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at Doral Arrowwood in Rye Brook. Admission is free.
BusinessWeek named Bishop to its list of World’s Top Recruiters. She has been featured on CNBC, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Crain’s, and Money Magazine.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
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Young professionals to network on Tuesday

July
27

The Westchester County Association will host a networking reception for young professionals on Tuesday, July 28 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Elements Bar at 161 Mamaroneck Ave. in White Plains.
Other sponsoring groups include the Young CPA/Westchester chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs and the New Lawyers Section of the Westchester County Bar Association. For more information, contact Julia Salem at the Westchester County Association at (914) 948-6740.

Posted by Jerry Gleeson on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
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Pepsi Bottling Group completes acquisition

July
27

Pepsi Bottling Group Inc. of Somers said that it has completed its acquisition of Pepsi-Cola Bottlers for the Merrimack Valley Inc. The Haverhill, Mass.-based company is a Pepsi-Cola franchised bottler serving northeastern Massachusetts. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The acquisition was originally announced on May 14.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Monday, July 27th, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
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Tech job market in Westchester declines at lower rate

July
24

Job openings for technology workers continued to weaken in Westchester County during the second quarter, although hiring conditions have improved since the start of the year, according to a report.

The Pace/SkillPROOF IT Index, which tracks the regional employment outlook for technology jobs, fell from 45 to 41 in Westchester.

The 8.9 percent drop in the index was an improvement from the first three months of the year when the index fell 30 percent. While the weakening economy hurts companies that sell everything from software to computers, some analysts have said a recent rally in technology stocks may indicate that the outlook is improving.

Manhattan showed a slight increase in tech job listings during the second quarter.

The report’s researchers said it is too early to conclude from the improved data that the slump in tech jobs of recent quarters is over. But they added added that the recent stablization is “significant in its implications.”

In Westchester, computer support specialists was the job category with the best hiring prospects, followed information technology managers and data base administrators. The weakest job category was software engineers (applications).

The index is a joint project of Pace University and SkillPROOF Inc., a Bridgeport, Conn., technology firm specializing in job market research.

Posted by Jay Loomis on Friday, July 24th, 2009 at 2:17 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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