TriState Bank repays $23M in TARP money, Verizon fixing email, Alabama steel plant for sale
U.S. Steel Corp. is among the possible bidders for a $5 billion steel plant that German steelmaker ThyssenKrupp AG opened in 2010 in southwest Alabama and now is putting up for sale, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, citing analysts and industry sources. Downtown-based U.S. Steel might trade its mill in Slovakia to ThyssenKrupp in exchange for the technologically advanced plant near Mobile that turns out high-grade steel sheets for car and appliance makers, the newspaper said. Nucor Corp. and ArcelorMittal also were mentioned as potential buyers. U.S. Steel stock closed at $18.99,down 32 cents.
Pa. retailers oppose $7.5B deal
The Pennsylvania Retailers Association on Tuesday endorsed the National Retail Federation's efforts to block a proposed $7.25 billion settlement of a federal lawsuit against credit card swipe fees charged by Visa and MasterCard. Dean Sheaffer, association chairman and senior vice president with department store chain Boscov's Inc., said the settlement does nothing to block the fees that drive up costs for retailers and prices for shoppers. Banks collect swipe fees from retailers every time a Visa or MasterCard is used to pay for a purchase. While the Federal Reserve capped debit card swipe fees in 2011, credit card swipe hasn't been addressed and amounts to about 2 percent of each transaction, or $30 billion a year, the association said.
Verizon works on email outage
Verizon was continuing to work late Tuesday to restore some customers' access to emails that were sent or received before a service outage on Monday morning. About 6 percent of customers with Verizon.net addresses in the 12 states — plus the District of Columbia, where the company provides Internet service — were affected, said Lee Gierczynski, a spokesman in Pittsburgh. Customers have been able to send and receive email normally since Monday afternoon, although older messages and folders created before the outage may not be showing up, he said, adding more details are at Verizon.com/outage.
TriState Capital repays $23M
TriState Capital Holdings Inc., the parent of Downtown-based TriState Capital Bank, said it repaid $23 million to the government that it received under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. Better known as TARP, the program started in October 2008 during the financial crisis and was meant to fortify the nation's banks with sufficient capital to withstand losses in a deep recession. TriState was one of 11 banks in Western Pennsylvania that received TARP money. Bank CEO Jim Getz said TriState used the additional capital to make more than $200 million in commercial loans, “exactly the purpose it was intended.” The bank is one of the last in the region to repay the government. While it held the TARP money, TriState paid $4.5 million in preferred dividends to the Treasury.
16 solar buildings on display
Sixteen homes and businesses across Western Pennsylvania that use solar power will be featured on the 2012 Pittsburgh Solar Tour set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 13. Three Rivers Solar Source, a Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future project, organized the self-guided event. Those who attend will receive information about local companies that install solar equipment, along with details about financial support and public policy. Tour stops include locales in Pittsburgh, as well as Canonsburg, Forest Hills, Cranberry, Uniontown and other areas. Tickets cost $5, for any or all stops. Details: can be found at www.pghsolartour.org.
Other business news
• Precision Therapeutics Inc. and an Israeli genetics company introduced a diagnostic test for determining types of unknown cancers. The South Side-based company said it and Rosetta Genomics Ltd. are selling the test in the United States where it could help 200,000 patients diagnosed each year with Cancer of Unknown/Uncertain Primary Origin. Accurate diagnosis of the tumor of origin is important because newly developed treatments are becoming tumor-specific, the companies said.
• Students soon to enter the work force and other job seekers have a free online tool from the state to help take the next career step. “Pennsylvania Career Coach,” developed by the state Department of Labor and Industry, provides up-to-date local job openings, estimated earnings from about 800 occupations and local educational programs for specific occupations. The statewide program grew out of a similar service the department put together for the Philadelphia market earlier. For details, visit www.pacareercoach.org.
• The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities is now up and running, Gov. Tom Corbett said. The department is the result of merging the state's banking department and its securities commission under legislation he signed in July. Phone numbers and mailing and email addresses remain the same.
— From staff and wire reports