Salmonella confirmed at New Mexico plant; Westinghouse still in running

| Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Salmonella confirmedin peanut butter plant

The Food and Drug Administration says it has found salmonella in a New Mexico plant that produces nut butters for national retailer Trader Joe's and other grocery chains. The Trader Joe's peanut butter is now linked to 35 salmonella illnesses in 19 states. The FDA said on Friday that Washington state health officials have also confirmed the presence of salmonella in a jar of the Trader Joe's peanut butter found in a victim's home. Sunland Inc. has expanded its recall to include all products manufactured in the plant in the last 2 12 years, since March 2010. Whole Foods Market, Target, Safeway and many other national chains have used Sunland products in their own brands. Almost two-thirds of those sickened are children younger than 10.

Areva's bid to build reactors nixed

Czech state-run power utility CEZ says it has rejected a bid by France's state-owned nuclear engineering giant Areva SA to build two more nuclear reactors at the Temelin nuclear plant. CEZ says Areva's bid has not met necessary criteria to run for the contract, estimated to be worth more than $10 billion. CEZ said in a statement on Friday that Areva may appeal. Cranberry-based Westinghouse Electric Co., a subsidiary of Japan's Toshiba Corp. and a consortium led by Russia's Atomstroyexport are the remaining bidders. The deal is to be signed by the end of 2013. The two reactors would be operational by 2025, bringing the number of Temelin's reactors to four.

Consumer credit up $18.1B in Aug.

Americans boosted their borrowing in August by the largest amount in three months with strong gains in the category that covers auto and student loans and in credit card debt. Total consumer borrowing increased $18.1 billion in August compared with July, the Federal Reserve reported on Friday. In July, consumer borrowing had fallen for the first time in nearly a year. The rebound in August, along with a separate report that showed the nation's unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September, are viewed as encouraging signs for an economy that has been struggling in recent months.

American: Seats on 42 planes fixed

American Airlines says it has repaired 42 of 48 planes that were pulled aside and inspected because the seats could come loose. The airline said around midday Friday that all seat repairs on its Boeing 757 airplanes should be done by Saturday. American canceled 44 flights on Friday after it scrapped 50 flights on Thursday because of the seat problem. Crews inspected the planes earlier in the week and thought they had fixed them. Then on Thursday, American said it discovered the real reason the seats were not staying in place — a pin that locks them into the aircraft floor could pop out because of wear and dirt in the floor tracks. The seat fiasco comes as American is still trying to recover from widespread delays and flight cancellations in September.

YMCA's $11.3M expansion to begin

Construction of the $11.3 million expansion of the East Suburban YMCA is scheduled to start on Tuesday, transforming the 30,000-square-foot facility at 2200 Route 286 in Plum, through a 22,000-square-foot addition, into a 52,000-square-foot YMCA. The expansion is scheduled for completion in fall 2014. Upon completion of the work, the YMCA will be renamed the Sampson Family YMCA in honor of the donations to the facility by the Sampson family.

Corporate pension funding rises

The typical funded status of a U.S. corporate pension plan increased to 75 percent in September, compared with 73.2 percent in August, said BNY Mellon Investment Management. The increase of 1.8 percentage points marked the second month in a row that the indicator has risen and is the first back-to-back rise in the funded status since February. The unit of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. said typical pension assets increased 1.7 percent in value, given a rally in U.S. and other stock markets. Typical plan liabilities declined 0.7 percent.

Other business news:

• Samsung Electronics Co. tipped all-time high quarterly operating profit, likely driven by strong sales of high-end smartphones that offset weak semiconductor orders. The guidance for Samsung's third-quarter earnings showed it was on track to report a record-high quarterly profit for a fourth straight quarter, despite legal tussles with Apple Inc. that resulted in a $1 billion compensation judgment in August. Samsung estimated in a regulatory filing that its July-September operating income nearly doubled to $7.3 billion from $4.7 billion won a year earlier.

• The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States dropped this week by 11 to 1,837. Texas-based oil field services company Baker Hughes Inc. said on Friday that 1,398 rigs were exploring for oil and 437 were searching for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes listed 2,012 rigs. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas lost 10 rigs, Louisiana and North Dakota each dropped by three, and Alaska and Oklahoma were down two apiece. Pennsylvania added three rigs and California, two.

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