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ROUNDUP: Matthews acquires Cincinnati firm; new hotel in Bridgeville; Grane companies expand; more

| Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Matthews acquires Pyramid, expands in management

Matthews International Corp., North Shore, said Monday it acquired Pyramid Controls Inc., Cincinnati, which provides warehouse control systems and conveyor control solutions for distribution centers. The acquisition, whose terms were not disclosed, will expand Matthews' fulfillment products and services in warehouse management. Pyramid has sales of about $18 million and about 50 employees. Matthews makes bronze and granite markers, caskets and cremation equipment, as well as imaging and product-code equipment. The company employs about 5,300, including about 900 in the Pittsburgh area, and had sales of $900 million in the year ended Sept. 30.

Horizon Properties to build 5-story hotel in Bridgeville

An 84-room Hampton Inn will be built at a site at exit 54 off Interstate 79 in Bridgeville by Horizon Properties LLC of Washington County. Construction will begin in January at 300 Old Pond Road, on the west side of the highway, and include demolition of one of the two Knights Inn buildings — the one never completed or used. Site preparation will take place this winter, weather permitting, and the hotel could be opened in December 2013. The five-story hotel will be owned by Bridgeville Hotel Associates LP, which is affiliated with Horizon Properties. It will be managed by Horizon Hospitality.

3 Grane companies planexpansion in O'Hara

Pittsburgh-based Grane Hospice Care and Grane Home Health Care expects to add more employees to 75 in the Pittsburgh market and 180 throughout Pennsylvania. The two Grane companies will relocate in March to a building at 260 Alpha Drive, RIDC Industrial Park in O'Hara. that used to house Zambrano Construction. The building was sold by the Regional Industrial Development Corp. of Southwestern Pennsylvania to Practical Administrative Solutions LP, a group of private real estate investors, for $1.06 million. Both Grane units will relocate from 209 Sigma Drive, in the O'Hara RIDC park. A third unit, Grane Supply, currently in that building, will expand into the empty space, said Scott Sosso, a Grane spokesman.

New operator takes controlof Homer City power plant

The Homer City power plant has a new operator under contract, NRG Energy Services, after a subsidiary of Edison Mission Energy on Friday transferred control of the the 1,884-megawatt, coal-fired generating facility to the owners. A $750 million scrubber installation project on two of the three generating units is continuing, as are normal operations, said Andy Katell, spokesman for the General Electric Co. subsidiary that is the primary owner. Power wholesaler Edison Mission Energy filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors on Monday, but Katell said the EME subsidiary that leased and operated the Homer City plant wasn't involved in its parent's bankruptcy. Plant workers have been rehired by the NRG unit, based in Houston, he said.

GE sees ‘double digit' 2013 industrial growth

General Electric Co. forecast profit from its industrial segments will increase by “double digit” percentages next year, while growth slows at the GE Capital Corp. unit. Total revenue will be little changed to a 5 percent increase for 2013, GE told investors and analysts at a presentation on Monday in New York. Industrial sales excluding acquisitions are expected to grow by 2 percent to 6 percent, versus a 2012 outlook of about 8 percent, the company said. Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt is seeking to expand profit margins at the Fairfield, Conn.-based company's industrial units while shrinking its financial operations.

Lumber reaches 6-year high as housing erodes supply

Lumber futures rose to a six-year high, extending a 2012 rally that is one of the biggest among commodities, on mounting signs of tighter supplies as home construction rebounds. Prices have surged 37 percent this year, more than any of the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor's GSCI Spot Index. Lumber has more than doubled since January 2009, when the recession and a collapse in the housing market left a glut of wood. Since then, output plunged in Russia while China boosted imports, limiting supplies in North America just as demand rebounds, according to International Wood Markets Group.

Airlines are raking inon baggage fees

Airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees in the third quarter, up almost 3 percent from the same period last year, the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics said on Monday. United Continental Holdings Inc. reported some of the biggest gains. United collected $187.3 million in bag fees in the third quarter, up 10.8 percent from a year earlier. Delta Air Lines Inc. is the second-biggest airline by traffic, but it had the top spot for baggage fees. It has collected $662.8 million so far this year. That's up slightly from the same period last year. Even Southwest Airlines Co., where passengers can check two bags for free, has collected $104.3 million in baggage fees so far this year. That's mostly because its AirTran subsidiary does charge for baggage.

Sprint raises offer to buy Clearwire to $2.2B

Sprint, the country's third-largest cellphone company, said Monday that it will buy out the portion of wireless network operator Clearwire that it doesn't already own after raising its offer price to $2.2 billion. The deal would give Sprint control of a flailing affiliate, one it depends upon to provide high-speed “Sprint 4G” data services on some of its phones. It would increase Sprint's access to the airwaves, meaning it could boost data speeds in coming years. However, cell towers using Clearwire spectrum have poor range, meaning Sprint may struggle to provide broad coverage.

— Staff and wire reports

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