Roundup: Wal-Mart says loss likely from bribery probe; Ford challenges developers to create efficiency app; more

| Thursday, March 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

ExOne posts 1st profit as publicly owned company

Three-D printer maker ExOne Co. on Wednesday reported its first profit as a publicly owned company. The North Huntingdon company's stock jumped 5.4 percent to $32.25, up $2.65, because it said net income for the final three months of 2012 was $902,000, an improvement over a net loss of $2.77 million in the same period a year earlier. The company's revenue surged to $12.7 million, up 370 percent from $2.7 million last year. “We made solid progress in 2012” said CEO Kent Rockwell, in a statement. “The recent technological advances of our 3D printing machines create persuasive economics for our industrial customers, who have demonstrated a growing interest in applying 3D printing in their manufacturing processes.” ExOne makes three-dimensional printing machines and related products for additive manufacturing. The technology deposits thin layers of a material atop one another using a digital blueprint, to produce a precise component or product while using less energy than traditional manufacturing. ExOne's stock has nearly doubled since it sold shares to the public on Feb. 6, when it offered 5.3 million shares at $18 under the symbol XONE, raising $95 million. It closed on the first day of trading on Feb. 7 at $26.52. For the year 2012, revenue was $28.7 million, up 87.6 percent from $15.3 million in 2011. Net loss in 2012 was $10.2 million, compared with a net loss of $8 million in 2011. ExOne was founded in 2003 as part of Extrude Hone Corp., which now is part of Kennametal Inc. in Unity Township.

Study: Women make better corporate leaders than men

Women make better corporate leaders than men because they are more likely to make fair decisions when competing interests are at stake, a new study has found. The study, published this week in the International Journal of Business Governance and Ethics, was based on a survey of 600 board directors. Women in leadership positions are more likely than men to consider competing interests and take a cooperative approach when making decisions, according to the study, conducted by researchers at A.T. Still University in Arizona and McMaster University in Canada.

Wal-Mart says loss likely from bribery investigations

The world's biggest retailer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., says it is likely that it will incur a loss from bribery probes into its operations in Mexico and other countries. The company is working on its own investigation and cooperating with authorities on other investigations into allegations it failed to notify law enforcement that company officials authorized millions of dollars in bribes in Mexico. The investigations have spread to Brazil, China and India. The company said in a filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it will incur costs above the $157 million it spent on the probes in fiscal 2013 and says it is probable it will take a financial loss related to the matters. Benton, Ark.-based Wal-Mart says it can't estimate the loss because investigations are ongoing.

Ford challenges developers to devise efficiency app

Ford wants to help customers more accurately measure the fuel economy of their Ford vehicles to counter claims it has overstated the fuel economy of certain models. Speaking Wednesday at the New York Auto Show, Jim Farley, Ford head of global sales and marketing, announced the Personalized Fuel Efficiency App Challenge. Software developers can access Ford's OpenXC onboard data platform to come up with their own app solutions. Ford is offering up to $50,000 to developers who deliver hardware or software that helps drivers understand the effect of the elements and driving habits on their fuel economy.

Pay-what-you-want experiment by Panera spreads in St. Louis

Order a bowl of turkey chili at a St. Louis-area Panera Bread cafe and it'll cost you a penny. Or $5. Or $100. In other words, whatever you decide. Three years after beginning the first of five pay-what-you-want cafes, the suburban St. Louis-based chain on Wednesday quietly began its latest charitable venture that takes the concept on a trial run to all 48 cafes in the St. Louis region. The new idea experiments with a single menu item, Turkey Chili in a Bread Bowl, available at each St. Louis-area store for whatever the customer chooses to pay. Panera calls it the Meal of Shared Responsibility, and says the potential benefit is twofold: Above-the-cost proceeds go to cover meals for customers who cannot pay the full amount and to St. Louis-area hunger initiatives; and for those in need, the 850-calorie meal provides nearly a day's worth of nutrition at whatever price they can afford.

Other business news

• The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Wednesday that it plans to buy a new printing press. The newspaper, owned by Toledo, Ohio-based Block Communications Inc., did not disclose the cost. The P-G said the new press will allow it to achieve greater efficiency.

— Staff and wire reports

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