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Business Briefs

Roundup: ALung receives European OK; CMU's Neon award finalist; more

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

US Airways, American name transition execs

US Airways and American Airlines named two executives to head a transition team to combine the airlines' route networks, labor forces and computer and reservation systems. US Airways President Scott Kirby and American's chief restructuring officer Bev Goulet will develop joint plans “so that we are prepared to begin integration immediately” when the merger becomes final sometime between July 1 and Sept. 30, the airlines said on Monday. US Airways CEO Doug Parker and American CEO Tom Horton said they will chair the transition committee, made up of senior leaders from both airlines.

ALung receives OK for Europe

ALung Technologies Inc., a South Side medical device company, said European regulators have given the company approval to sell its respiratory assistance device in European Union countries. ALung's device, the Hemolung Respiratory Assist System, helps patients breathe by removing carbon dioxide and adding oxygen directly to the bloodstream. ALung said it will begin sales in Germany and the United Kingdom and expand to other European countries later this year.

Slovenian nuke plant shuts down

Slovenia's only nuclear power plant shut down automatically on Monday after a drop in pressure in a steam generator, and there was no danger of a leak, officials said. Slovenia's Nuclear Safety Administration said “all safety systems functioned properly.” An investigation was being conducted and “the situation is under control,” said Andrej Stritar, the head of the agency. The plant was built by Cranberry-based Westinghouse Electric and is owned jointly by Slovenia and Croatia. It went into operation in 1983 and has one 2,000-megawatt reactor.

Gateway at Summerset to open

The first of six three-story buildings in the 131-unit Gateway at Summerset apartment complex in Summerset at Frick Park, in Squirrel Hill, will open in mid-April, with each of the remaining five buildings opening each month, starting in May. The complex at 1876 Parkview Blvd. will consist of 52 one- and 79 two-bedrooms, with the lease-up expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2014, said Kira Schorr, spokeswoman for developers Pennrose Properties and Ralph A. Falbo Inc.

Government selling stake in GM

The federal government has started to sell the rest of its stake in General Motors. The Treasury Department said in a report to Congress that it sold $156.4 million worth of GM's common stock in January. The report says the government has recovered about $29 billion of its $49.5 billion bailout of GM. That means it's slightly more than $20 billion in the hole. GM's stock ranged from $27.61 to $30.68 in January. At an average price of $29.15, the government would have sold about 5.4 million shares. The government owned 300.1 million GM shares on Jan. 1.

AEP to stop using coal at 2 plants

One of the nation's largest electricity producers will stop burning coal at two of its power plants and make deeper pollution cuts at more than a dozen others under a settlement reached with the Environmental Protection Agency, eight states and environmental groups. American Electric Power agreed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, to retire or switch to natural gas two coal-burning units at the Muskingum River plant in Ohio and the Tanners Creek plant in Indiana by the end of 2015. Cheap natural gas and environmental regulations are causing utilities to shut down coal-fired power plants.

CMU's Neon finalist for award

Carnegie Mellon University startup company Neon, which uses cognitive neuroscience to improve online video clicks, is a finalist for an Edison Award. The company could win a prize in electronics and computers, one of 12 categories in the awards program named after Thomas Alva Edison and designed to inspire innovation. Neon is developing a web-based software service that automatically selects the most visually appealing frame from a stream of video to be used as a thumbnail, or entry point to interact with the video. The company was founded on research by the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, a joint program of CMU and the University of Pittsburgh.

Feds to probe Ford problems

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it will investigate problems with stalling or surging engines in nearly 725,000 Ford cars and SUVs. The probe affects Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner SUVs and Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan sedans from the 2009-11 model years. The vehicles can unexpectedly go into “limp home mode” at reduced power, the agency said in documents posted Monday on its website. NHTSA and Ford have received almost 1,500 complaints about the problem. There were three crashes and one injury.

Mylan introduces group of drugs

Mylan Inc. said it introduced a comprehensive portfolio of 11 antiretroviral drugs in South Africa used to treat HIV/AIDS. Cecil-based Mylan said South Africa has the world's largest HIV/AIDS population, with about 5.6 million people living with the disease and an estimated 1.7 million people receiving treatment. Separately, Mylan said it received Food and Drug Administration approval to sell Fenofibrate capsules, a generic version of Lupin Atlantis Holdings S.A.'s Antara, which is used to lower cholesterol levels. Mylan has started shipping Fenofibrate, which had U.S. sales of about $60 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30.

Other business news

• Altoona Regional Health System and UPMC signed a nonbinding letter of intent to negotiate an acquisition deal, Altoona Regional said. In November, Altoona Regional said it had selected UPMC among several companies that made purchase offers. No details of the proposed deal were released by Altoona or UPMC. The two nonprofit health systems are negotiating a definitive acquisition agreement.

• Software developer SAP AG said it plans to acquire SmartOps, a Strip District-based supply chain planning company, by the end of the first quarter. SmartOps' products are used in the manufacturing, distribution, chemical, life sciences, retail, high-technology and consumer products industries; the company founded in 2000 has had a formal business relationship with SAP since 2006. Financial terms weren't disclosed, but SmartOps employees will join SAP. Based in Walldorf, Germany, SAP sells enterprise application software designed to help companies of all sizes run better.

• Maxfli, a golf ball brand owned by Dick's Sporting Goods, Inc., introduced the first six-piece golf ball, called the U/6, the company said on Monday. The U/6 has a large core and progressively dense mantle layers to maintain distance and accuracy, the company said. Maxfli's U-Series golf balls are sold exclusively in Dick's stores and in the company's Golf Galaxy locations. Findlay-based Dick's has acquired several well-known sports equipment brands in recent years.

• The average gasoline price in the Pittsburgh region rose 4.5 cents a gallon over the last week, hitting $3.83 on Sunday, said. The price has risen 30 cents over the last month while the national average has increased 42 cents to $3.72.

— Staff and wire reports

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