Airline caterer's plant to open today in Findlay
LSG Sky Chefs, the world's largest airline caterer, will open its new North American frozen-food manufacturing plant today at Pittsburgh International Airport. The 20,000-square-foot facility will supply frozen foods to LSG's North American customers, which include US Airways, American Airlines, Delta and other major U.S. carriers, said spokesman David Newsome. It will operate in the same building as the company's non-frozen catering business, which employs 23 people and has operated in Pittsburgh for decades. About 20 to 27 people will be hired in coming weeks, Newsome said, with about 37 more by 2010. Based Frankfurt, Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Irving, Texas, the company serves 1 million meals a day for more than 300 airlines in 49 countries.
Vioxx awards scrapped
Appeals courts in New Jersey and Texas on Thursday tossed verdicts against drugmaker Merck & Co. Inc. stemming from some of the earliest trials involving its once popular painkiller Vioxx. A Texas court reversed a $26 million verdict against the drug company stemming from the first trial. The court found no evidence that Robert Ernst suffered a fatal heart problem from a blood clot triggered by Vioxx. His widow had won a $253 million verdict against New Jersey-based Merck in 2005, but Texas punitive damage caps later cut that to about $26 million. Also yesterday, a New Jersey appeals court voided $9 million of the $13.9 million awarded to John McDarby in 2006 by a jury in Atlantic City.
Alcoa situated well: CEO
Alcoa Inc., with its supply of raw materials and manufacturing capacity, is in an excellent position to meet increasing global demand for aluminum, its new chief executive said Thursday. "I'm not worried about the future. (There are) more opportunities than we can digest," Klaus Kleinfeld said during a presentation at the Sanford Bernstein Strategies Decisions Conference in New York City. Kleinfeld, who succeeded former CEO Alain Belda, views growth opportunities in Russia, where Alcoa already has two plants, and in China and the rest of Asia.
Comcast site hacked
Hackers took over and defaced Comcast Corp.'s Web portal, leaving a cryptic message on the site that the company's 14.1 million subscribers use to access e-mail, news and technical support. The front page of Comcast.net went down shortly before 11 p.m. Wednesday and was replaced with a note saying the hackers had "RoXed" Comcast, according to postings at BroadbandReports.com. Comcast spokeswoman Jennifer Khoury said Thursday that the hijacking had been reversed, but some users were still unable to access Comcast.net and Web-based e-mail. There was no indication that e-mail or other private information was compromised.
Five area environmental programs were honored as winners of the 2008 Western Pennsylvania Environmental Awards, co-sponsored by Dominion Resources Inc. and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. Winners are: Children's Museum of Pittsburgh; the Southwestern Pennsylvania Household Hazardous Waste Task Force; the South Fayette Conservation Group; Construction Junction; and the Suzanne B. DeArment Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center. Also, Joshua C. Whetzel, Jr. and his wife, Farley, received a lifetime achievement award as pioneers in the land conservation movement in Western Pennsylvania in the 1960s and '70s.
Park sale gets 2nd OK
The sale of Kennywood Entertainment received the consent of the Connecticut Development Authority on Thursday, as expected, clearing the way for the transfer of Kennywood Park's parent to Parques Reunidos. Kennywood plans to complete the sale to the Spanish company on Tuesday, said Kennywood chief executive Peter McAneny. Kennywood owns an amusement park in Connecticut, whose consent for a change in ownership was needed because the state had given the park a tax break in 1996. The Kennywood deal, originally struck in December, cleared antitrust scrutiny by the Federal Trade Commission on May 22.
• Ansoft Corp., due to be acquired by Ansys Inc., reported a fourth-quarter profit Thursday of $8.5 million, or 34 cents per share, compared with $7.9 million, or 30 cents, in last year's period. Revenue for the quarter ended April 30 totaled $33.9 million, up 19 percent from $28.6 million a year ago. South Side-based Ansoft develops electronic design automation software. Simulation software maker Ansys is based in Cecil in Washington County.
Other business news
• Anyone concerned about identity theft is invited to shred sensitive tax and other documents, and learn about prevention at an Allstate-sponsored event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at The Mall at Robinson. The insurance company offers identity restoration coverage. Shred-it's 22-foot mobile shredding truck will be at the event. Pittsburgh police said identity theft incidents increased 33 percent from 2005 to 2007.
• Management Science Associates Inc. of East Liberty said it sold a meltshop scrap purchasing optimization system and dynamic steelmaking scrap loading system to Algoma Steel Inc. of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. The value of the contract was not revealed.
• Allin Corp. of Green Tree said Thursday it acquired the Microsoft Sharepoint Hosting domain properties and related SharePoint assets of SmithBridge Technology Group Inc., of Wilmington, Del. SmithBridge principals Larry Strange and Isaiah Campbell will join Allin.