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Business

Businesses use gathering to open world of opportunity

Joe Napsha
| Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009

Some Pittsburgh businesses and economic development organizations took advantage of the Group of 20 summit to strengthen business relationships by meeting with delegates from the world's leading economies.

Rather than sealing specific deals, local business leaders used the chance to network with trade representatives from other countries.

The summit in Pittsburgh brought Bayer Corp. CEO Gregory S. Babe the opportunity to appear on the cable television network CNBC to discuss the company, Pittsburgh and how the business benefits from the proximity to Pittsburgh-based universities.

Bayer Corp., headquartered in Robinson, is the American unit of Germany-based Bayer AG.

Local Bayer officials reached out to provide assistance to members of the German delegation, but their schedules were so packed that company officials did not have a chance to meet with them, spokesman Bryan Iams said.

Lanxess Corp. CEO Randall Dearth, whose parent firm is based in Germany, spoke at a luncheon Friday hosted by first lady Michelle Obama at the Andy Warhol Museum in the North Side.

Alcoa Inc. officials met with representatives from the G-20 countries this week while they were in New York City, where Alcoa's board of directors had scheduled a meeting for Thursday and Friday, spokesman Kevin Lowery said.

Lowery declined to identify the nations with which Alcoa met, but said they are ones in which Alcoa has business operations. The aluminum producer has facilities in all but two of the G-20 countries.

Alcoa's Corporate Center on Pittsburgh's North Shore was a center of media attention. NBC broadcast its evening newscast from there, and its cable channel MSNBC used the site for broadcasting parts of other programs, Lowery said. Cable channel CNBC also used the Alcoa center.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance showed members of the Australian delegation potential sites for development, said Bill Flanagan, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership and executive vice president of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development.

Allegheny Conference CEO Dennis Yablonsky took Japan's energy minister to potential sites for business opportunities in Pittsburgh, Flanagan said.

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