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Business news briefs — Aug. 19

LOCAL BUSINESS

Fair hearing date set

The regular monthly status hearing in the years-long Fair Finance Co. bankruptcy case is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Aug. 27 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in downtown Akron. The hearing had originally been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. today.

Shale meeting scheduled

A private company wanting to burn natural gas from Ohio’s Utica shale to produce electricity in an $800 million plant is holding a public informational meeting on Thursday in Carroll County. The Ohio Power Siting Board will attend the meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. in the fine arts room at Carrollton High School, 252 Third St. NE, Carrollton.

Carroll County Energy LLC, a subsidiary of Boston-based Advanced Power Services, wants to build a 700-megawatt plant on a 77-acre site in Washington Township north of Carrollton. That is enough generation to provide electricity to 700,000 houses. The plant will provide up to 500 construction jobs and will employ 25 to 30 workers when completed. Construction would take two to three years.

The company has an agreement with General Electric to develop the Ohio plant using GE’s gas turbine technologies. It will produce 50 percent of the carbon dioxide and less than 10 percent of the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide that would have been produced by a coal-fired plant, the company said. The plant will capture waste heat to generate additional electricity.

Carroll County is the No. 1 Utica shale drilling county in Ohio.

Advanced Power Services has developed more than 9,400 megawatts of electric power. Additional information on the Carroll County plant is available at the Ohio Power Siting Board website at www.opsb.ohio.gov. It is case number 13-1752-EL-BGN.

LEGAL

Chase settles case

JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $23 million to settle claims that it mishandled pension fund money by investing with Lehman Brothers. A court document showed that the bank denies any wrongdoing but agreed to settle. The lawsuit was filed by the Operating Engineers Pension Trust in 2009. They claim JPMorgan handled its funds recklessly by investing in notes issued by failed investment firm Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Lehman’s bankruptcy filing in September 2008 helped spark a credit crisis that plunged the nation into the recession.

AUTO INDUSTRY

GM has tech plan

General Motors Co. will start offering wireless charging for smartphones in some vehicles next year, said Ran Poliakine, chief executive officer of Powermat Technologies Ltd.

Instead of plugging in cables to replenish battery power, drivers of some 2014 GM models will be able to place mobile devices onto a Powermat surface inside the car to draw electricity. Phones must be capable of recharging via built-in technology, or use a case designed for the purpose. GM, an investor in Powermat, would be the first carmaker to build the technology into its models, Poliakine said. Global shipments of wirelessly charging devices are projected to rise to almost 100 million by 2015 from 5 million units last year, according to research firm IHS.

Toyota CEO might testify

Toyota lost a bid to keep its North America region’s chief executive officer from taking the witness stand in the first trial over a fatal crash blamed on sudden acceleration. California Superior Court Judge Lee Smalley Edmon in Los Angeles said James Lentz might be called to testify in person over objections from company lawyers, who argued that previously made video depositions should suffice.

REAL ESTATE

Zillow makes purchase

Zillow Inc., operator of the largest real-estate information website, agreed to acquire StreetEasy for $50 million in cash to expand its coverage of the New York housing market.

STEEL

Longhi to replace Surma

U.S. Steel Corp., the country’s largest steel maker by volume, named Chief Operating Officer Mario Longhi to replace John Surma as chief executive officer. Longhi will take over Sept. 1 and Surma, 59, will serve as executive chairman until Dec. 31. “Surma’s tenure at U.S. Steel was characterized by shaking things up,” said Michelle Applebaum, managing partner at consultant Steel Market Intelligence in Chicago. “The way he’s exiting is the way he ran the company.” Surma expanded the company’s pipe and tube division, its most profitable, and sold the loss-making Serbian division.

Compiled from staff and wire reports



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