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Business news briefs — July 17


OSHA cites Stow company

The federal government is seeking a $131,320 fine on nonferrous metal company Specialty Metals Processing Inc. on Seasons Road in Stow for five business violations.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the violations include three failure-to-abate citations for not administering an effective hearing conservation program and implementing procedures to control hazardous energy.

The company is looking into the matter and intends to meet with OSHA, said Becky Miniea, co-owner of Specialty Metals. “We’re committed to a safe and healthy workplace,” she said.

The proposed fines stem from an inspection in January. OSHA said it found that the company had not completed a program addressing noise levels stemming from three previously cited violations. OSHA said the company failed to develop adequate energy control procedures and make inspections to ensure workers followed procedures.

Specialty Metals Processing has 15 days to pay the fines, request an informal conference or contest the findings.

Allstate sells unit

Allstate Corp., the largest publicly traded U.S. auto and home insurer with a regional office based in Hudson, said it is selling Lincoln Benefit Life Co. and will stop issuing fixed annuities at the end of this year as it seeks to limit risk at its life unit.

Resolution Life Holdings Inc. will buy Lincoln Benefit for $600 million, Northbrook, Ill.-based Allstate said. The deal will reduce the amount of capital Allstate Financial, the insurer’s life unit, will have to hold by about $1 billion and generate cash proceeds of approximately $785 million, including tax benefits.

“This will sharpen Allstate Financial’s focus on the Allstate agency channel,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas Wilson said in the statement. “This action also advances Allstate’s key priorities, including reducing exposure to spread-based business and interest rates.”

Insurers have sought to sell life and annuities assets as low interest rates pressure returns. Axa SA agreed in April to sell a U.S. life unit to Protective Life Corp. as part of a $1.06 billion transaction. Sun Life Financial Inc. announced a deal last year to sell its U.S. annuity business for $1.35 billion.

Summa Foundation leader

Summa Health System has named Phylis Ferrara the new president and chief development officer for Summa Foundation.

Ferrara is joining Summa on Aug. 12 from Cleveland-based University Hospitals Health System, where she has served for nearly nine years as vice president of institutional relations and development.

She replaces Shane Seymour, who recently left Summa.

In her new role, Ferrara will oversee the strategic direction and operations of the development division of Summa Foundation, the nonprofit health system’s fundraising arm. Her salary wasn’t disclosed.


Subway founder ill

Fred DeLuca, president and co-founder of Subway, is being treated for leukemia. Closely held Subway, based in Milford, Conn., is owned by Doctor’s Associates Inc. DeLuca, 65, on July 15 sent a voice mail to Subway franchisees and staff at headquarters to tell them about his diagnosis. DeLuca said in February he planned to reach 50,000 sandwich shops in four years as Subway speeds growth abroad. In 1965, DeLuca opened the first Subway in Bridgeport, Conn. Since then, the chain has expanded through franchising and has more than 39,600 units in about 100 countries.


Ohio plants cited

A handful of U.S. nuclear reactors may be at risk for early retirement as aging plants face higher costs, lower demand and a drop in prices for the competing natural gas fuel, according to a Vermont Law School report. Sites including Entergy Corp.’s Indian Point, Dominion Resources Inc.’s Millstone and Constellation Energy Group Inc.’s Nine Mile Point, among the largest reactors in the U.S. Northeast, are at the highest risk for shutdown, according to the report from the law school’s Institute for Energy and the Environment, which focuses on energy law and policy.

The report said Ohio’s Davis-Besse plant was among 12 “at greatest risk of early retirement.” The FirstEnergy plant in Perry was among 38 reactors in 23 states listed as “at risk.”


PNC sees profit hike

PNC Financial Services Group Inc., the second-largest U.S. regional bank, said second-quarter profit more than doubled as fee revenue surged and the firm set aside less for bad loans. Net income climbed to $1.12 billion, or $1.99 a share, from $546 million, or 98 cents, a year earlier, the Pittsburgh-based bank said.

Compiled from staff and wire reports


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