LOCAL BUSINESS

Key Building sold in Akron

The high bid for the historic Key Building in downtown Akron was $1.2 million in an online auction Wednesday.

The sale of the building, which is nearly 70 percent vacant, is subject to various conditions.

The auction had a reserve contingency, meaning the seller reserved the right to accept or decline the final bid. The starting bid amount, set before the auction began Monday, was $600,000.

An official with the online auction site, www.auction.com, had said previously that the buyer’s identity would not be disclosed until the deal closes.

The seller is a Bethesda, Md., real estate company that handles so-called distressed properties.

The 11-story building at 159 S. Main St. lost two major tenants in 2011 and was foreclosed on last year. Last June, the bank that foreclosed bought it back at a sheriff’s auction, making what is called a “plaintiff bid.” That means no cash was paid. At the time, the property was appraised for about $9.5 million for tax purposes. The Maryland company then took over ownership and management.

The building was owned by a group of local investors at the time of the foreclosure.

Mall owner plans to grow

Westfield Group, the world’s biggest shopping mall operator by assets including Westfield Belden Village in Jackson Township, plans to increase investments in the United States and United Kingdom to take advantage of rising retail demand, co-chief Executive Officer Peter Lowy said.

The company expects 60 percent of its interests in projects to be in the U.S. and U.K. in about four years, from about 55 percent now, Lowy said.

Westfield reported an 18 percent jump in 2012 net income to $1.76 billion, driven by an increase in real estate management fees and project income. The company recorded net operating income growth of 4.2 percent in the United States, 2.9 percent in Australia and 0.4 percent in the United Kingdom.

B&W makes 4th-quarter gains

Charlotte-based Babcock & Wilcox Co. earned $39.1 million, or 33 cents per share, on revenue of $865.3 million for the fourth quarter. A year ago, B&W reported losing $103.4 million, or 53 cents per share, on revenue of $800.8 million.

B&W’s fourth-quarter finances beat consensus analyst estimates.

For fiscal 2012, B&W earned $227.7 million, or $1.91 a share, on revenue of $3.29 billion. That’s well above the $78.3 million, or 66 cents per share, on revenue of $2.95 billion for fiscal 2011.

B&W’s Power Generation segment, which employs nearly 2,000 people at its Barberton campus, saw revenues increase $36.9 million, or 9 percent, to $448.3 million from $411.4 million a year ago.

Record revenues at Cedar Fair

Cedar Fair LP’s revenues totaled a record $1.068 billion in 2012. But a soggy fall in areas where its amusement parks are located led to attendance drops that dampened the company’s fourth-quarter performance. Revenues in 2011 were $1.028 billion.

For the year, profits were $101.2 million, or $1.81 per share, up 43 percent from 2011 profits of $70.7 million, or $1.27 per share.

The $1.068 billion generated by Cedar Fair’s 11 amusement parks, six water parks and five hotels was the result of in-park spending that grew 5 percent, averaging $41.95 per person and record sales of season passes, which rose 10 percent and for the first time could be bought on an installment plan.

Eaton Corp. raises dividend

Eaton Corp. said it raised its quarterly cash dividend by 4 cents, or 11 percent, to 42 cents. The Ireland-incorporated diversified manufacturer formerly based in Cleveland said the dividend will be paid on March 22 to shareholders of record as of March 11.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Hyundai to settle lawsuits

Hyundai agreed to settle a group of lawsuits by U.S. customers who said they were misled into buying the South Korean carmaker’s vehicles because it overstated their fuel economy.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs said Hyundai agreed in principle on terms of a settlement. The actual amount Hyundai would pay wasn’t disclosed. Kia Motors Corp., which was also sued for misstating its cars’ miles-per-gallon, is evaluating whether to join the settlement, according to the filing.

Hyundai and Kia, South Korea’s largest and second-largest automakers respectively, said in November they would issue debit cards to buyers of about 900,000 vehicles sold in the United States in the past two years to reimburse them for higher-than-expected fuel expenses.

“Procedural errors” at a joint testing facility in South Korea led to the inaccurate fuel-economy ratings, the companies previously said.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.