Sales up at Worthington

Worthington Industries of Columbus, which has area operations, finished its fiscal year with flat profit and an increase in sales, with acquisitions making up for the loss of business from metal framing.

A strong fourth quarter, including a 12 percent jump in sales, was tied to an increase in auto-industry orders and continued strength in the company’s pressure-cylinder division. The fourth-quarter results exceeded most analysts’ expectations.

The manufacturer reported profit of $115.6 million for the fiscal year that ended in May, up from $115.1 million in the prior year, and sales of $2.5 billion, up from $2.4 billion.

The 2012 fiscal year was the first full year since the company reduced its stake in its metal-framing division, retaining a 25 percent share of a joint venture. Worthington’s increase in sales was registered despite needing to make up the $335.1 million in sales from metal framing. The company said it did this with acquisitions and by increasing sales in its existing businesses. Worthington has reduced its reliance on the commercial-construction industry but remains closely tied to the auto industry.

“They are trying to find new earnings streams to balance out the volatility they had,” said Bridget Freas, an analyst for Morningstar.

YRC pays settlement

Trucking company YRC Worldwide agreed to pay an $11 million consent decree to settle allegations of a racially hostile working environment at its Chicago Ridge, Ill., facility operated by subsidiary YRC Freight.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Overland Park, Kan.-based YRC announced the settlement Friday. YRC has operations in Summit County.

The EEOC had sued, alleging that Yellow Transportation Inc. and YRC subjected African-American employees to a racially hostile working environment and discrimin­atory terms and conditions of employment at Chicago Ridge. The facility, which closed in 2009, was a former Yellow Transportation terminal.

Under the consent decree signed by Magistrate Judge Susan E. Cox, $11 million will be paid to as many as 324 African-American employees who worked at the Chicago Ridge facility as dockworkers, hostlers, janitors, clericals and supervisors from 2004 to the September 2009 closing, the EEOC said.

YRC issued a statement saying it voluntarily settled two class-action lawsuits alleging discrimination and harassment at Chicago Ridge. The company said it vigorously disputed the allegations and that the settlement does not constitute an admission of liability or wrongdoing by the company or its employees.


Confidence hits year low

A measure of consumer sentiment fell in June to the lowest level for 2012, dragged down by a sluggish job market and weak growth.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell to 73.2 in June from 79.3 in May. Higher-income households said they planned to cut back on spending, accounting for much of the drop.

The report echoes the Conference Board’s survey of consumer confidence, which fell in June for the fourth straight month. Concerns about the job market are outweighing the benefits of lower gas prices.


Lexus has pedal problem

Toyota has run into another pedal-entrapment issue — this time with its Lexus sport utility vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it has told Toyota, which owns the Lexus luxury brand, to recall model year 2010 Lexus RX 350 and RX 450 H vehicles “for a serious safety issue involving potential pedal entrapment by the floor mat.” The recall includes 154,000 vehicles.

Regulators also are warning the automaker that it might face another investigation as to whether the company “met its obligation to notify the agency and conduct a recall in a timely manner.”

Previously, Toyota paid record federal fines of nearly $50 million for failing to promptly inform regulators of defects.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.