Originally created 11/28/02

Business briefs



MARKETS

AROUND TOWN

Bank to close downtown drive-up location

Bank of America has announced it will close its drive-up location at 416 Seventh St. in late February.

The bank is asking customers to use the next closest facility at 1450 Walton Way, a full-service branch.

Bank of America did not disclose why it is closing the facility nor what it intends to do with the property.

BIZ BITES

Shopping tips

If you believe you will be too distracted while shopping this holiday season, you should make other arrangements for the care of your children. If you bring them, here are some tips to make shopping easier:

  • Always accompany young children to the rest room and supervise them closely when in a public place.
  • If older children become separated, have them meet in you a predesignated spot. For younger children, teach them to look for people who can be sources of help, such as a uniformed security officer.
  • Leave clothing with your child's name displayed at home.
  • Video arcades, toy stores, movie theaters, or playgrounds should not be used as a baby-sitter.
  • BRIEFLY

    Cigna HealthCare settles suit

    PHILADELPHIA - Cigna HealthCare has agreed to pay doctors and other health care providers to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging the insurance giant underpaid them by the way it processed claims.

    As part of the agreement, which must be approved by a federal court, Cigna HealthCare said it will revise some practices and procedures.

    The proposed settlement would cover more than 600,000 doctors, hospitals, clinics and suppliers around the country, the company said Wednesday.

    Man admits to fleecing clients out of $1.172 million

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A man who enticed at least 23 clients into investing $1.172 million with his company and then disappeared with the money has pleaded guilty to fleecing his customers.

    David Danche, who fled from Jacksonville in December 1998, telling his clients that he was returning to his native France for the holidays, admitted his guilt in federal court Tuesday. He was caught in Africa earlier this year.

    The 28-year-old could face a 10-year prison term and be ordered to pay restitution. All of his victims were from Florida and southern Georgia.

    Crayola erases shift, considers pay cuts

    EASTON, Pa.- The maker of Crayola crayons is dropping the third shift at its Bethlehem plant and considering pay cuts or moving some of its production to Mexico because of decreased demand for some products.

    Binney & Smith Inc. earlier this month halted the third shift at the Bethlehem plant, citing lower-than-expected demand for the paints, modeling compound and activity kits made there.

    The 36 employees affected will be moved to one of the remaining two shifts or relocated to the Easton plant, a facility whose production of oversized crayons for preschoolers may be moved to Mexico.

    Northwest pilots raise concerns on alliance

    MINNEAPOLIS- The union representing Northwest Airlines' 6,000 pilots is concerned that the carrier's proposed alliance with Delta and Continental could hurt job security, income and work rules.

    "We want to make sure there won't be a decrease in flying by our pilots," Air Line Pilots Association spokesman Will Holman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in Wednesday's editions, adding that the union had the authority to veto the alliance.

    Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Transportation delayed for the third time its decision about the proposed code-sharing alliance, pushing the deadline for a ruling back to late December.

    Buffett denies interest in buying Burger King

    OMAHA, Neb.- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Wednesday that he is not interested in buying fast-food giant Burger King despite speculation that he was exploring such a deal.

    Mr. Buffett instead accused investment bankers of spreading false reports.

    "Obviously, there are people, sometimes, who have a financial interest in spreading rumors," he said in a statement released through his assistant Wednesday.

    Berkshire Hathaway Inc., the Omaha company headed by Mr. Buffett, had been mentioned as a possible bidder for the Miami-based fast-food chain, which is being sold by Diageo PLC of London, a company that wants to concentrate on its beverage business.

    Dollar General gains $68 million in quarter

    GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn.- Dollar General Corp.'s net income surged 47 percent in the fiscal third quarter amid a 14 percent increase in sales.

    For the quarter ended Nov. 1, the discount retailer late Tuesday reported net income of $68.6 million, or 20 cents a share, compared with net income of $46.7 million, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier.

    The latest results included about $24.3 million of restatement-related pretax income, primarily from insurance proceeds, while results from the previous year included restatement-related expenses of $9.3 million.

    Excluding these items, the company said it had earnings of $53.2 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with earnings of $52.5 million, or 16 cents a share, a year earlier.