Stories for March 2013

Friday, March 29

L.A. Economy Adds Jobs

The city of Los Angeles added more than 30,000 jobs in February, dropping the unemployment rate by more than a point from the 11.4 percent of a year earlier, according to state figures released Friday.

Merger Prompts First California Layoffs

First California Bank is laying off 55 employees in its Westlake Village headquarters, a change connected with its acquisition by PacWest Bancorp.

Tutor Perini Lands Manhattan Project

Tutor Perini Building Corp. was chosen to construct a 47-story mixed-use development in Manhattan, the company said Thursday.

Losses Grow at Talon

Zipper-maker Talon International Inc. reported higher losses in its fiscal fourth-quarter, mostly due to a large increase in operating expenses.

Thursday, March 28

Great American Reports Quarterly Profit

Great American Group Inc. swung to a profit in the fourth quarter as the auction and liquidation house reported a sharp increase in business.

Burbank Solar Firm Raises $12.8 Million

Burbank solar company eSolar Inc. has raised $12.8 million in a funding round, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Wednesday, March 27

Wheel Maker Buys Back Stock

Superior Industries International Inc. has announced a stock repurchase program that would allow for the repurchase of up to $30 million of common stock.

Expanded Use of Drones Can Benefit California

California has the most to gain in terms of jobs and economic development when unmanned aircraft are allowed to operate in U.S. airspace, speakers at a symposium on the commercialization of drones said on Wednesday.

Lancaster to Require Solar Energy Production from New Homes

New homes built in Lancaster will be required to produce at least one kilowatt of solar energy beginning next year, according to an ordinance passed Tuesday by the city council.

Tuesday, March 26

Easton-Bell Earnings Fall

Easton-Bell Sports Inc. reported a sharp decrease in adjusted earnings before taxes in its fiscal fourth quarter, largely due to a winter season that didn’t meet company expectations.

Wesco Director Resigns

Wesco Aircraft Holdings Inc. announced that John Jumper has resigned from the Valencia company’s board of directors as of March 25.

Sun Valley Wheel Maker Buys Building

Luxury automobile wheel and rim manufacturer Forgiato Inc. has purchased a 52,000-square- foot industrial building in Sun Valley for $4.7 million.

Monday, March 25

Public Storage Buys Arizona Property

Public Storage Inc. has acquired a 702-unit property in Arizona for $7.2 million, according to an online trade publication.

Health Net Awarded Arizona Contract

Health Net Inc. has won a contract to administer Medicaid benefits in Arizona, the company announced Monday.

Capstone Lands Mexico Contract

Chatsworth microturbine manufacturer Capstone Turbine Corp. received orders totaling five megawatts through one of its Mexican distributors last week, the company announced.

Friday, March 22

Airport Towers to Close in Valley

The Federal Aviation Administration announced the closure of 149 control towers at small airports around the country, including two in the greater San Fernando Valley area.

Nomadix Settles Patent Suit Against AT&T

Agoura Hills tech company Nomadix Inc. has settled a patent infringement lawsuit brought against affiliates of telecommunications giant AT&T in 2009.

Unemployment Grows in Valley

Unemployment rose in the greater San Fernando Valley in January as payroll job losses across a wide spectrum of industries took their toll across the county.

Lionsgate Content Added to Burbank Service

Film and television content app M-GO has added Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. to its lineup of studios providing material for purchase or rent

Thursday, March 21

Report: Management Missteps in Telesis Credit Union Failure

Reliance on commercial real estate loans, poor decisions by executives and excessive operating costs contributed to the failure of Telesis Community Credit Union, an inspector general’s report released Thursday concluded.

Kythera Reports Higher-Than-Expected Loss

Kythera Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced a higher-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter, which it attributed to the costs of late-stage clinical trials of its primary pipeline product, an injected drug to reduce chin fat.

IPC Buys Kansas Practices

IPC the Hospitalist Co. Inc. has acquired two related physician groups in the Wichita, Kan. market.

Guitar Center Names CEO

Consumer electronics retailer Mike Pratt has been named chief executive of Guitar Center Inc.

Virus Shrinks Melanoma Cells in Amgen Trial

Shares of Amgen Inc. gained more ground Thursday, two days after the company announced positive late-stage trials for a breakthrough melanoma treatment.

Wednesday, March 20

Valley Home Prices Reach Five-Year High

The San Fernando Valley housing market continued its rebound in February as prices reached a five-year high, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors.

Semtech Sells Off Product Line

Semiconductor manufacturer Semtech Corp. is selling off one of its product lines to a Canadian company for an undisclosed amount.

Cheesecake Factory Hits 52-Week High

Shares of Cheesecake Factory Inc. hit a 52-week high on Wednesday after an analyst sharply rose his price target on the Calabasas operator of casual dining restaurants

Tuesday, March 19

MannKind Files $50 Million Shelf Offering

MannKind Corp. could raise as much as $50 million through a secondary stock offering, according to a company filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission

Buffalo Wild Wings Invests in PizzaRev

PizzaRev, a small fast-growing San Fernando Valley restaurant chain that offers quick made-to-order pizzas, has received an investment from Buffalo Wild Wings Inc.

Chatsworth Industrial Building Sells for $2.3 Million

A recently-renovated industrial building in Chatsworth was sold by Wells Fargo Bank N.A. for $2.3 million, according to brokers who handled the deal

Monday, March 18

BNK to Sell Oil Fields for Nearly $148 Million

BNK Petroleum Inc. plans to sell a shale field in Oklahoma to a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. for $147.5 million.

ValueClick Jumps After Upgrade and New Coverage

Shares of ValueClick Inc. rose more than 8 percent Monday after one analyst upgraded the stock and another initiated coverage with a “buy” rating.

Airport Board to Consider Palmdale Lease

The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners was scheduled to vote Monday on transferring the lease on the terminal building at LA/Palmdale Regional Airport to the City of Palmdale.


Calendar and Events

Moving Into Movies By Design

Maker of theme-park attractions branches into film production.

After years building theme-park attractions, Gary Goddard is back in the movie business.

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Spooning Up Homemade Approach

Munchkin product line lets parents whip up their own baby food.

Munchkin Inc. is selling a kit to help moms make baby food at home. Can it compete with Gerber?

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Air Base Shoots For Moon

Flight research center at Edwards set to be renamed for astronaut.

The Dryden Flight Research Center in Lancaster could be renamed in honor of astronaut Neil Armstrong.

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Buffing Up Transport Service

Valley PR firm Kahn Media puts shine on L.A. Prep.

Kahn Media is trying to promote a company that details and transports cars for appearances in film, TV and trade shows.

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In the Fast Lane

automotive: NetSol Technologies has its roots in apparel retail but is now a leader in leasing software for the auto industry.

NetSol Technologies Inc. started as a family-owned apparel shop but ended up in the software business.

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Sequester Sends Local Airports Out of Control

aviation: Budget cuts could close towers at four fields, limiting corporate flights.

Federal budget cuts should close the control towers at four local airfields.

Ryland Group Builds on Growing Housing Market

Real Estate: Westlake firm turns first annual profit since housing bust.

Ryland Group has turned the corner, but the home builder says it learned some lessons from the recession.

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Scientific American

Peter Derycz used to be a ‘library slave’ in college. Now, his Research Solutions digs up research papers for tech companies.

Peter Derycz went from starving student to CEO of a publicly traded company.

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Cherokee Targets Chinese Market with Website

Apparel: American brand will sell on country’s retail site.

Apparel brand licensing company Cherokee Inc., best known for its apparel lines sold at Target, has launched an online store on China’s largest e-commerce website,

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Senior Living Sale Livens Up Agoura Market

Transaction: Complex on Chesebro Road sets record with $33 million price.

An Agoura Hills assisted living complex has changed hands in an off-market deal worth nearly $33 million – the largest health care property sale in Ventura or Los Angeles counties this year.

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Seeking Alternatives to Defunct ADR Department

Court: Private firms may benefit as budget cuts end Alternative Dispute.

Los Angeles Superior Court will eliminate its Alternative Dispute Resolution Department – the largest such government program nationally – and it will hit the San Fernando Valley hard.

Small Business Lender Gets Its Own Line of Credit

Banking: Utah bank boosts Fast A/R Funding, a retail factoring firm.

Calabasas alternative lender Fast A/R Funding has received a line of credit from a Utah bank that will go toward future growth of the company.

Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

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The Regulatory Wipe Out

Tourist sector needs clean water; housing data debut.

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Pulling Out All the (Bus) Stops

Valley group argues a light rail line should get on track and replace the overcrowded Orange Line busway.

Since 2005, one of the primary means of public transportation for commuters in the San Fernando Valley has been the Metro Orange Line, a bus rapid-transit network of exclusive busways along the East-West Transit Corridor.

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Rethinking Hospital, Doctors Affiliations

There is a growing trend in Southern California of consolidation of hospital groups such as Providence Health & Services and UCLA Health System acquiring doctor’s practices, medical groups, labs and imaging centers.

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Star power: High-fliers Disney, Amgen Lead Local Rise

The 50 largest public companies in the greater Valley have a combined market cap of $230 billion.

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Hallmark Channel’s Profits in the Cards

A thrifty business model makes Crown Media Holdings Inc. the most profitable public company in the area.

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Advertising Firm Digs Oil Merger

INTERNET: MediaShift to tap public platform to fuel growth.

A Glendale online advertising company merges with a Wyoming oil exploration company. Result: MediaShift Inc.

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Interlink Electronics Makes Grade at UC Campus

RESEARCH: Camarillo firm getting schooled in R&D at Santa Barbara program.

Interlink Electronics has outsourced its R&D to a state-owned university.

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Grill Concepts Hopes for Buzz With Gastro Pub

Restaurants: Chain’s Public School eateries seek bite out of market.

Will the gastro-pub format spice up the stock performance of restaurateur Grill Concepts?

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Overloaded Plants Slowing Down Wheel Maker

manufacturing: Superior plans Mexican factory to meet revving demand.

Van Nuys wheel maker Superior Industries is in a hurry to get its fourth plant in Mexico up and running.

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Lean Firms Go Toe-to-Toe with Corporate Giants

Profitable: Crown Media, Cherokee rank highest on return-on-equity list.

Even small companies can give investors a big return on equity. Includes SFVBJ's 2013 VALLEY'S LARGEST PUBLICLY TRADED COs list and MOST PROFITABLE COs for download (pdf)

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Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - March 18, 2013

This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Lancaster Lands Aircraft Supplier

Aircraft coatings company Incotec Group moves from Mojave to Lancaster to be close to its customers.

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Friday, March 15

Power-One Loses Patent Infringement Appeal

Camarillo manufacturer Power-One Inc. has lost its bid to dismiss a patent infringement judgment that is expected to cost it at least $25 million.

Vitesse Adds New Board Members

Camarillo manufacturer Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. has added two new members to its board of directors who have experience as corporate executives.

CrowdGather Narrows Quarterly Loss

CrowdGather Inc. reported slightly reduced losses for its third fiscal quarter as it saw some increased advertising on the Internet forums it operates.

Thursday, March 14

Van Nuys Apartments Fetch $9.2 Million

A 52-unit apartment building in Van Nuys has sold for $9.2 million, or nearly $175,000 per unit, considered a high price for the community.

KB Acquires Property From Newhall Land

KB Home has acquired land in Valencia from Newhall Land Co. for a new community, the company announced.

EU Court Upholds Dole Price-Fixing Fine

A judgment of more than $59 million against Dole Food Co. Inc. was affirmed Thursday by a European Union court.

National Technical Expands Santa Clarita Facility

National Technical Systems Inc. has opened a site at its Santa Clarita location to test engine- and fuel-system parts used in commercial and military aircraft.

Wednesday, March 13

BioSolar Receives First Order for Solar Panel Parts

BioSolar Inc. received its first commercial order for its components used in photovoltaic solar modules.

New Chief Medical Officer Joins Kythera

Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. announced today that it has named Frederick Beddingfield III, as its Chief Medical Officer.

Tuesday, March 12

Earnings, Revenue Down at Smaller Dole

After selling off a large portion of its overseas packaged food and fresh produce business, Dole Food Co. reported sharply lower revenue and earnings in its fiscal fourth quarter.

Ventura County Opposes Airport Tower Closures

The Ventura County Department of Airports has sent a strongly worded letter to the Federal Aviation Administration trying to prevent the control towers at Camarillo and Oxnard airports from being closed due to federal budget cuts.

Monday, March 11

DTS Misses Estimates for Earnings, Revenue

Audio software developer DTS Inc. fell short of analyst forecasts for revenue and earnings per share in the fourth quarter.

Reseda Apartment Building Sells for Nearly $3 million

A 30-unit apartment building in Reseda has sold for $2.9 million, or nearly $100,000 per unit, making it the largest per-door transaction in the submarket this year.

Salem to Buy Back $212 Million in Debt

Salem Communications Corp. has secured consent from debt holders to buy back notes paying a 9.6 percent interest rate.

Friday, March 8

Teledyne Subsidiary Receives NASA Contract

A Teledyne Technologies Inc. subsidiary has been awarded a contract from NASA to provide engineering and technology services for space missions coordinated by the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama.

Microsoft Chooses Ixia for Wi-Fi Testing

Software giant Microsoft Corp. in Renton, Wash. has selected Ixia as its official test company for Wi-Fi networking devices.

Thursday, March 7

Semtech Jumps Despite Missing 4Q Earnings Estimate

Semiconductor manufacturer Semtech Corp. beat analyst forecasts for revenue but fell short of earnings per share in the fourth quarter.

Amgen Declares Dividend

Biopharmaceutical giant Amgen Inc. declared a 47 cent dividend for the second quarter of 2013 as shares of the company traded at an all-time high.

Tutor Perini Predicts Double-Digit Growth

Tutor Perini Corp. announced guidance for fiscal 2013 that predicts significant growth over last year’s performance.

Wednesday, March 6

MultiCorp Receives $50 Million Investment

Sun Valley company MultiCorp International Inc. will receive a $50 million equity investment from Hawaiian energy company Future Energy LLC, the companies said Wednesday.

Simulations Plus Reports Record Quarter

Lancaster software development company Simulations Plus Inc. released preliminary earnings for its fiscal second quarter Wednesday, and the company said it is predicting record revenue.

Sales Tax Measure Defeated at Polls

A proposed half-percent sales tax increase that divided the business community was defeated in Tuesday’s election with 55 percent of voters against it.

Citizens Council Supports Helicopter Noise Bill

The Van Nuys Airport Citizens Advisory Council gave its backing Tuesday night to a proposed federal law to regulate helicopters in Los Angeles County.

Tuesday, March 5

Circor Closing Sylmar Plant, Laying Off 51 Workers

Circor Aerospace is closing its Sylmar manufacturing plant as the company consolidates facilities, a move that will cost 51 jobs.

Former Amgen CEO Joins Venture Firm

Kevin Sharer, former chief executive at Amgen Inc., has joined venture capital firm Foundation Medical Partners as a partner, the private investment company said Tuesday.

Tarzana Investment Advisor Sentenced for Fraud

The former head of a Wells Fargo investment management office was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday for a fraudulent stock-trading scheme that cost investors more than $900,000.

Monday, March 4

ReachLocal Surges on Buyback

Shares of online advertising company ReachLocal Inc. gained nearly 8 percent on Monday after the company announced it was expanding its buyback program.

Derycz Scientific Changes Name

Derycz Scientific Inc. has changed its name to Research Solutions to better reflect the company’s service.

THQ Finishing Off Sale of Assets

Defunct video game publisher THQ Inc. will sell off its remaining game titles and licensed software in a second dale since its bankruptcy filing.


Calendar of Events

Telemedicine Program Brings Third World Online

Technology: Grossman foundation treats burn victims in rural Indonesia.

Grossman Burn Foundation in Calabasas has launched a pilot telemedicine program to explore how Internet video technology can help burn victims around the world.

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Chatsworth Space Expands Panavision Focus

Leasing: Camera maker moves government division into larger Valley offices.

Panavision Federal Systems, the division of movie-camera maker Panavision Inc. that manufactures equipment and software for the government, has moved into larger offices in Chatsworth.

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Around the Valleys

News and notes from around the greater San Fernando Valley area

The Mercedes-Benz dealership of Valencia is in the process of a nearly $5 million expansion of its showroom and service center.

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Getting That Queasy Feeling

EDITOR: Housing worries, labor woes and water wars.

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Market Watch Summary

Stocks were slightly down for the two-week period ended Feb. 27.

Editorial Cartoon SFVBJ - March 4, 2013

This week's Editorial Cartoon by Steve Greenberg

Donations Speed Up at Diabetes Foundation

Events: Exotic cars race to raise money for juvenile health charity.

In one minute and 33 seconds, the Ferrari Enzo made it all the way around the 2.5-mile track.

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Chatsworth Lodging Enjoys Proper L.A. Facelift

Hotels: Staybridge Suites completes extensive $4 million overhaul.

From light fixtures to the front door, Staybridge Suites in Chatsworth has undergone a radical makeover and is ready for visitors.

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Water war

Water supplier in Newhall Ranch dust up

WATER: Newhall Ranch plan to build 20,000 homes inspires a modern water war.

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Burbank Airport Gets Linked Up

Transport: $82 million center to connect field to mass transit.

TRANSPORT: An $82 million construction project will connect Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport to public bus and rail.

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It’s Back to School For Area Biotechs

Training: Industry to develop Valley College technical classes.

BIOTECH: L.A. Valley College wants to train workers for local employers.

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Hospital, Doctor Affiliations Getting Second Opinion

Health Care: Federal reform spurs hospitals to build doctor networks.

Health Care: New federal rules encourage doctors and hospitals to work together. Is a state law keeping them apart?

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Hitting Brake On Carbon Footprint

Simi Valley Ford looks to drive vehicle sales with pollution offsets.

AUTOMOTIVE: Simi Valley Ford buys carbon offsets to make car buyers feel eco-friendly.

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Nurturing Indie Movies’ Shelf Life

DVD vendor’s book provides filmmakers distribution direction.

PUBLISHING: Ryan Kugler wants to get your movie on the shelf at Wal-Mart.

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Looking For Sales Heat In Iceland

Mirabella sees Nordic country warming up to high-price makeup.

BEAUTY: Mirabella Beauty is expanding internationally. Next stop: Iceland.

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Giving Parked Cars a Lift

Landlord of Van Nuys apartments keys up automated system.

PARKING: A Van Nuys apartment complex has a newfangled system to cubbyhole cars.

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Pressing Business

Printing: Harman moves to North Hollywood after 70 years operating over the hill.

PRINTING: The Harman family’s printing press has run in Hollywood for 70 years, but now it’s in the San Fernando Valley.

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Struggling Teen Apparel Chain Faces Shut Down

Retail: Sidecca files legal closure notice but owner vows to remain open.

RETAIL: Teen retailer Sidecca fights to avoid a shut-down.

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New CEO Grabs Handlebars at Easton Sports

Manufacturing: Van Nuys sporting goods maker to rev up cycling business.

MANUFACTURING: Easton-Bell’s new chief executive has a plan for growth.

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Van Nuys Agency Works to Deepen Labor Pool

Non-Profit: Center for Living and Learning trains ‘unhireables’ for work.

NON-PROFIT: Center for Living and Learning hires and trains “unhireable” workers.

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A Real Mensch

Israeli native Amit Kleinberger led Menchie’s expansion from a single Valley yogurt shop to 18 countries. He’s a good guy too.

Q&A: Amit Kleinberger bought and sold companies until he found himself as CEO of frozen yogurt chain Menchie’s.

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Private Schools Flex Financial Muscles at Rivals

Education: New programs, flexible schedules offered to attract more students.

STORY: Private high schools attract affluent students with high technology and flex hours. Includes SFVBJ's 2013 VALLEY'S LARGEST PRIVATE and PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOLS lists for download (pdf)

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Look Out! Shrek to Break Through Iron Curtain

Theme Parks: Dreamworks makes deal to open three Russian attractions.

Why Russia?

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Friday, March 1

Superior Misses 4Q Earnings Estimate

Superior Industries International Inc. met analyst estimates for fourth-quarter revenue but fell short on earnings per share.

Cherokee Names New CFO

Apparel brand licensing company Cherokee Inc. of Van Nuys has named Jason Boling its new chief financial officer.