Stories for March 2013
Friday, March 29
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.
First California Bank is laying off 55 employees in its Westlake Village headquarters, a change connected with its acquisition by PacWest Bancorp.
Tutor Perini Building Corp. was chosen to construct a 47-story mixed-use development in Manhattan, the company said Thursday.
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 Group Inc. swung to a profit in the fourth quarter as the auction and liquidation house reported a sharp increase in business.
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
Superior Industries International Inc. has announced a stock repurchase program that would allow for the repurchase of up to $30 million of common stock.
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.
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 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 Aircraft Holdings Inc. announced that John Jumper has resigned from the Valencia company’s board of directors as of March 25.
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 Inc. has acquired a 702-unit property in Arizona for $7.2 million, according to an online trade publication.
Health Net Inc. has won a contract to administer Medicaid benefits in Arizona, the company announced Monday.
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
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.
Agoura Hills tech company Nomadix Inc. has settled a patent infringement lawsuit brought against affiliates of telecommunications giant AT&T in 2009.
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.
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
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 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 the Hospitalist Co. Inc. has acquired two related physician groups in the Wichita, Kan. market.
Consumer electronics retailer Mike Pratt has been named chief executive of Guitar Center Inc.
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
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.
Semiconductor manufacturer Semtech Corp. is selling off one of its product lines to a Canadian company for an undisclosed amount.
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 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
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.
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 Petroleum Inc. plans to sell a shale field in Oklahoma to a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. for $147.5 million.
Shares of ValueClick Inc. rose more than 8 percent Monday after one analyst upgraded the stock and another initiated coverage with a “buy” rating.
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.
Maker of theme-park attractions branches into film production.
After years building theme-park attractions, Gary Goddard is back in the movie business.
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?
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.
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.
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.
aviation: Budget cuts could close towers at four fields, limiting corporate flights.
Federal budget cuts should close the control towers at four local airfields.
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.
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.
Apparel: American brand will sell on country’s Tmall.com 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, Tmall.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The 50 largest public companies in the greater Valley have a combined market cap of $230 billion.
A thrifty business model makes Crown Media Holdings Inc. the most profitable public company in the area.
INTERNET: MediaShift to tap public platform to fuel growth.
A Glendale online advertising company merges with a Wyoming oil exploration company. Result: MediaShift Inc.
RESEARCH: Camarillo firm getting schooled in R&D at Santa Barbara program.
Interlink Electronics has outsourced its R&D to a state-owned university.
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?
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.
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)
Aircraft coatings company Incotec Group moves from Mojave to Lancaster to be close to its customers.
Friday, March 15
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.
Camarillo manufacturer Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. has added two new members to its board of directors who have experience as corporate executives.
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
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 Home has acquired land in Valencia from Newhall Land Co. for a new community, the company announced.
A judgment of more than $59 million against Dole Food Co. Inc. was affirmed Thursday by a European Union court.
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 Inc. received its first commercial order for its components used in photovoltaic solar modules.
Kythera Biopharmaceuticals Inc. announced today that it has named Frederick Beddingfield III, as its Chief Medical Officer.
Tuesday, March 12
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.
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
Audio software developer DTS Inc. fell short of analyst forecasts for revenue and earnings per share in the fourth quarter.
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 Communications Corp. has secured consent from debt holders to buy back notes paying a 9.6 percent interest rate.
Friday, March 8
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.
Software giant Microsoft Corp. in Renton, Wash. has selected Ixia as its official test company for Wi-Fi networking devices.
Thursday, March 7
Semiconductor manufacturer Semtech Corp. beat analyst forecasts for revenue but fell short of earnings per share in the fourth quarter.
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 Corp. announced guidance for fiscal 2013 that predicts significant growth over last year’s performance.
Wednesday, March 6
Sun Valley company MultiCorp International Inc. will receive a $50 million equity investment from Hawaiian energy company Future Energy LLC, the companies said Wednesday.
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.
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.
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 Aerospace is closing its Sylmar manufacturing plant as the company consolidates facilities, a move that will cost 51 jobs.
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.
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
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 Inc. has changed its name to Research Solutions to better reflect the company’s service.
Defunct video game publisher THQ Inc. will sell off its remaining game titles and licensed software in a second dale since its bankruptcy filing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Water supplier in Newhall Ranch dust up
WATER: Newhall Ranch plan to build 20,000 homes inspires a modern water war.
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.
Training: Industry to develop Valley College technical classes.
BIOTECH: L.A. Valley College wants to train workers for local employers.
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?
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.
DVD vendor’s book provides filmmakers distribution direction.
PUBLISHING: Ryan Kugler wants to get your movie on the shelf at Wal-Mart.
Mirabella sees Nordic country warming up to high-price makeup.
BEAUTY: Mirabella Beauty is expanding internationally. Next stop: Iceland.
Landlord of Van Nuys apartments keys up automated system.
PARKING: A Van Nuys apartment complex has a newfangled system to cubbyhole cars.
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.
Retail: Sidecca files legal closure notice but owner vows to remain open.
RETAIL: Teen retailer Sidecca fights to avoid a shut-down.
Manufacturing: Van Nuys sporting goods maker to rev up cycling business.
MANUFACTURING: Easton-Bell’s new chief executive has a plan for growth.
Non-Profit: Center for Living and Learning trains ‘unhireables’ for work.
NON-PROFIT: Center for Living and Learning hires and trains “unhireable” workers.
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.
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)
Theme Parks: Dreamworks makes deal to open three Russian attractions.