SOLD: CIM Group plans to buy Farmers Insurance Group’s longtime headquarters in Park Mile for an undisclosed amount. The sale comes as part of Farmers moving its regional headquarters to Warner Center in Woodland Hills. Farmers will continue to lease space from Hollywood-based CIM as it gradually moves more than 1,400 workers to the new offices. CIM did not say what it intends to do with the 10-acre property.
REGULATION: Restrictions on electronic cigarettes in the city of Los Angeles have gone into effect, so they can no longer be smoked at bars, restaurants and other public areas. The council imposed the restrictions citing potentially harmful chemicals emitted from e-cigarette vapors. The local restrictions took effect as U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week unveiled proposed federal regulations that would ban e-cigarettes sales to anyone under 18 and require makers to gain FDA approval for their products.
LAYOFFS: Exide Technologies, operator of a controversial Vernon battery-recycling plant, notified workers of temporary layoffs of nearly all of its employees as the result of an earlier action by regulators to shut down the plant’s operations over air-pollution concerns. Exide said that it issued 60-day warning notices to 104 hourly employees and 20 managers. The plant has been under fire for contributing to health problems in the surrounding area from arsenic emissions linked to its operations.
STEPPING BACK: The Irwindale City Council has delayed a final vote on a resolution declaring the Huy Fong Foods Sriracha factory a “public nuisance.” About 100 supporters of the popular hot chili sauce company came to a council meeting to protest an earlier public nuisance vote that would make it easier for the city to crack down on the plant during the fall chili-grinding season. Huy Fong’s owner has threatened to move the plant to another city or state.
EMPLOYMENT RATE: Los Angeles County employers added nearly 19,000 jobs in March, according to state data. Job gains were led by a rebound in local government services, but also occurred in a broad range of industries, including health and social assistance services, entertainment and construction. A separate survey said the county’s unemployment rate remained unchanged from the prior month at 8.7 percent as more county residents re-entered the labor force looking for work. The rate is down from 10.1 percent a year ago.
FOR SALE, AGAIN: The former site of a Robinsons-May store in Beverly Hills is once again on the market, after the latest in a succession of owners abandoned plans to build luxury condominiums on the high-profile property next to the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hong Kong private equity firm Joint Treasure International, which bought the land in 2010, reportedly has put the eight-acre property on the market.
FAST TRACK: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted fast-track designation for ivabradine, a treatment for chronic heart failure licensed for U.S. sale by Amgen Inc. Fast-track status is granted to expedite development and review of a drug to treat a serious condition and fill an unmet medical need. Ivabradine is an oral drug developed by French pharmaceutical company Servier Laboratories that inhibits electric signals in the heart to reduce the long-term pulse rate.
TOO DARNED HOT?: An L.A. environmental group is seeking to halt a planned Ikea in Burbank, alleging that the massive project did not undergo a proper review to reduce its impact on global warming. The group, Citizens Advocating Rational Development, alleges in a lawsuit filed April 14 in L.A. County Superior Court that the city approved the 470,000-square-foot project at 805 S. San Fernando Road even though the environmental impact report did not meet the requirements of the state’s environmental law.
EARNINGS: Amgen Inc. reported first quarter net income of $1.4 billion, compared with net income of $1.5 billion for the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 7 percent to $4.5 billion. ... Jakks Pacific Inc. reported a net loss of $16.3 million, compared with a net loss of $27.5 million the year earlier. Revenue rose 5.7 percent to $82.5 million. ... Skechers USA Inc. reported net income of $31 million, compared with $6.7 million the year earlier. Revenue rose 21 percent to $547 million. ... Avery Dennison Corp. reported net income of $71.2 million, compared with $57.8 million the year earlier. Revenue rose 3 percent to $1.55 billion. ... Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co. reported net income of $87.2 million, compared with $83.7 million the year earlier. Revenue rose 26 percent to $2.55 billion. ... Cheesecake Factory Inc. reported net income of $22.5 million, compared with $25.3 million the year earlier. Revenue rose 4 percent to $481 million.
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