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Ex-BP exec Nat'l Grid candidate

A former chief executive of the U.K.-based global petroleum firm BP Plc, John Browne, is a contender to become chairman of the board of National Grid, the Sunday Times of London reported. National Grid did not respond yesterday to a request for comment. Browne quit BP in 2007 amid a personal scandal that also involved allegations of misuse of company resources. Browne's resignation came after a string of problems for BP, including a 2006 U.S. government investigation into whether BP had tried to corner the propane market; a grand jury probe into the spill of 6,400 barrels of oil in Alaska the same year; and a Texas refinery explosion that killed 15 people the previous year. If selected, he would replace National Grid chairman John Parker. A decision on who will take Parker's place will probably come in July, the Sunday Times said. National Grid supplies a U.S. customer base on Long Island, in upstate and western New York State, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire. -- JOSEPH MALLIA

Great Neck bank expanding

Community National Bank plans to open a new branch in Melville this summer, the Great Neck-based bank announced this month. The 3,900-square-foot branch will be at Rubies Corporate Plaza on Route 110, and will be the bank's ninth. The bank currently has six branches in Nassau County, one in Suffolk County and plans to open one in Bayside, Queens, later this month. The new branch will include a lobby open six days a week, an ATM and drive-thru banking. The bank's first-quarter profits grew 365 percent to $623,000 compared to the same quarter in 2010, the bank reported last month. It expanded its commercial loan portfolio to $205.2, a $37.3-million increase over the first quarter last year. The new branch will be going into a new 135,000-square-foot building whose first tenant -- GM Advisory Group -- began its lease this month. Two other tenants, Northwestern Mutual Insurance and a restaurant called Jewel also will be leasing space, said Kathleen Giamo, leasing consultant for the building's owner, Queens-based Broadhollow Associates. -- TED PHILLIPS

NPD branches out in Ireland

The NPD Group, the Port Washington-based market research company, has opened an office in Ireland with an initial workforce of 20 that, within a few years, it hopes will grow to 100 people. The new office is in the central Ireland city of Athlone, midway between Galway and Dublin. The company described the Ireland office as a global information technology and operations center. NPD is a leading provider of retail and customer data and trends. The Athlone office "is designed to play an integral part in the company's Global IT / Operations vision and is part of its overall plan for introducing a new state-of-the-art data management system," NPD said. The planned 80 new jobs in Athlone will be in data classification, data analytics, quality assurance, and software development. -- JOSEPH MALLIA


Tech, European debt hit stocks

Technology company troubles and renewed concerns about Europe's debt dragged stocks lower for a second day. European finance ministers approved $110 billion in rescue loans to Portugal yesterday, but have yet to decide on a second rescue package for Greece. Technology companies sustained the largest losses in Monday trading. Yahoo! Inc. and Inc. fell by more than 4 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 47.38 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 12,548.37. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 8.30 points, or 0.26 percent, to 1,329.47. The Nasdaq fell 46.16, or 1.63 percent, to 2,782.31. Commodity prices were mostly lower. Oil prices fell $2.28 to settle at $97.37 a barrel yesterday as worries eased that Mississippi River flooding could disrupt refineries and slow demand. -- AP

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