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NYS disaster hotline; other business briefs


State opens disaster hotline

The state Department of Financial Services' disaster hotline has begun operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the governor's office announced. Since superstorm Sandy struck Oct. 29, the hotline had been operating from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends. The hotline, at 800-339-1759, can answer insurance-related storm questions and help consumers file complaints. Homeowners unable to resolve disputes with insurers can also file complaints at /consumer/fileacomplaint.htm. The financial services department has been sending its mobile command center to hard-hit areas to help consumers with insurance questions and is helping to staff disaster assistance centers in many areas hit by the storm. Callers to the hotline can also be directed to the closest disaster assistance center.-- Tom Incantalupo

Kodak to borrow $793M

Struggling photo pioneer Eastman Kodak Co. said Monday it has reached an agreement to borrow $793 million, an important step in letting it leave bankruptcy protection in the first half of next year. The deal is contingent on Kodak's being able to sell its patent portfolio for at least $500 million. The company has been trying to sell that asset for more than a year. In a statement, Kodak says it is "confident it will achieve" that requirement. Under the deal, Kodak would borrow the money from a private investment firm, Centerbridge Partners; GSO Capital Partners, which is a subsidiary of The Blackstone Group; and banks JPMorgan Chase & Co. and UBS AG. Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection in January after struggling to adapt to the world of digital photography.


UPS: No grants for Scouts

The philanthropic arm of shipping giant UPS said it will no longer give money to the Boy Scouts of America as long as the group discriminates against gays, the second major corporation to recently strip funding from the scouts. The UPS Foundation made the change Thursday after an online petition protesting its annual grants to the Boy Scouts attracted more than 80,000 signatures. UPS, based in Atlanta, follows computer chip maker Intel in withdrawing corporate support for the Boy Scouts. The UPS Foundation gave more than $85,000 to the Boy Scouts in 2011, according to its federal tax return. A spokeswoman said groups applying for the grants have to adhere to the same standards UPS does by not discriminating against anyone based on race, religion, disability or sexual orientation.

Hostess shutting 3 bakeries

Hostess Brands Inc. is permanently closing three bakeries following a nationwide strike by its bakers union. The maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread said Monday the strike has prevented it from producing and delivering products, and it is closing bakeries in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati. The facilities employ 627 workers. Hostess, based in Irving, Texas, operates 36 bakeries nationwide and has about 18,300 employees. It warned earlier this month that the strike, by about 30 percent of its workforce, could lead to bakery closures. A representative for the union could not be reached immediately for comment.

Best Buy selects a new CFO

Struggling consumer electronics chain Best Buy said Monday that a former Williams-Sonoma executive will become its new chief financial officer beginning Dec. 10. It's the latest executive move for the Minneapolis company since turnaround expert Hubert Joly joined as CEO in August. Best Buy is trying to reverse a decline in its business due to a weak global economy and tough competition from online stores and discounters. Sharon McCollam, 50, also takes the title of chief administrative officer at Best Buy. ISI Group analyst Greg Melich called her a solid choice. -- AP


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