Comtech unit lands Africa deal
Comtech Telecommunications Corp., a Melville defense-electronics contractor, said Monday that its Florida subsidiary has received a $55-million contract to develop a telecommunications system for an African government. The three-year contract calls for Orlando-based Comtech Systems Inc. to work on both stationary and transportable transmission systems. Comtech, which employs about 1,300 people, did not identify the African country, nor did it name the domestic contractor that hired it. "We look forward to working with this prime contractor and the foreign end-customer on this and future opportunities," Comtech chief executive Fred Kornberg said. -- Joe Ryan
Whitman mall adds new stores
The Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station announced several more stores will open by year's end as part of its renovation and expansion plans. The latest additions include men's grooming store The Art of Shaving, casual apparel retailer True Religion, women's clothing chain White House/Black Market and natural cosmetic shop Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. These shops join other new arrivals, such as Vera Bradley, Swarovski, Henri Bendel, Free People and Anthropolgie, which have already opened their doors. Construction at the Walt Whitman Shops, as the mall is now called, will add 70,000 square feet. -- Keiko Morris
U.S. credit card use up in May
Americans put more on their credit cards in May than in any single month since November 2007, one month before the Great Recession began. But overall credit card use is still well below where it was just before the downturn. Economists say May's increase was likely a temporary response to weaker hiring and poor wage growth and not a sign of sustained confidence in the economy. Consumer borrowing rose by $17.1 billion in May from April, the Federal Reserve said Monday. The gain drove total borrowing to a seasonally adjusted $2.57 trillion, nearly matching the all-time high reached in July 2008. Borrowing has increased steadily over the past two years, but most of the gains have been driven by auto and student loans.
WellPoint to buy AmeriGroup
WellPoint Inc., the nation's second-largest health insurer, will get a bigger chunk of the expanding market of people covered by Medicaid with its $4.46-billion acquisition of a provider of the program for needy and disabled Americans. WellPoint said that it will spend $92 per share in cash for Amerigroup Corp., which runs Medicaid coverage in 13 states, including Texas, Florida, New York and New Jersey. Medicaid, which is state and federally funded, represents a growth opportunity for WellPoint and other big U.S. insurers. States are starting to move residents who qualify for both Medicaid and Medicare, which is a federally funded program for people over age 65 and the disabled, into managed care programs that coordinate care. These so-called "dual eligible" patients often have chronic or expensive medical conditions. States want to improve their care and cut wasteful spending.
Alcoa Inc. reports $2M loss
Aluminum manufacturer Alcoa Inc. says it lost $2 million in the second-quarter as revenue dropped due to weaker prices and declining demand in the slowing global economy. Alcoa on Monday posted break-even earnings per share, compared with 28 cents per share a year ago. Excluding one-time items, Alcoa's earnings were 6 cents per share. Revenue fell 9 percent to $5.96 billion. The aluminum industry has faced challenges as some European countries slide into recession and growth slows in the United States and China. Alcoa's performance reflects broader economic trends because aluminum is used in a wide range of products. -- AP