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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Corning buys Axygen for $400 million

CORNING (AP) -- Specialty glass pioneer Corning said Wednesday it had acquired laboratory equipment maker Axygen BioScience from American Capital Ltd. for about $400 million in cash.

Axygen, based in Union City, Calif., makes plastic consumable laboratory ware and liquid-handling products for research laboratories. It employs 1,200 people, and Hemant Gupta, its founder, will remain in charge of the 16-year-old business as president and chief executive.

Corning President Peter Volanakis said the acquisition will enable Corning to broaden its life sciences division, pushing revenue to more than $500 million by 2011 from $326 million last year. The 157-year-old company, based in the City of Corning, also makes liquid-crystal-display glass, optical fiber and cable, and auto-pollution filters.

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Nurses ratify contract with Kenmore Mercy

Registered nurses at Kenmore Mercy Hospital ratified a new contract Monday.

Local 1133, Communication Workers of America, the union representing the nurses, had been in talks with the Catholic Health System hospital since October.

The contract, which covers 279 nurses, will expire in January 2013. It includes wage increases totaling 16 percent over four years. It also provides bonuses for long-term nurses, increases in health insurance contributions for part-time employees and more favorable terms involving extended sick leave, tuition reimbursement and hospital discounts.

Since the nurses have been working without a contract for nine months, they will be granted retroactive pay raises dating back to Jan. 31.

Nurses overwhelmingly voted down a contract offer in August, citing unsatisfactory pension and sick leave terms.

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Kodak unveils plans to raise capital

ROCHESTER (AP) -- Photography products maker Eastman Kodak Co. says it expects to raise as much as $700 million through a series of financing transactions in a bid to shore up its balance sheet.

The Rochester-based company says Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. has committed to purchase up to $400 million in senior secured notes due 2017. Eastman Kodak also plans to offer $300 million of convertible senior notes due 2017 in a private placement to institutional buyers.

In July, Eastman Kodak posted its third consecutive quarterly loss as the global economic downturn hurt sales of digital cameras, film and other photography products.

Wednesday, the company affirmed its full-year financial guidance.

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KeyCorp receives 'outstanding' rating

KeyCorp's federal banking regulator awarded the Cleveland-based banking company an "outstanding" rating for its lending, investment and service performance under the U.S. Community Reinvestment Act.

The rating by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency covers the period from January 2003 through June 2008 and follows a yearlong exam and review process that evaluated the bank's mortgages, retail and small-business banking, community development lending, investments and service to the community.

This is Key's seventh straight "outstanding" rating, making Key the only national bank among the top 50 with that achievement, bank officials noted.

Locally, Key has lent more than $21 million and invested nearly $35 million to help local projects such as Gowanda's Academy Place affordable housing project and the AM&A Lofts project in Buffalo to convert vacant warehouse buildings into 48 market-rate rental units and 15,000 square feet of commercial office space.

It also has offered free financial education courses to 2,200 individuals, helped 74 people get $220,000 in refunds during a free tax preparation day this year, donated $2.5 million to nonprofits over five years, financed 1,120 affordable housing units in Western New York, and spent $1.1 million through contracts with businesses owned by women or members of minority groups.

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