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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Probable Buffett successor submits his resignation

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -- A top executive of Berkshire Hathaway who was believed to have had the inside track to succeed billionaire Warren Buffett as CEO one day has suddenly resigned.

Buffett said Wednesday that he received David Sokol's resignation letter late Monday and noted that it came as a surprise. Buffett says Sokol, who had been serving as chairman of Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy, NetJets and Johns Manville units, indicated that he wants to spend more time on philanthropy.

Buffett says he learned earlier this month that Sokol bought nearly 100,000 shares of Lubrizol stock before recommending that Berkshire buy the chemical company. Buffett says he doesn't believe those stock purchases were illegal and didn't ask Sokol to resign.

Berkshire owns The Buffalo News, and Buffett is the newspaper's chairman.

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Price of chocolate rising

HERSHEY, Pa. (AP) -- Chocolate is soon going to cost more green.

Hershey Co. is raising wholesale prices by 9.7 percent, because its own costs have risen.

The candymaker says the price increase takes effect immediately.

Consumers may not see the impact on store shelves right away, because many retailers will be able to buy products at the old prices for about eight weeks. The announcement comes just before a popular candy consumption holiday. Americans spend about $2 billion on Easter candy annually.

The company expects most of the financial benefit from the increases in 2012.

It kept its estimate for adjusted 2011 profit of $2.70 to $2.76 per share, on sales between $5.25 billion and $5.35 billion.

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ADDY awards presented

The annual ADDY awards for Western New York ad campaigns were handed out last week by the Advertising Club of Buffalo.

The Gelia firm won the Best of Show award for its Independent Health TV campaign.

The other finalists were Crowley Webb for its Booktoberfest ad for Project Flight; Crowley Webb for The Wake, an ad for the Irish Classical Theater Co.; and the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center and Visitors Bureau for the "Buffalo, This Place Matters" video.

The top five agencies in total awards were: Crowley Webb, with 31 (18 gold, 13 silver); Gelia with 20 (6 gold, 14 silver); Travers Collins & Company with 20 (2 gold, 18 silver); The Martin Group with 14 (5 gold, 9 silver); and Telesco Creative Group with 5 (2 gold, 3 silver).

Individual awards were: David I. Levy Community of the Year Award to Al Klenk of Quinlan & Co.; Alex Osborn Award for Creativity to Jerry, Kevin, Alan, Richard, Tom & Denis Kegler; Advertising Club of Buffalo Service Award to Tricia Barrett of Crowley Webb; and Future Star Award to Patrick Finan of Block Club Creative.

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GM moves vehicles off lot

General Motors has moved about 1,650 vehicles from an Allied Systems Holding lot in Dearborn, Mich., amid a dispute between the carmaker and carhauler.

Allied provided GM access to the vehicles last weekend, said Dan Flores, a GM spokesman. He said GM plans to move about 50 remaining vehicles Allied has at a lot in Fort Wayne, Ind., in the "very near future."

GM sued Allied over vehicles it claimed Allied was "holding hostage." A Tuesday court hearing in Detroit was postponed. Georgia-based Allied has a West Seneca location that was not involved in the dispute.

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No progress in Luvata talks

United Steelworkers Local 593 on Wednesday afternoon reported "little or no progress" on economic issues in its contract talks with Luvata Buffalo.

A one-year extension of the union's labor agreement with Luvata is set to expire at the end of today. The union previously reached agreement with Luvata on local issues, such as work rules, in the talks.

Local 593 represents about 450 workers at the copper and brass plant in North Buffalo.

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