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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Rich seeks tax incentives for $3.4 million work at HQ

Rich Products Corp. plans to spend $3.4 million to upgrade and maintain the infrastructure of its world headquarters campus on the city's West Side and has asked the Erie County Industrial Development Agency to chip in some incentives.

The privately owned Buffalo-based company wants to make improvements to the aging Niagara Street building, including upgrading and fixing the roof and improving the electrical and air conditioning systems.

Rich has applied to the ECIDA to help fund the company's investment with state and county tax incentives. The agency will hold a public hearing on the proposal on May 2, with a vote coming up later.

"What we're asking for is a very small percentage of the overall investment we're making," said Rich spokesman Dwight Gram. "It's work that supports the growing corporate presence that we have here in Buffalo. It's further evidence of our commitment to the West Side."

The new project comes on the heels of more than $14.2 million in improvements that Rich has made over the last five years.

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Apple nearly doubles profit

NEW YORK (AP) -- Apple Inc. on Wednesday reported another exceptional quarter, nearly doubling its net income and far exceeding analyst estimates due to the strength of the seemingly unstoppable iPhone.

However, sales of Apple's big new product, the iPad tablet computer, came in below expectations.

Apple said net income for its fiscal second quarter, which ended in March, was $5.99 billion, or $6.40 per share, up 95 percent from $3.07 billion, or $3.33 per share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings of $5.37 per share.

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New AT&T phone deals fall

NEW YORK (AP) -- AT&T Inc. used to draw in subscribers by the millions as the only carrier to offer the iPhone. Now, it's mostly selling iPhones to its own customers, who are trading up from other AT&T phones.

The drop in recruitment from other carriers was made clear Wednesday as AT&T said it added just 62,000 net new subscribers on contract-based plans in the first quarter, a record low. In many previous quarters, the number was above a million.

The difference is that Verizon Wireless started selling the iPhone on Feb. 10, ending 3 1/2 years of exclusivity for AT&T.

AT&T said it activated 3.6 million iPhones, up from 2.7 million a year ago. Subscribers new to AT&T accounted for 23 percent of the iPhones, down from about 33 percent a year ago.

AT&T's net income rose 39 percent to $3.41 billion, or 57 cents per share, for the January-March period, up from $2.45 billion, or 42 cents per share, a year ago.

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Fracking leads to spill

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- A natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of seven families who live nearby as crews struggled to stop the gusher.

Chesapeake Energy Corp. lost control of the Marcellus Shale well site near Canton, in Bradford County, at about 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water continued to flow from the site Wednesday, contaminating a nearby stream.

No injuries were reported, and there was no explosion or fire.

Chesapeake said a piece of equipment failed late Tuesday while the well was being hydraulically fractured, or fracked.

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Taco Bell ad seeks apology

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Taco Bell took a parting shot Wednesday at the law firm that questioned the beef content of its tacos and burritos.

In full-page newspaper ads, the company asked in big, bold type: "Would it kill you to say you're sorry?"

The chain ran the ads in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and USA Today as well as in publications in Chicago, Los Angeles and Alabama, home of the law firm that sued Taco Bell early this year.

The ads amount to a victory lap by Taco Bell after the law firm dropped its lawsuit this week.