Central Virginia—For the Record

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Areva NP Inc., a Lynchburg-based designer of nuclear power systems, will invest $25 million to expand its headquarters in anticipation of future orders for nuclear reactors, creating 500 jobs. Virginia competed with North Carolina for the investment. Areva NP is part of the global Areva group, headquartered in Paris. (News release)

Blockbuster Inc. has dropped a proposed $1.35 billion merger with Circuit City Stores Inc., a national consumer electronics retailer based in Henrico County. Blockbuster CEO James W. Keyes said that the company decided that acquiring Circuit City was not in the best interest of his shareholders. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Dominion Virginia Power received approval from state regulators for a fuel-rate increase to cover the cost of the coal, natural gas, oil and uranium to run its power generation systems. The new rates will bring in an additional $1.1 billion over the next 12 months. Residential customers are expected to see an 18 percent increase in their bills. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Media General Inc. has expanded its board of directors from nine to 11. The additional seats were filled by Rodney A. Smolla and Walter E. Williams, two of three former directors voted off the board in a proxy fight with Harbinger Capital Partners last spring. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

MeadWestvaco Corp. (MWV), a Henrico County-based producer of paper products, completed a $400 million share repurchase program, retiring 14 million shares of stock at an average of $28.51 per share. The company has about 171 million shares outstanding. The repurchase was financed by the sale of company timber holdings.  (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Philip Morris USA, a Richmond manufacturer of tobacco products, ended a three-year test of carbon-filtered cigarettes. The company ceased sale of Marlboro UltraSmooth in Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Tampa, Fla., and also stopped testing special filters on other company brands. Consumers were slow to accept the new products, but the company may yet return to the concept of reducing exposure to toxins in smoke. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

Williams Bridge Co., a steel fabrication company, will move its operations from Manassas to Richmond. The changing nature of the area where it is located made the heavy industry facility an increasingly bad fit in its neighborhood. Williams has owned a 180,000-square-foot facility in South Richmond since 1987. The company will position itself to sell its Manassas property when the real estate market rebounds. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

The University of Virginia will host an economic summit of former top finance ministers from around the world Sept. 7-9 at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. Topics at the conference, to be moderated by former U.S. Treasury Secretary John W. Snow, will include the subprime crisis, the impact of rising food and fuel costs and the shifting centers of international economic influence. (The Daily Progress)

World Access, a Henrico County-based specialty insurance provider, changed its name to Mondial Assistance. The company joined forces with Paris-based Mondial Assistance, which operates in 29 countries around the world, in 2000. Adopting the company’s global brand will help integrate its capabilities to partners and customers. (News release)

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