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Council favors filming credit

In an effort to stop runaway film production, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to support legislation that would provide tax incentives to studios that film in California.

The council unanimously voted to support Assembly Bill 777, which, if at least 75 percent of a production is filmed in California, calls for a 12 percent refundable credit against income tax or sales tax.

Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, introduced the bill last year.

The film industry generates about $35 billion annually for the state's economy, and an estimated 80 percent of that is kept in Los Angeles. Additionally, the entertainment industry employs more than 200,000 people countywide.

3M may spin off pharmaceuticals

MINNEAPOLIS - 3M Co., whose products range from adhesives to medications, is considering selling its branded pharmaceuticals unit, officials said Tuesday. Company shares rose 1.5 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

The unit develops, makes and markets branded drug products related to dermatology, women's health, cardiology and respiratory medicine for the company based in Maplewood, Minn.

The brands include Aldara, Difflam, Duromine, Tambocor, Maxair, Metrogel-Vaginal and Minitran. The unit employs 1,500 workers worldwide.

Merck increases profit guidance

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. - Drug maker Merck & Co. said Tuesday it anticipates posting a higher profit in the first quarter than originally expected because of strong sales of its cholesterol drug, Zocor.

Merck said it now expects to report earnings of 61 to 67 cents per share, at least 15 percent higher than its forecast of 52 to 58 cents per share announced in January. Zocor is Merck's top-selling medicine and the second-most popular cholesterol drug in the country.

Merck will lose its exclusive patent on the drug in June. Analysts have said they expected insurers to push patients from competing drugs to Zocor in the short term and then to lower-cost generic versions.

Merck's anticipated earnings include charges related to its global restructuring and job cuts announced in November.

Wal-Mart pledges stores to areas

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., often accused by critics of harming local businesses, announced Tuesday it plans to build more than 50 stores in struggling urban neighborhoods over the next two years to create jobs and help small establishments.

Chief Executive Lee Scott said Tuesday the new stores would generate 15,000 to 25,000 jobs and be located in neighborhoods with high crime or unemployment rates or in need of environmental cleanup or in vacant buildings or malls in need of revitalization.

Ten of those stores will anchor what Scott calls ``Wal-Mart Jobs and Opportunity Zones'' where minority- and women-run enterprises and other local businesses will get help with advertising, grants to chambers of commerce and advice on doing business near Wal-Mart and with Wal-Mart. The move is part of what Wal-Mart calls an effort to be a better community partner.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 5, 2006
Words:479
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