Housing Deals Lure Retirees, But Crisis Leaves Them Cautious and Will Londoners Develop A Taste For The American-Made Burrito?

Just over half of builders that construct active-adult housing cut prices in the third quarter to boost sales or limit cancellations, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders. Some slashed prices 25% or more, although overall reductions averaged 13%. What’s more, many active-adult builders are offering incentives like paying housing association fees for a year and upgrading appliances or carpet for free.

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That’s the good news. The bad: Seniors have seen the value of their retirement savings decline, and in many areas around the country, their current home’s value has dropped steeply too. Both are making them hesitate about moving.

“Almost everyone moving into an active-adult community finances the purchase with the equity in their existing homes,” said Paul Emrath, the NAHB’s vice president for survey and housing policy research. [Read the full article]

The Denver-based burrito chain plans to open restaurants overseas for the first time with London the first city of call this spring.

Chipotle Mexican Grill is not only expanding internationally with a restaurant in London, but is opening smaller restaurants at home. View Enlarged Image

The story line will bear no resemblance to fast-food giant and former majority owner McDonald’s (MCD), which sold its stake in 2006, the same year Chipotle went public.

The print, radio and online campaign will stress its commitment to using natural, organic, locally produced and sustainable food products, “food with integrity.”

Finally, smaller and less costly “Model A” restaurants will be rolled out in second-tier locations about 25% of the 120 to 130 new unit openings planned this year.

“They’re not venturing into Europe with a lot of overhead,” said analyst Sharon Zackfia of William Blair. “In fact, they’re venturing into London with one restaurant manager. [Read the full article]

Mylan on Thursday posted a profit of 33 cents a share. That was up 27% from the prior year and 3 cents above Thomson Reuters estimates. Revenue rose 12% to $1.35 billion, also above views.

North American sales fell 3% to $545 million, hurt by competition for an anti-epileptic drug. But other regions filled in the gap. Sales in the region including Europe, the Middle East and Africa gained 29% to $481.8 million. Sales in Asia-Pacific climbed 33% to $309.1 million.

Mylan also reaffirmed its profit outlook for the full year. And it named John D. Sheehan as its chief financial officer, effective April 1. He’s currently CFO at Delphi Automotive, a Detroit-based auto parts and technology company. Sheehan will replace Jolene Varney, who left as Mylan’s CFO in September.

Mylan shares rose more than 2% in midday trading Friday after closing up 6.6% the prior session.

5:15 p.m. Update: Stocks finished with small gains Friday after a slew of mixed economic data. [Read the full article]

The deal itself was actually announced in August 2008. That was when Lilly, a drugmaker, sold its clinical development unit in Greenfield, Ind., to Covance, a contract research organization.

The price? A trifling $50 million, for which Covance got 450 acres and 600,000 square feet of lab space. Covance also got a guarantee of $1.6 billion in business over 10 years from Lilly.

Unprecedented the deal might have been. But it has not been emulated by other drugmakers and CROs, at least not yet.

Lilly’s goals were to speed up time to market for new drugs and lower drug development costs. Covance got a sweet deal, industry watchers said at the time.

But times have changed. Since that deal was signed, the “demand-supply equation has inverted,” said Isaac Ro, an analyst with Leerink Swann. His employer has done business with Covance.

Contract research organizations find themselves with excess capacity, as the flow of new drug candidates has dwindled. [Read the full article]

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