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GE to shed consumer finance biz

General Electric Co. plans to spin off the U.S. consumer lending business of its finance arm with an initial public offering of stock that could come early next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The newspaper also said Friday that the Fairfield, Conn., conglomerate is considering smaller spinoffs or asset sales, but it has started preliminary work on the IPO. The paper cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter.

The consumer finance business provides store credit cards to about 55 million people for retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. It accounts for $50 billion of GE Capital’s $274 billion in outstanding loans, according to the report.

Aside from its finance business, GE sells a wide variety of industrial equipment and appliances around the world. GE spokesman Seth Martin declined to comment on the report. The company has operations in Fort Wayne.

Patio furniture maker adding 38 jobs in area

A Syracuse-based manufacturer of outdoor patio furniture is expanding, adding production and showroom space, as it creates more than three dozen new jobs.

Poly-Wood Inc. is investing about $3 million in new equipment and a 42,260-square-foot addition to its operation at 1001 W. Brooklyn St., said George Robertson, president of the Kosciusko Economic Development Corp.

Doug Hertel, Poly-Wood’s marketing vice president, said the expansion is projected to create 38 new production jobs in 2014. He declined to discuss wages Friday, but in December 2011 he said the company paid production workers $10 to $18 an hour, depending on experience and certification.

Poly-Wood now employs 186.

Cameron Hospital joins stroke network

Cameron Hospital has joined the Stroke Care Now Network, officials announced Friday.

The network connects the Angola hospital to physicians with Fort Wayne Neurological Center, making the doctors available to Cameron stroke patients day or night by real-time, remote access.

Physicians in the network diagnose stoke and vascular diseases of the brain. Cameron staff has been trained to offer intra-arterial stroke treatment for patients who previously had no treatment options, hospital officials said.

Those who don’t qualify for or respond to the treatment can be transferred to Parkview or Lutheran hospitals for additional treatment.

Almost 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year.

Phone scam invokes city fire department

Telephone scammers are targeting local businesses by claiming they are selling advertisements that benefit the Fort Wayne Fire Department.

The fire department and the Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Indiana on Friday issued a warning to business owners to beware of calls from Firehouse Promotions, Moline, Ill.

At least one local business owner lost $1,000 to the scam, said Mark Nelson, deputy fire chief.

“To be clear, the Fort Wayne Fire Department has not been contacted by Firehouse Promotions,” Nelson said in a statement. “We are not and have not been affiliated or associated with them in any way. Nor have we ever promoted or endorsed their efforts.”

The Better Business Bureau has given Firehouse Promotions an F rating for its practices.