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Briefs

GE raises dividend 12 percent

Industrial conglomerate General Electric is raising its quarterly dividend by 12 percent while extending and expanding its share repurchase plan.

The new quarterly dividend is 19 cents, up from 17 cents. The dividend will be paid Jan. 25 to shareholders as of Dec. 24.

The board of Fairfield, Conn.-based General Electric Co. is also extending GE’s stock buyback plan through 2015. It’s authorizing up to $10 billion for additional shares.

The plan had $4.9 billion available for repurchase at the end of the third quarter.

GE manufactures products such as jet engines and refrigerators and provides equipment and services to a growing roster of energy companies.

GE has a downtown Fort Wayne campus on Broadway but announced in October it will move 130 employees to an office park on Coliseum Boulevard. That will leave 30 workers at that sprawling 1 million-square-foot building.

Home sales rise 8.8% in northeast Indiana

Northeast Indiana home sales rose 8.8 percent in November, a report Friday from the Upstate Alliance of Realtors shows.

Upstate, which tracks data from Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties, said 532 homes were sold last month, up from 489 in November 2011.

The average November sales price of $120,594 is a 7.1 percent increase from $112,597 in the same month last year. For the first 11 months of the year, 6,068 homes were sold, up 10.8 percent from the 5,477 sold during the same period last year. The average sales price this year is $126,257, up 9 percent from the $115,795 average recorded for the same period in 2011.

Jet firm probed after death of Jenni Rivera

The company that owns a luxury jet that crashed and killed Latin music star Jenni Rivera is under investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the agency seized two of its planes earlier this year as part of the ongoing probe.

A DEA spokeswoman confirmed the planes owned by Las Vegas-based Starwood Management were seized in Texas and Arizona.

The agency also has subpoenaed all the company’s records, including any correspondence it has had with a former Tijuana mayor who U.S. law enforcement officials have long suspected has ties to organized crime.

Ex-convict Christian Esquino is widely believed to be behind the aviation company. Corporate records list his sister-in-law as the company’s only officer, but insurance companies that cover some of the firm’s planes say in court documents that the woman is merely a front and that Esquino is the one in charge.

AM General poised to idle 400 workers

AM General says it plans to lay off 400 employees at its military assembly plant in northern Indiana beginning Jan. 1.

Company spokesman Jeff Adams told the South Bend Tribune that the layoffs announced Thursday will last until March.

Adams says such temporary layoffs may become more common in the future. He says the company had hoped to have a new international contract ready for 2013, but it has been delayed.

Workers at the Mishawaka plant that makes Humvees for the military had returned to work Nov. 26 after a layoff of nearly two months.

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