Average retail price of gasoline drops 5 cents to $3.94 in Maine

Maine residents are seeing some relief with gas dropping in price by nearly a nickel per gallon in the past week.

Price-monitoring website MaineGasPrices.com reported Monday that the average retail price in the state is down to $3.94 per gallon.

The national average fell just over 4 cents to $3.85 per gallon.

Still, gas in Maine costs more than 8 cents more a gallon than a year ago and almost 9 cents more than a month ago.

Beam OKs deal to buy brands, assets from Lewiston distillery

Beam Inc. said Monday that it has agreed to buy the Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack rum brands, along with other related assets, for $605 million in cash, from White Rock Distilleries.

Beam, of Deerfiled, Ill., which makes Jim Beam bourbon, Courvoisier cognac and Sauza tequila, said the addition of Pinnacle will boost its presence in the large and growing vodka category and increase the company’s overall shareholder value.

White Rock is based in Lewiston.

Pinnacle’s 2012 sales volumes are expected to exceed 3 million 9-liter cases and it’s one of the largest imported vodka brands in the U.S. It makes unflavored and flavored variations, including a line of whipped dessert flavored vodkas, Beam said.

Beam said it doesn’t expect the acquisition to affect its 2012 earnings, but said it will boost its 2013 results by between 5 cents and 10 cents per share in 2013 and more in the next year and beyond. The company said it also expects the deal to result in cost savings that should exceed 20 percent of the brand’s sales.

Beam said it plans to finance the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter, with either existing credit or new debt, or a combination of both.

Hasbro posts a loss for quarter, shares fall more than 5 percent

Hasbro Inc. posted a first-quarter loss on Monday, weighed down by costs related to staff cuts and weak sales of “My Littlest Pet Shop” miniatures and other girls’ toys.

Results from the maker of Monopoly and Transformers missed Wall Street estimates, and its shares fell more than 5 percent.

The first quarter is typically quiet for toy makers, especially compared with the run-up to the holiday shopping season. But first-quarter results do indicate how willing Americans are to spend on non-essential items.