Business

Business news from Charlotte and the Carolinas. For more business news, listen to Marketplace every weekday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Last month, a Chinese textile company announced it would invest $218 million to bring more than 500 jobs to Lancaster County, South Carolina in the next five years.

The Keer Group is building its first facility outside China in Indian Land. But in exchange for bringing jobs to South Carolina, the company will pay less than half of the property tax rate and receive a 7.7 million dollar bond to help pay for construction.  


Tasnim Shamma

Appliance Maker Electrolux announced it will add more than 800 jobs with the expansion of their U.S. corporate headquarters in Charlotte. Electrolux says it will also invest more than $85 million toward construction costs for the expansion.


Charlotte Investors Victim Of $44M Ponzi Scheme

Dec 19, 2013

A Statesville man is indicted on charges of operating a $44 million dollar Ponzi scheme that defrauded over 200 people since 2007.

Daniel Williford faces five federal counts of money laundering following an FBI investigation.

Fifty-five-year-old Daniel Williford doesn't fit the image of someone who runs a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme. He owns a middle-class four-bedroom home in Statesville, valued at about $200,000. He's a former airline pilot who went into the computer business for himself about 20 years ago.

JustaJoy.com

Genealogy has become an industry -- with sites like ancestry.com, and TV shows such as “Who Do You Think You Are?”

But these trace “family lineage.” What about the heirlooms and stories that fill the history of a family tree? A Huntersville woman is trying to make a business out of connecting people to their past.  


Attorneys for US Airways and American Airlines say they won't make the first move to settle a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Justice attempting to block the airlines from merging.

The Justice Department contends the merger will make it easier for the remaining mega-airlines – Delta, United and American – to cooperate on prices, rather than compete.  That means airfares will go up and service will decline, warns the lawsuit.  But an attorney for US Airways and American, Rich Parker, says the DOJ is "very wrong."

USAirways.com

Attorney General Eric Holder announced Tuesday that the Justice Department is suing to block the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, because of antitrust concerns. That merger would create the nation’s largest airline, and has been in the works since February. WFAE’s Ben Bradford joined All Things Considered host Mark Rumsey for an overview of what it means

Duke Energy Cancels Planned Florida Nuclear Site

Aug 2, 2013

Duke Energy has announced it will cancel plans for a new nuclear power plant in Levy County, Florida. With no new energy to show, ratepayers are on the hook for the cost, while Duke’s turned a profit.


Kroger Buys Harris Teeter

Jul 9, 2013
daysofthundr46 / Flickr

Harris Teeter has finally found a buyer, and it's a big one. Kroger - the largest U.S. grocery store chain - is spending about $2.5 billion to buy the Matthews-based company. 

But don't expect a name change at your local stores. Kroger says it will continue to operate the Harris Teeter brand. 

Harris Teeter has been searching for a buyer for several months, and its CEO said in a press release the company is excited to become a part of Kroger. 

UTC Aerospace Systems Celebrates New Charlotte HQ

Jul 1, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

One of the largest aerospace systems providers in the world opened its headquarters in West Charlotte Friday. UTC Aerospace Systems designs and manufactures products like propellers and engines and was founded last year after several mergers and acquisitions. Executives say it expects to add about 50 more jobs in the next five years.

Sequester Cuts Federal Program That Tracks Layoffs

Jun 21, 2013
Ben Bradford / WFAE

One of the fears about the federal budget cuts known as the sequester is that they could shrink the economy and trigger large layoffs. At the same time the government is cutting its program that tracks large layoffs—because of the sequester.


Duke Energy Ranks Eighth In Solar Rankings

Jun 17, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

Since its merger with Progress last summer, Duke Energy has become the country's largest regulated utility company. But a report from the Solar Electric Power Association shows it ranks eighth in 2012 for the amount of solar power it can use at any one time.  


IKEA-Charlotte Now Operates (Partly) On Sunshine

Jun 6, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

Furniture giant IKEA has just installed 4,228 solar panels on the roof of its store in Charlotte. The panels are expected to generate up to half of the store's electricity. 


Charlotte, Future Capital Of Big Data?

May 21, 2013
Ben Bradford

When it comes to the technology industry, Charlotte isn't usually listed as a hub. That title goes to places like Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Seattle. But, Charlotte shows a lot of promise in the emerging technology field known as "Big Data."


Bank Of America Shareholders Approve Executive Pay

May 8, 2013
bank of america sign
MoneyBlogNewz / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/creativecommons/by-2.0/

Bank of America held its annual shareholders' meeting in Charlotte today. CEO Brian Moynihan began the meeting highlighting the company's financial gains. He says the company has seen large growth in deposits and credit card accounts and has helped close to 2 million homeowners avoid foreclosure. He says internally, the company has been able to reduce costs to more quickly increase payouts for its shareholders.

Joel Coffidis

US Airways mechanics and technicians now have enough signatures to call for a union vote. At a news conference in south Charlotte, they announced that nearly 3,000 mechanics and technicians signed a petition to hold an election to be represented by another union, the Teamsters. Mechanics complained about low wages, high insurance premiums and poor representation by their current union, The International Association of Machinists. Luis Martinez is a lead mechanic for US Airways in Charlotte.

Marvel

Iron Man 3 – one of the most expensive films to ever come out of North Carolina – hit theaters Friday. It received $20 million in state incentives and lawmakers are now debating a bill that would remove the state's film tax credit – the same credit that brought the Iron Man 3 production to the state.


  U.S. Senators are poised to pass a measure this week that would mean new taxes for South Carolina online shoppers who frequent Amazon. The state granted Amazon an exemption to collecting sales tax until 2016, but that deal would end if Congress passes the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act. 


Chinese IT Firm Calls Charlotte Home, Adds 200 Jobs

Apr 23, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

 One of China's largest IT consulting firms, Pactera, announced Monday it's adding 200 jobs in Charlotte over the next few years and making the city its U.S. headquarters.


Publix Breaks Ground In Charlotte

Mar 29, 2013
Ben Bradford / WFAE

Between Harris Teeter, Food Lion, Walmart, Target, and Family Dollar, North Carolina has a lot of competitors in the grocery business. Now, add one more. Publix, the upscale Southern supermarket chain broke ground Thursday on a new store in Ballantyne, its first in North Carolina. The move is the latest volley in a supermarket war.


Foreign Investment Created 7,000 NC Jobs In 2011

Mar 27, 2013

North Carolina created more jobs in 2011 through out-of-state and international investment than any other place in the U.S., according to an annual report IBM produces for clients.


Celebrating 45 Years With US Airways (Well, Sort Of)

Mar 22, 2013
Tasnim Shamma

These days, it's not that often that employees work for the same company for most if not all of their careers. Thursday night, US Airways celebrated employees who have done just that.


Start-Ups Struggle To Find Local Investment

Mar 13, 2013
Viddlz.com

When it comes to start-up technology businesses, let’s just say Charlotte is no Silicon Valley. The local start-up scene has made some recent strides, though. Packard Place in Uptown has emerged as a hub for technology entrepreneurs and last year launched RevTech Labs, a program offering space and support for early-stage companies. The first group graduated five months ago, but they’ve struggled to attract local investors—a common complaint of Charlotte start-ups.

U.S. Energy Information Administration

Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—for natural gas in shale rock has radically changed the nation’s energy mix. Since the fracking boom began in 2008, the cost of natural gas has plummeted and supply has surged. The technique is banned in North Carolina, but a bill that passed last year and another currently making its way through the legislature would open the door.

How The US Airways Merger Will Affect Charlotte

Feb 14, 2013
USAirways.com

  The early indication is that Charlotte’s airport is safe in the just-announced merger of US Airways and American Airlines. The new American Airlines will be the world's largest, with a value of 11 billion dollars and an extensive network of destinations.

When merging, airlines combine operations, which means reducing duplicative routes and changing presences in airports. US Airways operates about 90 percent of flights in and out of Charlotte-Douglas every day—it is the airline’s largest hub.

Freightliner Cuts 1,200 Charlotte-Area Jobs

Jan 31, 2013
KDavidClark/Flickr

The numbers are in on Daimler Chrysler’s plan to lay off workers at its three Charlotte area Freightliner plants. The tally is 1,200 jobs.

To comply with federal law, Daimler notified state and local governments this week that the company plans to lay off workers as soon as April. The state posted the numbers of expected layoffs today: 80 workers from a parts plant in Gastonia, 405 from an assembly plant in Mount Holly, and 715 from the assembly plant in Cleveland. Daimler cited “softening economic conditions” as the catalyst.

Regions Bank Ends Payday Loans In NC

Jan 30, 2013

Regions Bank, based in Birmingham, Alabama has been using a federal banking law to provide payday lending services, even though these types of loans are illegal in North Carolina.

But the bank recently announced that it will no longer offer its payday lending service to North Carolina residents because of the small number of eligible customers for the product in the state.

Since 2001, payday lending shops have been illegal in North Carolina. But that law doesn't apply to banks that are based outside the state.

Duke Energy

A small county on the Florida Gulf Coast is in a budget crisis because its largest taxpayer is refusing to pay up. Progress Energy Florida – which is now owned by Duke Energy – operates a coal and nuclear power plant complex that accounts for one-quarter of Citrus County's property tax revenues. But Duke Energy only paid half its tax bill last year and this week warned it'll do the same in 2013. WFAE's Julie Rose explains:

Jennifer Lang

We've already established that Bank of America's 2008 acquisition of Countrywide was a costly move – and a mistake in the view of many. The Charlotte bank has spent tens of billions of dollars on settlements and losses tied to that mountain of messed-up mortgages. On Monday, Bank of America made some important progress.

Another day, another settlement - or really two,  in the case of Bank of America. And these are far from the last we'll expect to see. 

Microloans For Poor Arrive In Charlotte

Jan 2, 2013
www.grameenamerica.org

Charlotte is a bank town – known for banks in the traditional sense – like Bank of America and Wells Fargo that offer checking accounts, credit cards and loans, if you can qualify. But in the last week, a very different kind of bank opened in Charlotte offering what's known as microloans to small businesspeople who couldn't qualify for a traditional one.

BofA Stock "Most Improved" For 2012

Jan 1, 2013

One of North Carolina's most publicly-criticized companies also saw the biggest improvement in stock price during 2012.   

Bank of America's stock ended the year at $11.61 a share, which is more than double its starting price in 2012.  

Keep in mind, of course, that five years ago BofA was trading around $40 a share, so there's a good distance to go if a full rebound is in the cards.

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