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STATEWIDE Eastern Region

Live Oak's public act

With a big lift from Uncle Sam, Wilmington-based Live Oak Bank is making lending less risky and more lucrative, its filing for an initial public offering shows. Since its inception in 2008, the bank has made $1.8 billion in U.S. Small Business Administration loans and written off only $7.4 million as losses. It was the nation’s No. 3 SBA lender in 2013, trailing only San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. and Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp. Under SBA rules, the feds take 75% of the credit risk. Live Oak usually sells the loans — nearly all of which are to veterinarians, physicians, dentists, pharmacists and funeral home operators — before they reach maturity. Live Oak posted the best return on assets and return on equity of the banks and credit unions on Business North Carolina’s Financial 100 ranking. CEO James “Chip” Mahan is the biggest shareholder, with a 30% stake, while Burlington investor Maurice Koury owns 9.5%. No estimated share price or IPO date was disclosed in the April filing. The bank wants to use IPO proceeds to retire about $8 million of debt, continue expansion and for acquisitions. Before completing the offering, Live Oak plans to sell its stake in nCino, a bank-software venture launched in 2010, convert to a C corporation and pay a cash dividend.
 



 
 
 
 
 
Briefs

NASHVILLECarolina Innovative Food Ingredients will invest $20 million and hire 64 workers to open a plant here that will make ingredients for juices, baked goods and pet foods. The company, owned by Richmond, Va.-based tobacco distributor Universal Corp., will use North Carolina-grown fruits and vegetables. The plant will open in the first quarter of 2015.

MOYOCKGovernment Contracting Specialists will move its headquarters here from Chesapeake, Va., investing more than $325,000 and creating 60 jobs. The company offers engineering and construction services. Average annual salary will be $35,360, more than Currituck County’s $29,009.

OAK ISLAND — Southport-based Legacy Community Partners will develop The Charles, a 2,114-acre retirement community with up to 2,250 residential units. Construction will begin this fall, and the project is expected to create up to 3,500 jobs.

EVERETTSSyfan Manufacturing will invest more than $6.5 million over three years and add 24 jobs to the 73 at its local plant. The Israeli company makes plastic films used in packaging, including for meat and poultry. Jobs will pay an average of $28,508, slightly lower than Martin County’s average of $30,600.

FAYETTEVILLE — Former advertising agency owners Gary and Todd Smith were indicted in federal court in Tampa, Fla., on charges of defrauding investors of more than $55 million between 2007 and 2013. At least 74 people say they lent money to the Smiths. Opened in 1980, Smith Advertising & Associates once had more than 30 employees in offices in Florida and the Carolinas (cover story, December 2013).