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REGIONALREPORT Triad

Manufacturing takes off at PTI
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It’s no secret Piedmont Triad International Airport has seen its passenger traffic slow. Despite “fly local” cheerleading from business leaders, many travelers routinely bypass the airport
on the western edge of Guilford County to drive more than an hour to Raleigh-Durham or Charlotte Douglas international airports for more flights, choices of airlines and sometimes lower fares. PTI’s boarding figures show a 5% year-to-date decrease, to 487,652, through the first seven months of 2013. But while passenger traffic isn’t climbing, manufacturing there is taking off.
Greensboro-based Honda Aircraft Co. employs 800 at PTI, where it designs and builds its line of light jets. It’s putting the final touches on a $20 million customer-service center, and future expansions are expected to add about 400 jobs. Greensboro-based TIMCO Aviation Services Inc., which has 1,500 employees repairing and maintaining civilian and military aircraft, plans to invest $30 million and add 400 jobs. Other places in the Midwest and South are competing to land those hangars.

One reason the airport is a good place to make and repair airplanes is its lack of passenger traffic, which allows customers to get in and out without hassles. Not surprisingly, Triad boosters do all they can to keep these employers — with their good-paying jobs — happy. PTI has obtained nearly $8 million of federal grants for runways and taxiways that enhance Honda’s operations. And state and local officials are dangling more than $5 million in incentives to convince TIMCO that PTI is the place to expand.
Now hot for Colombia
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. will soon invade its fifth continent. In late September, it announced a franchise agreement with a Colombian restaurant operator that will put 25 shops there over the next five years. The move furthers the Winston-Salem-based company’s global surge, which has seen its number of international franchises jump from 123 to 546 — from 31% to 69% of stores — since 2007. Though they accounted for only 7.5% of store revenue last fiscal year, international stores generated more than half of store operating income. Krispy Kreme wants 900 international franchises by 2017.

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Briefs

GREENSBOROLorillard acquired SKYCIG for about $49 million and could pay more in 2016 if the United Kingdom-based electronic-cigarette-maker reaches certain financial goals. The nation’s third-largest cigarette-maker acquired Charlotte-based blu ecigs for $135 million last year (cover story, March).

HIGH POINT —
Jeffrey S. Miller will retire as president of High Point Regional Health System once a successor is selected. Miller has led the hospital for 25 years and helped shepherd it through its recent merger with Chapel Hill-based UNC Health Care System. His tenure included the creation of Carolina Regional Heart Center
and Hayworth Cancer Center.

HIGH POINT —
Sterling Consolidated acquired Superior Seals and Service for an undisclosed amount. The purchase will give the Neptune, N.J.-based industrial manufacturer a strategic distribution point on the East Coast. Superior makes gaskets and mechanical seals.

WHITSETT — Ascension Insurance purchased Transure Services, a transportation- and trucking-insurance broker, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition will triple the revenue of the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based company, which has been expanding eastward in recent years.
WINSTON-SALEM — BB&T has expanded in the Midwest by adding a corporate-banking team in Chicago that will focus on food, agribusiness and beverage companies. The bank has already created similar teams in Cincinnati, San Francisco and Dallas.
GREENSBORO — Owings Mill, Md.-based Black Oak Associates acquired the 90,000-square-foot Hicone Shopping Center here for $7.2 million from Hicone Properties.