Business

Jim Blaine handing off top job at SECU

May 3, 2016

Jim Blaine, one of the most important financial executives in North Carolina over the last 40 years, is retiring as CEO of State Employees' Credit Union. The group grew by more than 100-fold during his tenure.

Sales surge boosts first-quarter results for gun-maker Ruger

May 3, 2016

(Winston-Salem Journal)

Firearms manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Co. reported a 50% increase in first-quarter profit to $23.3 million and a 26.3% increase in sales. CEO Michael Fifer said sales of new products — those introduced in the last two years — accounted for 29% of total sales in the quarter. Ruger employs more than 200 people at a 220,000-square-foot plant in Mayodan.

Topgolf to open Charlotte entertainment complex in 2017

May 3, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Topgolf paid $4.4 million for a 14-acre site in southwest Mecklenburg County, where it plans to open a three-level entertainment complex in early 2017. The company expects about 450,000 annual guests in its first year and plans to hire 450 full- and part-time workers. About half of Topgolf patrons are nongolfers, the company says.

INC Research reports 17.7% growth in service revenue

May 3, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

Raleigh-based INC Research posted service revenue of $249 million in the first quarter, up from $211.5 million a year ago. Despite the strong results, the company laid off 3% of its workforce, or about 175 people worldwide, due to a realignment of its therapeutic business units. About 30 workers in Raleigh lost their jobs. CFO Greg Rush says the company is still growing, adding about 800 workers last year, including 100 in the Triangle.

Pair of buildings in southwest Charlotte sold for $21.5M

May 3, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

A call center and light industrial building in Charlotte's Steele Creek area have sold for $21.5 million. The buyer of the buildings, which total 204,800 square feet and are fully leased, was a joint venture between CIP Real Estate and CrossHarbor Capital Partners. Brokerage firm HFF represented the seller, Fort Properties.

Cowell's corporate board service raises ethical questions

May 2, 2016

(The News & Observer, Raleigh)

State Treasurer Janet Cowell joined the board of directors at Morrisville-based ChannelAdvisor in February and is nominated to serve on the board of James River Group Holdings, a specialty insurance company. Cowell gained approval from the State Ethics Commission, though some critics say conflicts of interest are inevitable. Cowell, who is not seeking re-election, has said she will recuse herself from matters concerning the two companies. She will receive about $200,000 in total compensation at ChannelAdvisor, an e-commerce firm; James River pays its directors about $100,000.

BASF slashing 106 jobs at RTP

May 2, 2016

(WRAL TechWire)

German biotech firm BASF is cutting its plant technology unit — its headquarters is at RTP — in half, with layoffs beginning June 30. About half of the affected positions are scientists. The company opened a $33 million, 80,000-square-foot expansion of its RTP research campus in 2013.

In Denver, Charlotte leaders find familiar housing concerns, different approach to transit

May 2, 2016

(The Charlotte Observer)

Charlotte city leaders wrapped up a visit to the Mile High City last week, where they discovered another city in the midst of a construction boom, with more than 18,000 apartments built, under construction or planned since 2010. Like Charlotte, Denver leaders expressed concern over having too many rental units and not enough affordable housing. The city's thriving transit system has been aided by a 1-cent sales tax across eight counties; Mecklenburg County has a half-cent transit tax that covers just the county.

Wrightsville Beach solar company files for direct public offering

May 2, 2016

(Greater Wilmington Business Journal)

In an S-1 filing, Koolbridge Solar disclosed plans to make about 2.5 million shares of common stock available to third-party buyers. The company is developing a residential breaker box that uses solar energy during sunny times and pulls power from the electrical grid only when solar energy, either direct or stored, is not available. The company expects its Smart Load Center, which will retail for about $600, to hit the market in the first quarter of 2017.

Caterpillar to shutter Morganton plant, lay off 110 workers

May 2, 2016

(Winston-Salem Journal)

Caterpillar said last week it will close its engine plant in Morganton by the end of 2017, eliminating 110 jobs. The cuts are part of a global restructuring; Caterpillar says sales in construction, oil and gas, mining and rail continued to decline in the first quarter. The company recently reduced its workforce in Winston-Salem and plans to close a plant in Franklin.