Statewide: Charlotte region, June 2015

 In 2015-06
Sterling sharpening

CEO Jim Cherry says Park Sterling Bank is happy being in the middle of larger and smaller rivals as a $2.4 billion, 53-branch institution in the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia. In 2006, Park Sterling raised a state record $45 million in startup capital just in time for the worst financial crisis in generations. The bank was recapitalized in 2010 with $150 million, coinciding with the addition of former Wachovia CEO Bud Baker as chairman. After losing money previously, the bank had net profits totaling about $32 million over the last three years. It ranked first in percentage growth of assets and deposits over the last four years compared with 17 other banks in its region with $1 billion to $10 billion in assets, according to a company report in February. Even so, the growth hasn’t met the bank’s 2010 projections of reaching $6 billion in assets within five years. “At the beginning, acquisitions were more important to us so we could get scale and offer our customers more products,” Cherry says. “Now that we’ve gotten scale, that enables us to be much more organically focused.” Park Sterling has 19 offices and half of its assets in Charlotte, while 15 offices in the Greenville, S.C., area comprise 17% of assets. It opened its first Virginia office last year in Richmond and expects to open a second later this year. More acquisitions aren’t on the table now, with deals inhibited by Park Sterling’s stock price, which is little changed from its 2010 offering price of $6.30, reflecting investor disdain for banks. But Cherry likes Park Sterling’s niche. “The large banks have every offering but are perceived as being inflexible,” he says. “Small banks have service but not solutions. Our objective is to be large enough to have a broad array of solutions.”



Briefs

MONROEO’Neil Digital Solutions will invest $90.7 million in a printing and data center and will create 250 jobs over five years. The Los Angeles-based company helps organizations create, print and distribute marketing and research reports. The jobs will pay an average annual salary of $58,819, higher than Union County’s $37,985.

CHARLOTTE — Winston-Salem-based Novant Health will partner with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in a clinic at its local children’s hospital. The collaboration will give patients access to clinical trials through the Memphis-based pediatric cancer hospital. It’s the seventh affiliate of St. Jude; others are located in Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri and Tennessee. Patients of St. Jude and its affiliate clinics receive treatment at no charge.

CHARLOTTE — Duke Energy plans to build lined coal-ash landfills at its retired Dan River Steam Station in Eden and its Sutton Plant in Wilmington to comply with state requirements to remove ash from unlined pits at four North Carolina power plants by 2019. Combined, the landfills will store more than 6 million tons of coal ash. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.

CHARLOTTE — Good Times Restaurants will acquire remaining interests in Bad Daddy’s International for about $21 million. The Golden, Colo.-based restaurant group acquired 48% interest in Bad Daddy’s in 2013. Charlotte-based Bad Daddy’s was started in 2007 and operates 13 burger restaurants in four states, including seven in North Carolina, with plans to open four or five more this year. Good Times operates 37 quick-service restaurants in Colorado and Wyoming.

MOUNT HOLLY — Portland, Ore.-based Daimler Trucks North America will add 605 jobs to the 1,700 at its Freightliner truck-manufacturing plant. Most of the new jobs, which will be added by mid-July, will pay $14.92 per hour plus benefits, or about $31,000 a year, less than Gaston County’s average annual salary of $38,167. The company plans to add a third shift to increase production of its medium-duty and severe-duty commercial trucks. Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler AG, the parent company, employs about 7,500 people in North Carolina.

CHARLOTTE — Former state Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker will join the UNC Charlotte board of trustees, starting a four-year term on July 1. She was secretary of Commerce from 2013 until January, when John Skvarla was appointed to the position.

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