When Gov. Pat McCrory cites the “Carolina Comeback,” he could use NewBridge Bancorp as a prime example. The Greensboro-based company reported net losses topping $90 million between 2007 and 2012 and relied on $52 million from federal bank bailout funds to stay afloat as its stock traded below $1 in March 2009. But the bank managed to right the ship by working through a slew of nonperforming loans — they’ve been trimmed to $9 million from $85 million in 2009 — and focusing on business lines including wealth management, treasury services and lending to companies with more than $25 million in revenue. Buoyed by a better economy, NewBridge’s cumulative profits have exceeded $32 million over the last two years. “We feel like we reinvented our bank in a very positive way,” Chief Banking Officer Spence Broadhurst says. After raising $56 million in 2013, the company repaid the feds and received a green light to expand by acquisitions. It entered Charlotte in 2013 and bought Raleigh-based CapStone Bank for $63.6 million last year. NewBridge had more loan volume in those two markets as of Dec. 31 than in the Triad, which is home to more than half of its 40 branches. It also reported less than $60,000 in nonperforming loans in Raleigh and Charlotte, versus more than $3 million in the Triad and Wilmington. But it isn’t pulling back from its hometown, buying Greensboro-based Premier Commercial Bank for $19.8 million in March. The comeback has paid off for patient stockholders, with shares trading for about $8 in early May, and attracted some bargain-minded New York-based institutional investors. Basswood Capital Management owned 9.4% and Endicott Opportunity Partners 7% as of March.
MOCKSVILLE — Little Rock, Ark.-based Bank of the Ozarks will acquire Bank of the Carolinas for about $64.7 million in stock. Founded here in 1998 as Bank of Davie, Bank of the Carolinas has eight branches in North Carolina and about $363 million in assets as of March 31. Bank of the Ozarks has 165 branches in nine states, including 16 in North Carolina, and $8.3 billion in assets. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter.
MOCKSVILLE — Avgol will invest $40 million in a 100,000-square-foot expansion of its local manufacturing plant. The Tel Aviv, Israel-based company, which makes nonwoven materials for products such as baby diapers, will add 50 jobs to its existing 220. The average annual wage for the new jobs will be $35,000, about the same as Davie County’s $34,891. The company will receive more than $1.1 million in local incentives if it meets job-creation goals.
GREENSBORO — Greensboro Partnership named Virginia native David Ramsey executive vice president. Ramsey, 34, was director of global business for the Mississippi Development Authority, where he worked with Brent Christensen, the new CEO of the economic-development organization. The pair previously worked together at the Gainesville (Fla.) Area Chamber of Commerce.
WINSTON-SALEM — Krispy Kreme Doughnuts entered agreements to open 10 stores in Cambodia over the next five years and 12 in Guatemala over the next four years. Started here in 1937, the company now operates more than 1,000 doughnut shops in 24 countries.
GREENSBORO — Varrow was acquired by San Antonio, Texas-based Sirius Computer Solutions for an undisclosed amount. Founded here in 2008, the company provides technology consulting and design services. Varrow employs about 170 people at offices here and in Charlotte, Raleigh and Richmond, Va.
GREENSBORO — Adam Britner will become chief financial officer of ITG Brands, the Imperial Tobacco subsidiary to be created when Winston-Salem-based Reynolds American acquires Lorillard, based here. He is head of business development for United Kingdom-based Imperial Tobacco. Seven Lorillard executives also will join the management team of ITG Brands, which will be based here when the deal, currently under FTC review, closes.