Statewide: Western region, February 2014
STATEWIDE Western Region
Brewer has an IPA but no IPO
Appalachian Mountain Brewery became a publicly traded company through a reverse merger, a relatively rare tactic that allows a private company to become publicly traded without an initial public offering of stock. The Boone craft brewery’s shareholders include Mike Pruitt, CEO of Chanticleer Holdings, a Charlotte-based restaurant group. Shareholders put up $3.5 million of the brewery’s stock to buy North Carolina Natural Energy, a defunct Florida corporation, and got regulatory approval to change its corporate name and stock symbol. Pruitt was a key adviser in the transaction, and restaurants owned and operated by Chanticleer, which include Hooters locations worldwide and five American Roadside Burgers restaurants, will feature its beers. The switch from private to public will allow the brewery to raise capital to expand its craft-beer lines, begin production of a hard cider and increase bottling capacity. The company is also considering opening a second location in Boone.
WILKESBORO — InterFlex Acquisition will invest $10.2 million over three years to expand its plant and add 63 jobs to the 104 it has here. The company, which makes flexible packaging for products that include fresh foods and pet items, is owned by Chicago-based private equity firm Nicolet Capital Partners and has its North American headquarters here. The jobs will pay an average of $37,854 a year, which is 20% higher than Wilkes County’s average annual wage of $31,512.
MARION — Key Gas Components will spend more than $2.2 million over the next three years to expand its plant here and create 37 jobs with an average annual wage of $30,606, slightly above McDowell County’s average of $30,349. The family-owned manufacturing and engineering-services company makes valves and fittings for gas appliances.
ASHEVILLE — Blossman Services, a subsidiary of Ocean Springs, Miss.-based Blossman Cos., will open a research center in Buncombe County to test and develop propane autogas systems. The 62-year-old company wants to increase awareness of propane as a less expensive and cleaner alternative fuel. The Autogas Research and Technology Center, which is expected to open this spring, also will train technicians to make gasoline vehicles propane-powered.
MARION — The Solar Connection will invest $500,000 over the next three years to open a plant here that will employ 50 people making photovoltaic cells for solar-equipment installers. It will get a $156,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund if it meets job-creation and investment targets.