Business Notebook

July 14, 2014 

Local & State

Midlands

Richland buys $1.9 million tract for industrial park

Richland County has worked out a deal to buy a $1.9 million tract essential to creating a 500-acre industrial park at Shop and Pineview roads, south of Columbia.

The county’s purchase of 84 acres owned by the East Richland Public Service District was thwarted a year ago after the sewage district linked the sale to the rezoning of a separate tract of surplus land. Residents objected and the council took the county’s offer off the table.

Economic development director Nelson Lindsay said he hopes to have all the land assembled for the industrial park by early next year.

Scott Elliott, attorney for East Richland, confirmed Monday that the public-service district dropped the rezoning request and is selling its property on Longwood Road.

“We felt duty-bound to contribute,” he said.

Nation & World

VW to make 7-passenger SVU at Tennessee plant

Volkswagen plans to expand its factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., and make a seven-passenger sport-utility vehicle there.

The project will create about 2,000 jobs in the United States and an investment of about $900 million, including $600 million at the factory. The automaker already has 2,500 employees building the Passat for the U.S. market at the plant.

VW is trying to reverse a sales slide in the U.S. by adding new products that better match consumer demand. The German automaker has set a target of selling 800,000 vehicles a year in the U.S. by 2018. Last year, it sold only 408,000. Through the first six months of this year, sales have dropped more than 13 percent, to 179,000.

VW also plans to locate a research and development center at the Chattanooga factory complex, which will focus on planning cars for U.S. consumers. It will create about 200 engineering jobs there.

Citigroup to pay $7 billion to settle subprime mortgages probe

Citigroup will pay $7 billion to settle an investigation into risky subprime mortgages, the type that helped fuel the financial crisis.

The agreement announced Monday comes weeks after talks between the sides broke down, prompting the government to warn that it would sue the New York investment bank. The bank had offered to pay less than $4 billion, a sum substantially less than what the Justice Department was asking for.

The settlement stems from the sale of securities made up of subprime mortgages, which fueled both the housing boom and bust that triggered the Great Recession at the end of 2007. Citigroup and other banks downplayed the risks of subprime mortgages when packaging and selling them to mutual funds, investment trusts, pensions, as well as other banks and investors. The securities plunged in value when the housing market collapsed in 2006 and 2007, triggering a financial crisis that pushed the economy into the worst recession since the 1930s.

SpaceX launches rocket carrying communication satellites

The SpaceX company has launched a rocket packed with communication satellites.

The Falcon rocket blasted off Monday from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. On board were six advanced satellites for the New Jersey-based Orbcomm. Eleven more of these satellites are to be launched in the coming year.

The 374-pound satellites will offer two-way data links to help customers track, monitor and control transportation and logistics assets, heavy equipment, oil and gas infrastructure, ships and buoys, and government-owned equipment.

The launch had been delayed repeatedly since May for technical and other reasons. Space Exploration Technologies Corp. – or SpaceX – is also working to ferry space station cargo for NASA. The company is based in Hawthorne, California.

Dawn Hinshaw, Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press contributed.

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