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B&W's Power Generation Group spinoff takes effect

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 30, 2015

With June in the rear view mirror, Babcock & Wilcox Co.’s former Power Generation Group is now operating as a separate publicly traded company called Babcock and Wilcox Enterprises Inc., retaining its significant campus in Barberton.
As of Wednesday, the spun off company trades under the ticker symbol BW, with headquarters in Charlotte. The global business focuses on fossil and renewable energy power plants, electric power plant pollution control and related energy technologies.
The Barberton campus has about 1,700 employees.
The remaining part of the former B&W, meanwhile, will operate under a new name, BWX Technologies, retaining government and nuclear power operations. The headquarters is in Lynchburg, Va.
Babcock & Wilcox Co. officially split after the stock market closed Tuesday. The company announced last year it was exploring spinning off its Power Generation Group.

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Net income rises for Omnova Solutions

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 30, 2015

Omnova Solutions Inc. reported higher second quarter net income on lower revenue compared to a year ago.
The Beachwood polymer, speciality chemical and decorative surfaces company earned $3.9 million, or 9 cents per share, on revenue of $220.2 million for the quarter ending May 31. That compares to net income of 3.4 million, or 7 cents per share, on revenue of $266.4 million a year ago.
Shares were down 16 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $7.60 as of 2:55 p.m.
Revenue dropped in part because of issues related to a decline in raw material costs and also foreign exchange weakness, the company said.
Omnova Solutions said it continues “to expect significant growth” in adjusted earnings per share for the full 2015 fiscal year.

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Feds to auction off property of convicted Akron-area scamster

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 30, 2015

The federal government will sell off the largely unfinished home of convicted fraudster Anthony Davian in Bath Township.
The auction for the property at 4862 Travertine Way is scheduled for noon on July 15. The residential site, in the Estates of Bath development, is nearly 2.8 acres and holds a partially finished foundation.
The U.S. Attorney’s office in July 2013 filed a lawsuit in Cleveland to seize the property.
Davian is serving a 57-month sentence in a minimum security prison in Morgantown, W. Va. for scamming nearly $1.8 million from investors. He is scheduled to be released in May 2019, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
Davian, now 36, pleaded guilty last year to one count of securities fraud, two counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud and seven counts of money laundering. He was ordered to repay $1,787,679.62 to the people he defrauded.
One of the 12 investors named is owed $816,998.88, with others owed lesser amounts ranging from $60,000 to $265,000, according to a court document.

A full story will be published in the Akron Beacon Journal and appear online at Ohio.com.

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Downtown Akron may get another hotel; proposal for United Building gets tax credit

By Katie Byard Published: June 30, 2015

Another hotel may be in the works for downtown Akron.

The state has awarded an Ohio Historic Preservation tax credit to a $11.9 million project that would turn the eight-story United Building into a boutique hotel.

The tax credits are designed to spur rehabilitation of historic properties. The state granted a credit valued at roughly $1.6 million to the United Building project.

The Neo-Classical Revival building, at 1 E. Market St., on the southeast corner of Main and Market streets, was built in 1924 to house the United Cigar Stores Co.

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Cleveland Lighting heads south, opening up store in Fairlawn

By Katie Byard Published: June 29, 2015

Cleveland Lighting, a retailer of lighting fixtures, plans to open its first store outside Greater Cleveland, setting up shop on West Market Street in Fairlawn.
Cleveland Lighting expects to open the store at 2930 W. Market St. later this summer.
The building — with a distinctive cylindrical entrance and next to Rockne’s restaurant — was constructed in 2013.

At the time, area developer/construction contractor Todd Ederer said no one was slated to move in, but he was confident the brick, glass and steel structure in the busy retail area would attract a tenant.
Ederer said he was developing the property for an investor who owns the land.
The new Cleveland Lighting 7,000 square-foot store will feature a showroom designed for consumers, builders, interior designers and architects.
Cleveland Lighting, founded in 1994, has its other store in Lyndhurst.
 

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Mac Trailer expansion in Alliance gets Ohio job creation tax credit

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 29, 2015

Mac Trailer Enterprises Inc. is receiving a 55 percent, seven-year state Job Creation Tax Credit for an expansion project in Alliance that is expected to create 150 full-time jobs.
The Stark County project also is expected to generate $7.5 million in additional payroll and retain $26 million in current payroll, according to an announcement Monday from the Ohio governor’s office.
Mac Trailer makes steel and aluminum dump trailers, transfer trailers, flatbed trailers and more at its facilities.

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Prospective homebuyers in Akron can take free home-buying education classes

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 29, 2015

Fair Housing Contract Service is offering free monthly CreditSmart Home Buyer Education classes in Akron to prospective homebuyers.
The next class is on Tuesday, July 14, and on Thursday, July 23, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. both dates at 411 Wolf Ledges Parkway in Akron.
Prospective homebuyers will be able to discuss and ask questions on topics that include money and credit management, the mortgage loan process, shopping for a home, home maintenance, and more.
 Pre-registration is required. Call 330-376-6191.
For a class schedule and updates go to www.fairhousingakron.org.
Fair Housing Contact Service is celebrating its 50th year in business this year.

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Goodyear shutting Great Britain plant and transferring tire production from German factory

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 25, 2015

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is closing a factory in Great Britain and transferring consumer tire production from a Germany plant to other facilities by the end of 2016.
The moves will result in the loss of 360 to 390 jobs, the Akron tire maker said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday.
Goodyear will close a mixing and retreading plant in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom, and transfer production elsewhere.
The company will transfer consumer tire production from Wittlich, Germany, to other facilities as well.
The company did not identify which other plants will receive the new work other than they will be in the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa unit.
The company expects total charges will be between $70 million to $80 million. The moves are expected to save Goodyear about $30 million annually starting in 2017.

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TimkenSteel opens new tech center in Canton

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 24, 2015

TimkenSteel has opened a $5 million, 20,000-square-foot technology center at its corporate campus in Canton.
The center will enable the company to develop clean special bar quality steel and new steel grades, the company said in an announcement Wednesday.
The TimkenSteel Technology Center has a dozen laboratories, including a scanning electron microscope, an ultrasonic lab, a physical process modeling lab and additional labs where metallurgists and materials scientists can test steel and find inclusions less than the width of a hair, the company said.
Steel cleanness is important for high performance in critical products such as gears, bearings, axles, crankshafts, down-the-hole drilling equipment and military applications, the company said.

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Summit County's May jobless rate stays flat as many other Ohio county rates rise

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 23, 2015

Summit County’s unemployment rate was unchanged in May, with rates rising in 55 other Ohio counties.
Summit County had a jobless rate of 4.7 percent last month, the same as in April and down from 5.4 percent a year ago, according to figures released Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Akron’s unemployment rate of 5.5 percent last month was the same as in April and was down from 6.1 percent in May 2014.
The jobless rate in Cuyahoga Falls rose to 4.2 percent in May from 4.1 percent in April and was down from 4.9 percent a year ago.
The monthly jobs figures continue to show that Summit County has yet to recover all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession.
Since 2000, the number of people working in Summit County for the month of May peaked at 280,600 in 2008. There were more people counted as working in May 2009 – 263,700 – when the jobless rate was 9.8 percent than were counted as working last month when the rate was 4.7 percent. Summit County had more people working in May 2000 at 269,600 than last month as well.

The full story will be in the Akron Beacon Journal and online at Ohio.com

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Akron-Canton Airport lands nonstop flights to Fort Lauderdale

By Katie Byard Published: June 23, 2015

Low-cost airline carrier Allegiant on Tuesday said it will add a fourth nonstop new destination from Akron-Canton Airport, Fort Lauderdale.

The service begins Oct. 2, Allegiant said.

Allegiant [NASDAQ: ALGT] is offering introductory fares as low as $69 one way.

For a limited time, the Las Vegas-headquartered carrier also is offering $100 off travel packages to Fort Lauderdale using promo code FLL100. More details can be found at www.allegiant.com.

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Akron's Tasty Pure Food Co staying in the city; losing its current facilities to interchange project

By Katie Byard Published: June 22, 2015

The 93-year-old Tasty Pure Food Co. of Akron - losing its historic office and warehouse spaces on South Broadway to a big highway interchange project - is staying in town.

“We are staying in the town that made us successful,” said Jim Heilmeier, chairman of the company, in a news release.

Tasty Pure, which had considered relocating outside the city, will move into the former Steelastic location at 1557 Industrial Parkway in Akron.

Tasty Pure is currently at 841 Broadway, in one of the iconic red-brick Akron Brewing Co. buildings on South Broadway.

The former Akron Brewing building is among about 30 properties, along South Main and South Broadway. slated to be demolished as the Ohio Department of Transportation prepares to build the new $132 million highway interchange.

The interchange is at South Broadway and South Main, south of the city's downtown.

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Smithers Rapra upgrades Ravenna tire testing lab

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 22, 2015

Smithers Rapra has upgraded its tire and wheel laboratory in Ravenna so it can test tires for the European market.
“We can now service customers who manufacture tires for the European market at our testing laboratories in Ravenna, Ohio and Suzhou, China,” James A. Popio, vice president and general manager of Akron-based Smithers Rapra, said in a statement.
The upgrade at the Ravenna facility allows the laboratory to measure tire rolling resistance for European tire standards, conformity of production, and labeling requirements.

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Akron Paint & Varnish to buy old Bridgestone property; add jobs

By Katie Byard Published: June 22, 2015

The 130-plus year-old Akron Paint & Varnish Inc. is poised to expand its facilities and add manufacturing jobs.

Akron City Council members Monday night will consider a proposed deal that would have the company, which makes coatings and other products, buying 4.5 acres of city-owned land off Firestone Parkway, south of downtown Akron.

Akron Paint & Varnish -- also known as APV Engineered Coatings - would pay $25,000 and acre, or more than $100,000, for the city-owned property, which includes a 30,000 square-foot buidling.

Akron Paint & Varnish would renovate the existing building and build a 32,000 square-foot structure on the site.

Akron Paint would add 10 full-time employees in the first year, and a total of 30 to 40 new full-time employees in three years.

Many people mistakenly think Akron Paint still sells paint products to the public. It hasn't for decades.

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Groups start working to pass federal law intended to stave off private pension cuts

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 18, 2015

Mike Walden used a baseball metaphor in describing  the introduction Thursday of federal legislation that would, if passed, eliminate pension cut provisions that are now law and could impact more than a million people in upcoming years.
“This is just spring training for a rally in the future,” said Walden, a retired Teamster truck driver from Cuyahoga Falls and head of a Northeast Ohio organization dedicated to repealing major parts, if not all, of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014. The law allows financially troubled multiemployer pension plans to cut benefits to current retirees, primarily union.
Walden was among an estimated 150 people at a press conference called by U.S. Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, that introduced the “Keep Our Pension Promises Act” sponsored by the two legislators.
The Sanders/Kaptur legislation has received strong support in some quarters, including the AARP, while also drawing criticism by others who backed the 2014 law.
The proposed law was announced one day after the federal government began preparing for private pension cuts to many (largely union) retirees over the next several years.

A full story will appear in the Akron Beacon Journal and online at Ohio.com

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Akron area gets new group that will promote arts, culture

By Katie Byard Published: June 17, 2015

A new nonprofit Summit County arts group -- called ArtsNow -- will launch July 1.

The group’s aim to promote arts and cutlure in the county, working with existing arts and culture organizations, businesses, individuals, other nonprofits and civic groups.
ArtsNow’s first major effort wil be a website showcasing “all arts and culture happenings in Summit County,” according to a news release.

Activities posted on the website would include everything from productions and exhibits at venues such as the Akron Civic Theater and the Akron Art Museum to dance recitals and church choir programs.

The website is scheduled to be up and running this fall.

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Goodyear airships to fly over Akron today

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 17, 2015

A tandem Goodyear blimp flight over Akron is on for today.
Goodyear says weather conditions have improved and that Wingfoot One and the Spirit of Innovation should be in the air about 3:30 and head from the blimp base in Suffield Township to Akron.
Goodyear’s planned tandem blimp flight had been in a rain delay since this morning.
Goodyear is planning to fly the new Wingfoot One airship and the Spirit of Innovation blimp to the company’s headquarters in East Akron.

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Clearing weather improves chances for Goodyear tandem airship flight today

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 17, 2015

There could be a tandem Goodyear blimp flight today over Akron after all.
Goodyear says if rainy weather continues to clear up  it could to fly Wingfoot One and the Spirit of Innovation after 3 p.m.
A company spokesman said a decision on whether to fly may be made about 2 p.m.
Goodyear’s planned blimp flight has been in a rain delay since this morning.
Should there be no flight today the next best chance for a tandem flight will be Friday, the spokesman said.
Goodyear is planning to fly the new Wingfoot One airship and the Spirit of Innovation blimp from the airship base in Suffield Township to the company’s headquarters in East Akron.

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Sanders, Kaptur offer legislation to repeal private pension cut provisions

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 17, 2015

By Jim Mackinnon
Beacon Journal business writer
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur are introducing legislation Thursday to repeal pension cut provisions in the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.
The act, signed into law by President Obama, would allow significant pension payment cuts to hundreds of thousands of retirees – primarily retired union members –covered by significantly underfunded multiemployer plans.
In some cases, retirees could have their monthly pension payments cut by two-thirds.
Details of the legislation, called the “Keep Our Pension Promises Act”, will be unveiled at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol Thursday morning. Sanders, an independent from Vermont and running as a Democratic presidential candidate, and Kaptur, D-Toledo, will be at the conference.
Also attending will be Northeast Ohio residents impacted by the pension reform act, including members of the Northeast Ohio Committee to Protect Pensions. The committee is made up largely of retired union members, many of whom are Teamsters, who opposed the pension cut provisions in the 2014 act.
Sanders will introduce the legislation in the Senate while Kaptur will introduce the legislation in the House.
“The new legislation will preserve retirees’ pensions while providing financial relief to troubled multiemployer pension plans, their contributing employers, and the federal private pension insurance program, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation,” according to a press release.
Co-sponsors include Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio,  and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles.
The Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014 was a bipartisan effort backed by some unions.
The goal was to save severely underfunded, private-sector, multiemployer pensions. Under multiemployer plans, different companies pay money into one pension fund.
But multiemployer funds are a large percentage of the nation’s least financially stable pensions.
The act also is intended to reduce strains on the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., or PBGC, the privately funded federal backstop for pension funds.
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or jmackinnon@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow him @JimMackinnonABJ on Twitter or www.facebook.com/JimMackinnonABJ. His stories can be found at www.ohio.com/writers/jim-mackinnon.

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SEC approves another step in upcoming B&W spinoff

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 16, 2015

Charlotte-based Babcock & Wilcox Co. has passed another regulatory hurdle as it prepares to spin off its Power Generation group as a separate publicly traded company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has “declared effective” B&W Enterprises Inc.’s Form 10 registration statement that will be sent to B&W stockholders prior to the June 30 spinoff.
B&W Enterprises, also called New B&W, will consist of the Power Generation subsidiary; the spun off company will then be renamed Babcock & Wilcox. Power Generation has substantial operations in Barberton.
The former B&W, made up largely of nuclear energy-related operations, will be renamed BWX Technologies.
The Form 10 provides additional details about the spin-off. A copy of the preliminary information statement can be found at www.babcock.com.

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Blair Rubber Co. unveils expanded manufacturing facility

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 16, 2015

Blair Rubber Co. is showing off and officially opening its new 50,000-square-foot manufacturing expansion this week.
The Seville company, which makes corrosion resistant rubber linings for storage tanks, railroad cars and more, has added onto its headquarters at 5020 Panther Parkway. The facility includes additional warehouse and office space.
A 10 a.m. Wednesday ribbon cutting ceremony will be followed by tours.  The addition was designed by JBA Architects, with general contractor Marshall/EM Construction.
The company has 86 employees at its Seville headquarters and sister company Hyload in Wadsworth.

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Fair Finance creditors should get a distribution this year, trustee says in web site update

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 15, 2015

The official web site for the Fair Finance Co. $205 million Ponzi scheme and bankruptcy case received a significant update Monday, with the trustee saying he expects to make an interim distribution this year to the thousands of people who were defrauded.
The update is intended to bring people up to speed on the status of lawsuits, how much money remains to be collected and other related matters in the years-long case.
The trustee recently negotiated a $35 million settlement with a New York financing firm that appears to be the main reason for an interim distribution. The trustee is awaiting court approval on another proposed $3 million settlement. As of June 1, the estate had a bit more than $4.1 million in a money market fund.
Trustee Brian Bash said he will make “every effort” to do an interim distribution this year to the more than 5,000 Ohio residents who were defrauded in the Ponzi scheme case when they purchased uninsured investment certificates from the former Akron financial services firm. In many cases people invested their life savings with Fair Finance, whose two co-owners, both businessmen from Indiana, are now in federal prison.

The full story will appear in the Akron Beacon Journal and online at Ohio.com

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Teams plug liquid petroleum gas leak in railroad tanker in Canton

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 15, 2015

A response team from Marathon Oil late Sunday afternoon stopped a liquid petroleum gas leak on a railroad car in a remote area near TimkenSteel on Deuber Avenue SW in Canton.
Firefighters and a hazardous materials, or hazmat, team also responded to the leaking railroad tank car, according to a story in The Repository. Canton firefighters were called to the scene at 3:40 p.m. and remained there about two hours.
The tanker car was on railroad tracks south of TimkenSteel, according to the paper.

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TimkenSteel named 'Steel Producer of Year'

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 12, 2015

TimkenSteel was named Steel Producer of the Year at the American Metal Market Awards for Steel Excellence.
The Canton steel maker also won Best Innovation Process for its new $200 million jumbo bloom vertical caster at its Faircrest steel plant. The facility, which went into operation in October, is the biggest continuous vertical bloom caster in the world and the only one of its kind in North America.
“We’re honored by this recognition, which is the result of our employees’ efforts in what was a remarkable year. Not only did we become an independent company, but we brought our new jumbo bloom vertical caster online,”  Ward J. “Tim” Timken Jr., chairman, CEO and president, said in a statement.

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Hartville Pet Insurance to move to Akron, will bring 100 workers

By Katie Byard Published: June 12, 2015


Hartville Pet Insurance Group in Canton plans to  move to Akron, bringing with it 100 full-time employees and a base annual payroll of about $4 million.
City spokeswoman Stephanie York said in a news release issued Friday that council members will vote Monday on a contract between the city and the company that would provide Hartville Pet Insurance with “relocation assistance."
Hartville is one of the oldest and largest pet insurance companies in the United States, according to the news release.
 “We are excited to welcome Hartville and its employees to Akron,” Mayor Jeff Fusco said in the release.

“Hartville has assured us that they will work hard to train and add additional jobs once they relocate to Akron.  This is great news for our residents.”
Check back with www.Ohio.com for more information.

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Northeast Ohio car sales fall in May; Summit County sales rise

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 12, 2015

New vehicle sales fell in May in Northeast Ohio despite a strong uptick in truck and SUV purchases.
Sales dropped 2.9 percent last month compared to May 2014, according to the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association. There were 20,591 new vehicles sold last month in a 21-county area of northern Ohio compared to 21,198 a year ago.
Sales in Summit County, though, were up from a year ago.
New vehicle sales in Summit County hit 2,194, up 3.3 percent from 2,124 a year ago, according to the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association. Used vehicle sales in the county totaled 3,034, up 2.8 percent from 2,951 in May 2014.
In all of Northeast Ohio, new truck and SUV sales were up 11.1 percent in May compared to May 2014, the Cleveland dealers’ association reported. There were 6,624 trucks and SUVs sold in May compared to 5,960 a year ago.
“It’s definitely the continuation of a trend that we have seen over the last few months,” Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the GCADA, said in a statement. “Lower fuel prices continue to drive sales of trucks and SUVs. At the same time, several brands introduced new trucks and SUVs that have come into showrooms in the last few months, helping sales as well.”
Overall sales since Jan. 1 are up slightly – almost flat – compared to the same period in 2014. Sales for the period total 98,311, up 0.2 percent from 98,188 for the same months in 2014.
“While we have seen some fluctuations in the numbers from month to month, the factors that contribute to overall sales growth are still in place,” Vitantonio said. “We are still predicting an increase of between one and three percent for the year.”
Ford continued to be the best-selling brand in the region with 3,444 new vehicles, followed by Chevrolet with 2,947. Honda sales were third, followed by Toyota.

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Mogadore plant part of Omnova Solutions' revamp of factories

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 11, 2015

Polymer company Omnova Solutions Inc. is shutting down about 130 million pounds of chemical production capacity at its Mogadore facility as part of a larger revamp of its U.S. factories and to reduce expenses.
The 75 jobs in Mogadore are not expected to be impacted – the changes Omnova is making are positioning the Northeast Ohio facility for future growth in what it calls “attractive specialty markets,” the company announced Thursday. The Mogadore plant will become one of the company’s “Centers of Excellence.”
Beachwood-based Omnova is shifting production of styrene butadiene latex, a chemical used in paper and carpet making. It will end large-scale production of the chemical in Mogadore and close down a plant in Calhoun, Georgia. Styrene butadiene, also known as SB, will be made at the company’s plant in Green Bay, Wisc.

A full story will be in the Akron Beacon Journal and online at www.ohio.com.

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TimkenSteel starts $40 million 'quench-and-temper' project

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 9, 2015

TimkenSteel has started building a $40 million “quench-and-temper” facility at its Gambrinus steel plant in Perry Township.
The advanced facility is expected to be fully operational next year.
It will heat-treat steel and have capacity for 50,000 process-tons annually of 4-inch to 13-inch bars and tubes as part of the Canton steel maker’s most sophisticated product lines.
 The new project is going up near other existing quench-and-temper thermal treatment facilities at the Gambrinus plant. The project is being supported by Perry Township, Stark County and JobsOhio, with the Stark County Port Authority serving as a financing vehicle.

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Goodyear to start using rice husks, a waste product, in tire making

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 9, 2015

Goodyear has locked up a supply of rice waste that it will use as an ingredient in tire making.
The Akron tire maker on Tuesday said it reached a supply agreement with Yihai Food and Oil Industry in China for silica derived from rice husk ash. It is also negotiating agreements with other suppliers. Goodyear announced in September it planned to use silica derived from rice husks in some of its tires.
Terms were not disclosed.
Silica is an ingredient used in tire tread compounds to reduce rolling resistance that in turn improves vehicle fuel consumption.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. said it will use the rice-derived silica this year in  a Chinese-made consumer tire that will be manufactured in its new factory in Pulandian, China. The tire will be sold in China.
Using rice husks reduces landfill waste and reduces energy consumption, Goodyear said. Disposing of rice husks is an environmental challenge, with husks often burned to generate electricity.

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B&W spin off of Power Generation business set for June 30

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 9, 2015

Babcock & Wilcox Co. will spin off its Power Generation business as a separate publicly traded company on June 30, according to a federal filing.
Charlotte-based B&W on Monday approved the spinoff through the distribution of shares in what is being called the “New B&W” or Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. The New B&W in turn will be renamed Babcock & Wilcox. The Power Generaton business, which focuses on technology and service involving coal-fired power plants, has substantial operations in Barberton.
And  B&W in turn will be renamed BWX Technologies. BWX will not have an ownership interest in Babcock & Wilcox, according to the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Stockholders will generally receive one share of New B&W common stock for every two shares of company stock held at the close of business on June 18, the record date of the spin-off. Shareholders will receive cash for any fractional shares they hold.

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United to add nonstop to Newark at Akron-Canton in October

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: June 8, 2015

Less than a month after airline giant Southwest Airlines announced it was cutting four nonstop routes from Akron-Canton Airport, including New York City, another airline said it would begin service to the New York City region.

The Akron-Canton Airport announced this morning that United Airlines will begin new, nonstop United Express service to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) – one of United Airline’s premier international gateways – on October 25. The twice-daily service will be operated by ExpressJet with 50- seat, ERJ-145 regional jets.

“Business travelers will love United Airlines’ new service from CAK,” said airport President and CEO, Rick McQueen, in a press release. “Newark Liberty International Airport is not only an exceptional gateway to New York City, but to Europe and beyond..”

“Flyers from CAK already have great west-bound access to United’s expansive global route network through our Chicago hub, and the new service to Newark will add even more one-stop connections to cities around the globe,” said Annette Zappala, Great Lakes Regional Sales Managerfor United.

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Team NEO names former KeyCorp exec as its CEO

By Katie Byard Published: June 5, 2015

Regional economic development group Team NEO said Friday it has named William R. Koehler, most recently a KeyCorp banking company executive, as its new CEO.
Koehler begins his new job June 15. He succeeds Tom Waltermire, who retired as chief executive Dec. 31, 2014.
Area chambers of commerce formed Team Northeast Ohio, with offices in Cleveland, in 2003. Team NEO’s initial focus was attracting businesses to a multi-county region, including Summit, Stark, Portage, Medina and Wayne counties. Now, the group is focusing on an overall regional economic development strategy.
Team NEO chairman James R. Clay said in a news release, “Bill’s vast leadership experience and business acumen make him perfectly suited to take on this critical leadership role at Team NEO.”
Team NEO board member William Christopher noted in the news release that Team NEO’s national search “led us to someone from the community who is highly qualified to lead this organization into the future.”
Koehler  has more than two decades of experience in corporate banking and has served in various leadership positions within Key and was responsible for sales teams operating in Cleveland, Canton, Akron and Youngstown, according to the Team NEO news release and Koehler’s LinkedIn page.
Most recently, he led KeyBank’s Community Bank as president. He has an MBA in accounting and finance from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in economics from Harvard University. He is chairman of College Now Greater Cleveland and is a board member of Friends of Breakthrough Charter Schools, Urban Community School and St. Ignatius High School.
 

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Dominion SCO price up slightly for June

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: June 4, 2015

Involta, owner of Akron data storage center, buys Youngstown company

By Katie Byard Published: June 4, 2015

Involta, the owner of a three-year-old facility in Akron that holds troves of computerized data for customers, has doubled the number of its employees, acquiring a Youngstown company.
Involta, which has eight data storage centers, including the one in Akron, said Thursday that its purchase of Data Recovery Services LLC means more than half of Involta’s nearly 200 employees reside in Ohio.
“This move positions Involta as a powerhouse in the Ohio market,” said Carl Gordulic, DRS president, in a news release.
Terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed, Involta officials said. The deal is expected to close soon.
Involta, headquarted in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, entered the Ohio market in 2012, building a $17 million data center on Miller Avenue. The facility, a highly secure concrete block building, employs 8-10 people. The opening of the center was much ballyhooed, with city and county leaders saying they were thrilled to attract investment to a depressed, industrial area of South Akron.
Involta received local and state financial incentives to build in South Akron, on land that previously housed Brown-Graves Lumber Co.
DRS in Youngstown was founded in 2000 as NSI Group and offers IT consulting and  “managed services,” meaning customers outsource their IT infrastructure to DRS.
With the purchase, Involta picks up more than 5,500 miles of fiber optic cable — used for fast transmittal of data —  in Ohio and western Pennsylvania, two Youngstown data centers owned and operated
by DRS and data center space in Pittsburgh that DRS leases, among other assets.
Chris Shroyer, Involta’s vice president of sales and marketing, said in an interview that Involta plans to retain DRS employees and maintain DRS facilities.
“This is all about growth. We’re in a growing industry,” he said. “Both organizations are growing faster than the industry,” to be able to quickly respond to growth in demand. “This is about creating an equation that one plus one equals more than two.”
The acquisition comes about a year after Involta said it had received a $50 million infusion from private equity investors. Involta LLC President Bruce Lehrman said last year that the investment would allow Involta’s growth.
Equity company M/C Partners of Boston led the group of private equity investors that includes Morgan Stanley Investment Partners.
In addition to its data center in Akron, Involta has centers in Iowa, Minnesota, Idaho and Arizona.

 

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Goodyear, Sumitomo to end alliance

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 4, 2015

Goodyear has reached an agreement with Sumitomo Rubber Industries Ltd. to dissolve its global alliance with the company.

Goodyear said Thursday that it is ending the alliance that dates back to 1999.
The agreement covered four joint-venture operating companies — one each in North America and Europe and two in Japan.

Goodyear will pay Sumitomo $271 million once the agreement closes and sell 3.4 million shares of Sumitomo stock.

"While we have derived value from the alliance over the last 16 years, Goodyear is well-positioned today to pursue our strategy on our own,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard J. Kramer said in a statement. “This successful resolution increases our flexibility to grow profitably as we continue to focus on delivering strong performance and sustainable economic value.”

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Smucker reports fourth-quarter loss

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: June 4, 2015

Orrville-based food company J.M. Smucker Co. said its fourth-quarter earnings were impacted by its recent acquisition of a pet food company and continuing weak coffee sales.

The maker of Smucker jellies, Folgers coffee and Pillsbury -- and now pet foods such as Nine Lives and Milkbone --  posted a net loss of $90.3 million for the fourth quarter. That was compared to a profit of $118.5 million during the same time a year ago. The company posted a profit of $344.9 million for the year, down from $565.2 million a year earlier.

Smucker completed its $5.6 billion acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands on March 23, ahead of schedule, the company said. However, the company said its fourth-quarter earnings were "significantly impacted" by the acquisition and related purchase accounting and financing activities during its fourth quarter." The company's results were also impacted by the completion of the acquisition in September of Sahale Snacks Inc., a nut and fruit snack maker headquartered in Seattle.

The Big Heart operations for the six weeks since Smucker has owned it has had net sales of $244.5 million and an operating loss of $26 million, "reflecting the unfavorable impact of a $47 million fair value purchase accounting adjustment to acquired inventory sold during the quarter" and "incremental promotional spending and marketing expense to support new product introductions," the company said.

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Beige Book: Ohio economy expands modestly; job growth seen in healthcare, IT and manufacturing

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 3, 2015

The economy in Ohio and parts of neighboring states expanded slightly the past six weeks, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in the latest Beige Book report released Wednesday.
The Cleveland Fed reported:
• Manufacturing activity was mixed. Suppliers to the aerospace, motor vehicle, and construction industries continue to see strong or strengthening demand.
• Nonresidential building saw a strong boost in activity. Single-family starts picked up a bit in April. New-home contracts remain concentrated in the move-up price point categories. Prices are trending higher because of rising labor costs and lower existing-home inventory.
• Retail sales were slightly higher than a year ago.
Businesses with higher revenues over the period attributed them to lower gasoline prices and improvements in the weather and job market. One apparel retailer noted that weak wage growth is a barrier to accelerated consumer demand.
• New car sales fell slightly compared to a year ago. Consumers continued to show a strong preference for SUVs and light trucks.
• Marcellus and Utica shale activity leveled out after declining about 25 percent since late last year. Natural gas production remains at a high level, but the pace of growth is declining. There is a potential drop in wellhead prices as a result of storage levels above what is typical for this time of year.
• Most freight haulers indicated that volume has softened over the period.
• The demand for business and consumer credit continued to move slowly higher.
• Payrolls were little changed. The largest number of job openings were in healthcare, IT, and manufacturing. Job placements did not keep pace because of difficulty in finding qualified applicants. The pace of hiring is expected to be modest across industry sectors this year and be biased toward replacement jobs. Newly created positions typically require a higher-level skill set than in the past. The average increase in wages and salaries is expected to be about 2 to 3 percent; however, firms are increasing wages in selected occupations at a much higher rate than for the labor market as a whole.
High-skilled workers have enough confidence in the job market that they are not hesitant about moving from one employer to another. As a result, firms are increasing budgets for retention.

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Allegiant Air starts Akron-Canton nonstop to Myrtle beach today

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: June 3, 2015

Low-cost airline carrier Allegiant today started its third nonstop new destination from Akron-Canton Airport to Myrtle Beach.  The airline recently arrived at Akron-Canton and also flies nonstop to Tampa/ St. Petersburg, Fla. and Savannah/Hilton Head.

To celebrate, it is offering a sale. Here's the details:

GREEN, Ohio.June 3, 2015— Allegiant (NASDAQ: ALGT) today celebrates the start of Akron / Canton’s only nonstop service to the “Grand Strand” with seasonal nonstop flights to Myrtle Beach. The company, known for its exceptional travel deals, is offering one-wayfares as low as $46*

 

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Greater Cleveland auto dealers' group offering scholarships and more

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 2, 2015

The Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association, through its Auto Dealer Educational Assistance Foundation,  is donating more than $175,000 via three separate education programs designed to support member dealers, dealership employees and their dependents, and schools that have post-secondary automotive technology education programs.
The foundation offers $125,000 in scholarships to dealership employees or their dependents. In addition, the dealers’ association is donating $25,000 to post-secondary automotive technology programs at Stark State College, Cuyahoga Community College and Northwood University.
The foundation is offering nine “Grow Your Own” apprentice service technician grants that offer a maximum reimbursement of $3,200 to help offset employment costs of apprentices.
The 2015 “Grow Your Own” apprentice service technician grant allows association member dealers to apply for reimbursement for up to two months’ pay for an employee who has graduated from, or who is in the second year of enrollment at, a pre-approved post-secondary school with an automotive technician curriculum.
Through the foundation, the dealers’ association offered 50 scholarships worth $2,500 each to dealership employees and their dependents.
The foundation also will donate $10,000 each to Stark State College and Cuyahoga Community College as well as $5,000 to Northwood University.

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Fair Finance trustee reaches $3 million settlement with National Lampoon

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 1, 2015

Comedy movie maker National Lampoon may have given thousands of Fair Finance investors reason to smile at least a little bit in the years-long financial scandal case.
The California company, whose legacy includes movies Animal House and the Vacation series starring Chevy Chase, has agreed to pay $3 million into the bankrupt Akron company’s estate – although final payment could be 10 years away.
The company and Fair Finance trustee Brian Bash reached a settlement, according to an 81-page court document filed Friday. The proposed settlement is still subject to bankruptcy court approval. Bash sued National Lampoon in June 2011 for $9 million over its ties to Akron-based Fair Finance and its Indiana owner,Tim Durham.
The $3 million settlement follows a proposed $35 million settlement that financial firm Fortress Credit Corp. agreed to with Bash on May 11. The Fortress settlement is scheduled to be heard 8:30 a.m. Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, 201 Superior Ave., Cleveland.

The full story will appear on Ohio.com and in the Akron Beacon Journal

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2 Goodyear airships now in Akron area; California blimp to be retired in August

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 1, 2015

Keep your eyes peeled on the Akron-area skies in upcoming weeks: You should spy two Goodyear airships flying around.
Meanwhile, Goodyear’s California-based blimp will be retiring later this summer.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is doing a nationwide shuffle of its three iconic goodwill (and marketing) U.S. ambassadors as part of the impending retirement of the nearly 13-year-old Spirit of America.
The state-of-the-art Wingfoot One semi-rigid airship, which has been based at the company’s Wingfoot Lake airship operations since its first flight more than a year ago, will head to its permanent home in Florida in September or October.
The Spirit of Innovation, which had been based in Florida, is now in Northeast Ohio along with Wingfoot One.
And when the Spirit of America retires, the Spirit of Innovation, which first flew in 2006, will go to Carson, Calif., its new home.
Also keep in mind that Goodyear continues to build a second semi-rigid Zeppelin airship inside the Wingfoot Lake base in Suffield Township. That still-unnamed airship is expected to make its first flight sometime in the spring of 2016.

The full story will appear on Ohio.com and in the Akron Beacon Journal.

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FirstEnergy completes transmission projects

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: June 1, 2015

FirstMerit names new vice chairman, chief commercial banking officer

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: June 1, 2015

Akron-based bank FirstMerit Corp. has announced the appointment of David G. Goodall as Vice Chairman and Chief Commercial Banking Officer of FirstMerit Corporation, effective June 1.

Goodall will continue to have direct oversight of and responsibility for Commercial and Business Banking for FirstMerit and will continue to report to Paul G. Greig, Chairman, President and CEO of FirstMerit.

"Since David joined FirstMerit in 2009, first as Executive Vice President of Specialty Lending, then later to Senior Executive Vice President, Commercial Banking, the organic growth of our commercial segment has been significant throughout our expanded footprint," said Greig. "I am pleased to recognize David's leadership role within the company as he continues to manage our Commercial Banking efforts."

Goodall has 28 years of commercial banking experience. Prior to joining FirstMerit in 2009, he was employed by National City for 12 years, most recently as President and CEO of National City Business Credit, Inc., a subsidiary of National City Bank. 

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Schulman completes $800 million transformative Citadel purchase

By Jim Mackinnon Published: June 1, 2015

A. Schulman Inc. has closed on its previously announced $800 million acquisition of  Citadel Plastics Holdings Inc., a specialty engineered plastics company based in Illinois.
The Fairlawn maker of plastic compounds, powders and resins said Monday the transaction will add to earnings over the next 12 months. It also will save Schulman about $25 million in “synergies” over the next 18 months.
Adding Citadel and its $525 million in annual revenue will transform Schulman into a nearly $3 billion a year company.  Citadel makes what are called thermoset composites and thermoplastic compounds used in a variety of industries, including automotive.
Citidel was owned by private equity firms HGGC and Charlesbank Capital Partners.
“We are thrilled to add Citadel to our portfolio of highly specialized businesses, and welcome the talented group of associates to the A. Schulman team,” Bernard Rzepka, president and chief executive officer of A. Schulman, said in a statement. “With significant revenue in the United States, Citadel greatly enhances our regional scale and efficiencies, as well as balances our current global geographic footprint. Citadel also provides a strong entry point to our ‘Expanded Vision’ initiative by adding a second strategic growth platform to our organization with its industry-leading, value-added specialty engineered composites business.”

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