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Business news briefs — April 1

LOCAL BUSINESS

Business loan fund

The Barberton Growth Fund, which grants low-interest loans to startup companies that locate in the city, is gearing up for another round of funding.

Businesses interested in learning about the fund — and how to apply for loans —­­­­ can attend an information session from 5 to 6:30 p.m. April 17 at Barberton Brookside Country Club, 3727 Golf Course Drive, Norton. The deadline to apply is May 2.

Early stage companies — those that fund organizers consider to have high potential to raise additional money from public and private sources — can tap the fund for payment-deferred, low-interest loans up to $50,000, organizers say.

The companies must be headquartered in Barberton or agree to move there.

The April 17 information session is free, but attendees are asked to register. To RSVP, call 330-745-3070 or email Kathleen Sawyer at kathleensawyer@bcdc.org.

The Barberton Community Development Corp. (BCDC), with money from the Barberton Community Foundation, established the fund. JumpStart, a regional nonprofit, helps to oversee the program.

Entrepreneurs located in or willing to grow their early stage, tech-based company in Barberton can apply for Barberton Growth Fund loans at www.jumpstartnetwork.org.

RPM sets dividend

RPM International Inc. of Medina announced a regular quarterly cash dividend of 24 cents a share, payable April 30 to shareholders of record on April 11.

ECONOMY

Manufacturing grows

Manufacturing grew at a slightly faster pace in March compared with February as factory output recovered from weather disruptions. Manufacturers received more orders, suggesting production could strengthen in the months ahead. The Institute for Supply Management, a purchasing managers group, said its manufacturing index increased to 53.7 from 53.2 in February. A reading above 50 indicates expansion.

Home prices up

Home prices nationwide rose in February from a year earlier at a solid pace, suggesting a tight supply of available homes is boosting prices despite slowing sales.

Real estate data company CoreLogic said prices for existing homes nationwide rose 12.2 percent in February from a year ago. That was up slightly from January’s year-over-year pace of 12 percent. On a month-to-month basis, prices in February rose 0.8 percent from January. But CoreLogic’s month-to-month prices aren’t adjusted for seasonal patterns, such as winter weather, which can depress sales.

In the Akron area, home prices, including distressed sales, increased by 1.6 percent in February 2014 compared to February 2013. On a month-over-month basis, home prices, including distressed sales, decreased by 1.9 percent in February 2014 compared to January 2014.

Distressed sales are those involving properties in foreclosures and those sold in a “short sale” process. Short sales occur when a lender allows a property to be sold for less than what is owed on the mortgage.

The month-to-month Akron-area prices are not seasonally adjusted, just as the national month-to-month figures are not.

Excluding distressed sales, year-over-year prices increased in the Akron region by 7.3 percent in February 2014 compared to February 2013. On a month-over-month basis, excluding distressed sales, CoreLogic’s data indicates Akron area home prices increased by 0.4 percent in February 2014 compared to January 2014.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Tesla law moves forward

The Ohio Senate passed a bill that would let electric car maker Tesla Motors operate three dealerships in the state. Its passage comes after Ohio auto dealers struck a compromise to let California-based Tesla sell its electric cars at existing stores in Columbus and Cincinnati. The company also could open a third store, planned for the Cleveland area. No other automaker could operate manufacturer-owned stores in the state. Ohio was among states proposing to block Tesla from setting up additional direct-sales galleries on the grounds that they undercut traditional auto dealerships. Ohio auto dealers saw Tesla as a threat to a system in which nearly all dealerships are independently owned franchises that are separate from manufacturers. The House must still consider the proposal.

Compiled from staff and wire reports



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