PUCO chairman to speak
The groups NorTech and Advanced Energy Economy Ohio announced Todd A. Snitchler, chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), will be keynote speaker at the first statewide Advanced Energy B2B Conference & Expo, being held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus on Oct. 30-31. Snitchler will speak at 8 a.m. Oct. 31.
B&W gets contract
Babcock & Wilcox Co., which has Barberton operations, announced that its construction company unit in power generation was awarded a joint venture contract worth more than $290 million for environmental control systems for Interstate Power and Light Co.’s Ottumwa Generating Station power plant in Ottumwa, Iowa.
Smucker competitor wants out
Unilever Plc is looking for a buyer for its Skippy peanut butter brand, which could sell for $300 million to $400 million, said two people with knowledge of the matter. Unilever is working to pare down some of its food assets to focus on health and beauty products.
In the U.S. peanut butter market, Skippy is a distant second to Orrville-based J.M. Smucker Co.’s Jif brand. A Smucker executive had no comment.
“It makes sense,” said Bryan Gildenberg, an analyst with London-based consulting firm Kantar Retail. “Unilever has been public about their desire to position themselves as more of a personal care company than a food company.”
Unilever, based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, isn’t exiting the food business. The company is pruning some brands judged not to be a core of its portfolio. In August, the company completed the sale of its P.F. Chang’s and Bertolli frozen meals businesses to ConAgra Foods Inc. for $267 million.
Jo-Ann’s holiday hiring
Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, based in Hudson, said it will hire more than 3,000 people for work during the holiday shopping period. The company said in-store employment would increase by more than 15 percent.
Jo-Ann ranks 16th among Summit County’s largest employers as of June 30 with 1,311 full-time employees in the county according to rankings published Oct. 1 by Crain’s Cleveland Business.
Facebook hits a billion
Facebook has hit the biggest milestone in the company’s eight-year history: 1 billion users.
Company founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg made it official with a post on his Facebook Timeline on Thursday morning: The social networking giant has wired one-seventh of the world’s population.
Fla. women sue Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was sued in Florida by 11 women who claim the company engages in gender-based discrimination, two days after a similar case was brought in Tennessee.
The complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale alleges that Wal-Mart denied the women equal pay and advancement opportunities. The plaintiffs are seeking cash compensation and a court order barring discrimination by the company. A federal case raising similar claims was brought in Nashville on Tuesday.
Mortgage rates dip slightly
Interest rates for 30-year home mortgages declined to a record low for the second week in a row, extending a drop in borrowing costs after applications for home loans jumped to a three-year high.
The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan fell to 3.36 percent in the week ended Thursday from 3.4 percent, according to mortgage guarantor Freddie Mac. It was the lowest in data going back to 1971. The average 15-year rate dropped to 2.69 percent, also a record, from 2.73 percent.