LOCAL BUSINESS

Wooster company grows

LuK USA, an auto parts maker and one of Wayne Countyís largest employers, has snagged a $225,288 tax credit from the state for an expansion project expected to create 95 jobs at the companyís Wooster facility.

LuK USA is expanding manufacturing to include a press room and assembly facility. The tax credit was approved Monday by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. The company now has 1,200 employees, according to news reports in the Wooster Daily Record.

The company told the state the additional jobs would generate $2.865 million in additional annual payroll within three years.

LuK USA, which makes clutches and torque converters, was established in Wooster in 1977. LuK USA is part of LuK GmbH, which is part of the international Schaeffler manufacturing conglomerate.

Durham loses license

Convicted Fair Finance Co. scam artist Timothy Durham canít practice law anymore.

The former Indianapolis businessman, now serving a 50-year term in federal prison, had his law license suspended last week, Indianapolis media report.

Durham, 50, was convicted last year on 12 felony counts of scamming 5,300 Ohio residents out of more than $200 million in investment certificates purchased from?Akron-based Fair Finance Co.; Durham bought the business in 2002. Durham is appealing the conviction.

ENERGY

Chesapeake makes deal

China Petrochemical Corp., the second-largest energy producer in the most-populous nation, agreed to buy a stake in a U.S. oil field from Chesapeake Energy Corp. for less than one-third of its estimated value. Chesapeake is a major investor in Utica shale drilling in eastern Ohio.

Sinopec, as the Beijing-based explorer is known, will pay $1.02 billion in cash for a 50 percent interest in 850,000 acres Chesapeake controls in what is called the Mississippi Lime formation. The price equates to $2,400 an acre, less than the $7,000 to $8,000 at which Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake valued the asset in a July presentation.

The transaction involves drilling rights across an area twice the size of New York City with wells that Chesapeake said were pumping the equivalent of 34,000 barrels of crude a day during the final three months of 2012. Sinopec will exercise more control over drilling decisions and costs than Chesapeake partners have on similar ventures because the Chinese company isnít handing over a lump sum to cover future drilling costs, said Mark Hanson, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Services in Chicago.

AUTO INDUSTRY

VW executive moves to GM

General Motors has hired an executive from Volkswagen to lead the marketing of its most important brand.

Tim Mahoney, VWís chief product and marketing officer since 2011, will start April 1 as global head of marketing for the Chevrolet brand. Heíll also be responsible for overall coordination of GMís global marketing.

General Motorsí top marketing post has been vacant since last July, when the company forced Joel Ewanick to step down. Its marketing efforts so far have failed to substantially boost U.S. sales. The Detroit automaker reported a 4 percent U.S. sales increase last year while overall U.S. auto sales rose 13 percent.

VW, on the other hand, has seen sales grow across the globe, especially in the U.S. Volkswagen Groupís sales rose almost 31 percent in the U.S. last year.

RETAIL

Barnes & Noble shares jump

Barnes & Noble Inc. shares gained Monday after Chairman Leonard Riggio said he will offer to buy the stores and website of the chain he founded more than 40 years ago as it struggles to navigate the rising popularity of digital books.

Barnes & Noble jumped 11 percent to $15.06 for the biggest one-day gain since Oct. 31. The shares had increased 9.1 percent in the 12 months through Feb. 22, compared with a 12 percent increase for the Standard & Poorís 500 Index.

The price would be negotiated with the board, and the buyout would be funded primarily with cash, Riggio said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The proposal would exclude Barnes & Nobleís Nook and college businesses, he said.

Riggio, the companyís largest holder with about 30 percent of the stock, declined to comment beyond the filing, according to a company spokeswoman.

If successful, Riggio would leave a public company composed of a college unit that runs bookstores for universities and a digital division that sells tablets and digital content. In October, the company placed the units in a subsidiary called Nook Media.

Compiled from staff and wire reports