The News and Observer from Raleigh, North Carolina on August 21, 2007 · D3
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The News and Observer from Raleigh, North Carolina · D3

Publication:
Location:
Raleigh, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Page:
D3
Start Free Trial
Cancel

3Dsolve has about 20 employ- ees and will remain headquartered in Cary, said Richard Boyd, 3Dsolve’s chief executive. Boyd is a graduate of the Uni- versity of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has founded several tech- nology firms in the gaming and 3D-graphics industry. His visual- ization technologies have been used in films including “Fearless” and “Mission: Impossible.” Under the deal, Boyd will be- come director of 3D Learning Sys- tems under Lockheed ownership. Boyd said 3Dsolve’s training modules appeal to what he calls the “digital native,” or those fa- miliar with video games. “We’re certainly looking at that demo- graphic across all markets.” Boyd said 3Dsolve had been talking with Lockheed since 2004, when the defense contrac- tor bought a small stake in the Cary startup. “Trying to grow organically was just going to be too difficult,” Boyd said. “They convinced us that with their extended re- sources, we could make a broader impact on the industry.” 3Dsolve had $39.6 million in revenue in 2006. Staff writer Frank Norton can be reached at 829-8926 or frank.norton@newsobserver.com. THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER CHARLOTTE — Home improve- ment retailer Lowe’s Cos., which continues to struggle amid a slug- gish housing market, said Mon- day that sales at stores open at least a year were down 2.6 per- cent for the second quarter. P ro f i t i n - creased for the Mooresvil le- ba sed com- pany, however. Lowe ’ s had earn ings o f $1.02 billion, or 67 cents a share, for the quarter that ended Aug. 3, up 9 percent over the same period a year ago. Total prof- its for the year are down 1 percent so far, and same-store sales are down 4.4 per- cent. Sales for the quarter were up 5 percent at $14.2 billion. Lowe’s took less of a hit than larger rival Home Depot, at which same-store sales dropped by 5.2 percent during the second quar- ter. The smaller company has out- performed its rival during the worst housing market in 16 years, which has reduced demand for kitchen cabinets, hot tubs and other items sold as part of large home-improvement projects. Lowe’s attributed its growing market share to improving its customer-service ratings and building newer stores. Lowe’s chief executive Robert Niblock said sales in North Car- olina were stronger than those in other states such as California and Florida, which have seen a sharp decline in houses being sold. “Compared to what we’re see- ing in other regions, North Car- olina is doing pretty well,” he said. During the second quarter, sales were strongest in the nursery, lawn and landscape departments, company officials said. Paint and stains also performed well. Lowe’s shares rose $1.63 to $28.50 for the biggest gain since August 2003. They have de- clined 8.5 percent this year, com- pared with a 16 percent drop for Home Depot. Bloomberg News contributed to this report. C M Y K C M Y K 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 3D, TUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2007 BY DAVID RANII STAFF WRITER A shareholder lawsuit filed against James River Group contends that the pending $575 million acquisition of the Chapel Hill insurer is “grossly inadequate.” The lawsuit seeks to block the purchase by New York hedge fund D.E. Shaw or, al- ternatively, to collect damages if the deal is completed. The lawsuit, which was filed i n C h a n c e r y C o u r t i n Delaware on Friday, seeks to be a class-action representing all shareholders. James River agreed in June to be acquired by Shaw for $34.50 per share. But the property and casualty insurer disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Com- mission filing this month that it had rejected a higher offer — worth $38 to $40 a share — from an unnamed private equity firm days before the deal with Shaw was announced. “The board failed to pro- vide an adequate reason why it would not negotiate” with the firm that made the higher offer, the lawsuit states. James River’s chief finan- cial officer, Michael Oakes, and Shaw spokeswoman Kari Elassal declined to comment on the lawsuit. James River disclosed in its SEC filing that its board re- jected the higher offer partly because of “significant uncer- tainty” about whether such a deal would really happen. James River said the offer was non- binding and could have been withdrawn at any time. The lawsuit claims that the $34.50-per-share price is “so grossly inadequate as to consti- tute a gross breach of trust com- mitted by defendants against the public stockholders.” The suit argues that the price is lower than the $35.18 clos- ing price on the last trading day before the deal was announced, rather than the premium price paid for similar businesses. “The individual defendants have breached their fiduciary duty to maximize the value for James River’s public sharehold- ers once they determined to put the company up for sale by agreeing to a merger with a po- tential $11 million termination fee while apparently all but ig- noring a greater bid for the com- pany,” the lawsuit states. The lawsuit states that CEO J. Adam Abram has a conflict of interest in the transaction. Abram and Oakes “have been all but assured that they will have the opportunity to be- come part owners of the suc- cessor company to James River if the merger closes.” The lawsuit was filed on be- half of the Judy Quinn Card- well Roth IRA fund. Card- well’s address isn’t disclosed. James River has about 200 employees in Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Richmond. The company’s shares, which went public at $18 in August 2005, closed at $31.08 Monday, down 20 cents. Staff writer David Ranii can be reached at 829-4877 or david.ranii@newsobserver.com. CAREER MOVES News about people who have been named or promoted to positions and news about business activities in North Carolina should be sent to Business News Desk, The News & Observer, 215 S. McDowell St., Raleigh, N.C. 27601 or e-mail amy.rue@newsobserver.com New chairman for United Way Former two-term Raleigh mayor Smedes York is the new board chairman of Triangle United Way. York is chairman of The York Cos., which includes real-estate property management, construction and sales. He succeeds Dave Hunt, a partner at Deloitte Touche. York said a key goal for his one-year term is to re-establish momentum for the charita- ble group, whose fundraising has been basi- cally level for several years; last year, it raised $10.8 million. “We need to move ahead,” York said. “The community is grow- ing, and the fund has not been growing.” York is planning initiatives to boost fundraising. They include targeting giving by upper-income individuals and getting CEOs of companies to encourage other CEOs to expand United Way fundraising. York also wants to establish an “Emerging Lead- ers” program, in which companies would lend young executives to work full time on the annual fundraising campaign, which runs from mid-September through mid-November. Project Whitney, a warfare simulation, is from 3Dsolve of Cary, which has about 20 employees. HANDOUT PHOTO ■ MONDAY: Building permits, site plans ■ TUESDAY: Promotions, new hires ■ WEDNESDAY: Patents ■ THURSDAY: Deals, bankruptcies ■ FRIDAY: Calendar ■ SATURDAY: Awards Meredith Morgan, senior marketing manager of Coldwell Banker Howard Perry and Walston, has been named president of the HPW Foundation. She will oversee the foundation and sup- portHabitat for Humanity, the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foun- dation, the Frankie Lemmon Foundation and other groups. Michael Troullis was appointed chief financial officer at Quintiles Transnational Corp. in Durham. He has been acting CFO at the medical-research company since last year. David Morgan has been promoted to executive vice pres- ident and chief banking officer at Raleigh-based Capital Bank. David Adams has been named Raleigh city executive and leader of the commercial team, J.C. Moeller has been named commercial relationship manager on the Raleigh commercial team and Todd Warrick has been named senior vice president and North Wake community executive. John Roger was hired as executive vice president and chief op- erating officer at Consonus Technologies in Cary. Ian J. Mehr was appointed managing director of Golden Pines Ventures, a Durham-based venture capital company. Thomas Furr has been named chief strategy officer at Smart Online, a Durham company that provides software-as- a-service for the small business market. Jay Trepanier has been hired as chief operating officer. Colleen Hill was named executive regional vice president of the Triangle area for Arbonne, which manufactures skin-care prod- ucts. She is the first in the Triangle area to achieve the title. James D. Sinanis has been promoted to director of purchas- ing and estimating for Centex Homes’ Raleigh/Durham division. Bo Frenchhas been promoted to area construction manager, and Lance Hutchens has been promoted to Field Manager IV. William Kelly joined Atcom Business Telecom Solutions in Durham as senior application consultant. Mark Casey has been named associate art director of Cen- trifuge Media, a multimedia, audiovisual and technology solu- tions company in Morrisville. Takeshi Aratake, Pamela Houstonand Jason Kolanowere pro- moted to senior associates at BBH Design in Research Triangle Park. Daniel Abraham, Laura Gwyn, Andy King, David Palacios and Leonora Varol were promoted to associates. Preston “Bert” Carter was hired as senior project man- ager in the Durham office of SSOE, an engineering and ar- chitecture design firm. John Martell joined The Freelon Group as an associate and senior lab planner. The Freelon Group is an architectural firm in Research Triangle Park. Brian Burton joined the Raleigh accounting firm of Stew- ard Ingram & Cooper as a staff accountant. Daniel Ratto, chief financial officer at Deltagen, has been appointed acting chief financial officer at Trimeris, a Durham company that develops AIDS drugs. Kim Licata was hired in the health-care practice group at law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice’s Research Trian- gle Park office. Sheila Crosby was hired as manager of design at HumanCentric Technologies, a product development services company in Cary. Tom Quinn, John Sprink and Darrin Williams joined TrustAt- lantic as senior vice presidents and will lead the bank’s commercial banking and real estate lending efforts in the Triangle. Takayoshi Sato was hired as director of visual development at Virtual Heroes, an advanced learning technology com- pany in Research Triangle Park. Amy H. Schilder was hired as assistant vice president in the state government relations department at McGuireWoods Consulting in Raleigh. David Blum was hired as vice president of medical affairs and clinical research at BioDelivery Sciences International, a pharmaceutical company based in Morrisville. On the boards … Tom Reddin, former chief executive officer of IAC Finan- cial Services and Real Estate, was appointed to the board at R.H. Donnelley Corp., a yellow-pages and online commercial search company. Jerry Elliott, who serves on the boards of Idearc and Sun- Com Wireless, has been appointed to the board at Tekelec, a network applications company based in Morrisville. Mary Cantando, president of Cantando & Associates and a growth expert at WomanBusinessOwner.com, was named to the board of trustees for Columbia College in Columbia, S.C. Morgan Aratake Martell Crosby Local BusinessTHE NEWS & OBSERVERTUESDAY, AUGUST 21, 2007 3D In other moves … York COMPANY EARNINGS Blue Cross profit increases BY SABINE VOLLMER STAFF WRITER Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina reported strong profits in the second quarter, but the Chapel Hill insurer warned that rising medical costs could lead to higher premiums. Medical costs increased about 10 percent in the past year, up from 6.7 percent in the previous year, Blue Cross spokesman Lew Borman said. “We can’t say how long premiums can continue to in- crease in the single digits,” he said. It’s very likely premiums will rise 10 percent to 15 percent, said John McDonnell, a manag- ing partner with Progressive Ben- efit Solutions in Raleigh. With contract renewals coming up, some employers are expecting the increases before the end of the year, McDonnell said. Industrywide, medical costs are rising an average 9 percent to 10 percent, said Steve Graybill, a senior health benefits consultant with Mercer in Charlotte. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina — with 3.5 million members, the largest health in- surer in the state — is getting in line with industry averages, partly because hospitals are pushing for higher reimbursement rates. In past months, Blue Cross re- newed contracts with hospitals including WakeMed in Raleigh and Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. Hospital costs make up a ma- jority of health-care expenses, Graybill said, and Blue Cross “is having to give some.” For the three months that ended June 31, Blue Cross’ profit rose to $56.2 million, up 16 percent from the same period a year ago. But during the first half of the year, the insurer’s medical ex- penses for every premium dollar rose to 85.1 cents, up from 82.4 cents in the first half of 2006. Key drivers for the increase in- cluded higher prescription-drug costs and higher hospital costs for inpatient maternity care and orthopedic surgery, Borman said. Revenue for the six months rose 10.8 percent to $2.36 billion. Blue Cross spent $1.81 billion in claims and medical expenses during the first half of the year. Operating expenses were $418.8 million, down from $426.7 mil- lion a year ago. Blue Cross’ profits have been a hot topic since 2002, when the insurer tried to convert to for-profit status, later with- drawing from the process. In 2005, state legislators intro- duced three bills aimed at cur- tailing Blue Cross’ profit. None made it out of committee. Staff writer Sabine Vollmer can be reached at 829-8992 or sabine.vollmer@newsobserver.com. Higher premiums possible, it says Sales fall, profits rise for Lowe’s Investors oppose terms of buyout HEALTHY PROFIT Blue Cross reports strong profits despite rising medical costs. Source: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina By quarter, in millions 1st ’06 2nd $31.8 $40.2 $60.9 $56.4 $29.4 $56.2 3rd 4th 1st ’07 2nd The News & Observer 3DSOLVE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1D A Lowe’s worker restocks the inventory at a store in Sunnyvale, Calif. The housing market is sour in the state. BLOOMBERG NEWS PHOTO BY TONY AVELAR James River faces suit Niblock says Lowe’s is ‘doing pretty well’ in North Carolina.

Clipped articles people have found on this page

Get access to Newspapers.com

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 21,900+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Publisher Extra® Newspapers

  • Exclusive licensed content from premium publishers like the The News and Observer
  • Archives through last month
  • Continually updated

Try it free