Hemlock Semiconductor has confirmed that the 300 people whose jobs were furloughed early this year at the company's brand new Clarksville plant are being given severance packages and job placement services. Jimmy Settle with the Leaf-Chronicle has the details.
Executives from Bridgestone Metalpha, the steel cord division of the global tire giant, gathered with Montgomery County officials this week in Clarksville to break ground on a 123,000-square-foot expansion that's been in the works for a while. Bridgestone officials announced their plans to grow in Clarksville in 2011 and began prepping the site early last year. The expansion will grow the plant’s capacity by 10 percent and add 47 jobs to the 420 people already there. Construction is expected to wrap up late next year.
From left: EDC President and CEO James Chavez, EDC Chairman Steve Kemmer, County Commissioner Charles Keene, County Mayor Carolyn Bowers, Clarksville Mayor Kim McMillan, Bridgestone Corp. Steel Cord Management Director Yuuji Mochizuki, Bridgestone Metalpha President Yoshi Yamada, EDC Board Member Jim Durrett, Plant Manager Donna Bright, Bridgestone Americas U.S. and Canada Commercial Tire Sales Division President Ken Weaver, State Sen. Mark Green, IDB Board Member Billy Atkins and IDB Executive Director Mike Evans
Fourth-quarter profits at First Advantage Bancorp in Clarksville came in at $438,000. That's down 17 percent from a year ago — full-year results were up 26 percent — but CEO Earl Bradley is upbeat about his team's prospects.
"We feel this initiative complements our existing business and helped us to attract and retain some significant talent, adding to our earning potential by expanding our market area and will help leverage our capital. Combined with continued strong asset quality and diligence in managing our balance sheet, this controlled growth will continue to create shareholder value for the long term."
The board of Clarksville-based First Advantage Bancorp (Ticker: FABK) has voted to increase the company's quarterly dividend by 40 percent to 7 cents. The first payout under the new rate will be made on Feb. 15 to shareholders of record on Feb. 1.
“The Board is pleased to deliver a return to the shareholders who have invested in our organization, reflecting our performance in 2012,” said Earl Bradley, a First Advantage Bancorp director and CEO of First Advantage Bank. “We are confident that our continued strong financial performance and growth strategy will help leverage our capital to build shareholder value.”
The bright promise of early 2009 dimmed considerably Monday at Hemlock Semiconductor, which said it was laying off 300 people in Clarksville and another 100 in Michigan in the face of oversupply in the polysilicon industry and the threat of Chinese tariffs against its products. Hemlock's $1 billion-plus plant in Montgomery County had been scheduled to begin production of materials for use in solar panels later this year but may never get cranking if the solar energy industry's finances don't improve in a big way.
Clarksville-area officials put on a brave face Monday, saying other industrial projects will still bring jobs to the area. Meanwhile, WPLN's Blake Farmer points out that the incentive millions paid by the state to Hemlock aren't coming back.
First Advantage Bancorp in Clarksville says it has named recently hired Jerry Cooksey, COO of its bank subsidiary since September, interim CFO and acting secretary for both the holding company (Ticker: FABK) and the bank. Cooksey is filling the shoes of Bonita Spiegl, who on Monday resigned as CFO after spending several years at the company. He previously spent time at community banks in the Chattanooga and Knoxville areas.
The holding company for First Advantage Bank said it earned $442,000 in the third quarter, down 16 percent from a year ago. But even that number was inflated by gains on the sale of a branch, which offset a loan loss provision that more than tripled from the 2011 quarter. CEO Earl Bradley said his team also saw costs rise as it invested in its Davidson County expansion.
"We have taken a strategically measured approach as we enter the Nashville market which includes assembling a team of experienced commercial lenders and establishing a presence in a prime location in the city on West End Avenue. The steps we have taken give us good reason to be optimistic about future growth and our ability to increase shareholder value in the long term."
Consumer finance chain Advance Financial has opened a location on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville. The store is the third for Advance in the Clarksville area. The company runs 30 locations around the region and has been steadily expanding its network in recent years.
Planters Bank has recruited from First Tennessee veteran Nashville business banker Hayse McGahey, who will be vice president of commercial banking at the Hopkinsville, Ky.-based institution which runs six branches in Clarksville. In addition to his time at First Tennessee, McGahey also has worked at Bank of America and Regions Bank. He'll fill a key role at Planters, which recently signed a deal to buy some Old National Bank offices in Western Kentucky. The bank has assets of about $680 million and in the first half of this year posted a profit of $5.4 million, up 12 percent from a year ago.