7 billionaires on Forbes list have Charleston ties

Houston Texans owner and billionaire Bob McNair (far right) has several South Carolina ties, including a Kiawah Island vacation home. He's shown at Reliant Stadium in January with (from left) Texans chief operating officer Cal McNair, head coach Bill O'Brien and general manager Rick Smith.

InterTech Group CEO Anita Zucker is the only full-time South Carolinian on the newly released Forbes ranking of the world's billionaires. But she isn't the only one with ties to Charleston.

Zucker, a Charleston resident whose net worth from her family-owned chemical and industrial conglomerate was estimated at $2.6 billion by the magazine, was ranked No. 663 in the world.

That tied the one-time teacher with Texas investing legend Richard Rainwater, the husband of Lake City native and part-time Charleston resident Darla Moore. Since 2009, Rainwater has been ailing from progressive supranuclear palsy, a rare neurodegenerative disease with no cure.

The wealthiest among the well-heeled group is Charleston native Martha Rivers Ingram, who lives in Nashville but owns a home on lower Meeting Street. The arts patron also is a major donor to the $142 million Gaillard Center project in downtown Charleston. Her $3.9 billion fortune from her family's book distribution and transportation businesses placed her in the No. 388 spot worldwide.

The rest of the Lowcountry lineup goes as follows:

At No. 430 with $3.6 billion: Chicago business mogul Jude Reyes, who paid $14.4 million for a 9,990-square-foot home on Kiawah Island in 2009. His company also owns North Charleston beverage business Henry J. Lee Distributors.

At No. 520 with $3.1 billion: investor Peter Kellogg, a Short Hills, N.J., resident who owns a place at the exclusive Yeamans Hall golf club in Hanahan.

At No. 796 with 2.2 billion: CNN founder Ted Turner. His fortune includes prime U.S. land holdings, including Lowcountry acreage, and son Teddy lives in Charleston. On Friday, Reuters reported the former media tycoon was rushed to a hospital during a trip to Argentina's Patagonia region before flying to Buenos Aires for surgery for appendicitis.

No. 869 with $2 billion: Former energy executive turned Houston Texans owner Bob McNair. The University of South Carolina graduate and wife Janice, a Columbia College alumna from Orangeburg, own a 13,000-square-foot oceanfront spread on Kiawah.

It took a while to get the doors open, but an out-of-town bank is preparing to make its Charleston debut.

Upstate-based CertusBank is marking the opening of its first retail branch and local headquarters today at a new four-story structure at 174 Meeting St. in the peninsula's business district. The lender announced the project more than two years ago and it was supposed to open last June.

CertusBank's new Charleston headquarters is in a 54,000-square-foot building just south of Market Street. It was formerly a parking lot. Mayor Joe Riley once called the parcel "a missing tooth" that needed to be filled along the densely developed stretch of Meeting.

The opening of a bulk liquid marine terminal doesn't sound very sexy, but its economic impact on the Charleston area could be important.

Company officials and dignitaries will snip the ribbon at 3 p.m. Wednesday for the invitation-only grand opening of Scandinavia-based Odfjell Terminals Charleston LLC at 1003 E. Montague Ave. in North Charleston. On hand will be company President David A. Ellis, along with Executive Chairman Laurence W. Odfjell and city, county and state officials.

Owned by Odfjell SE, the former brown field area on the banks of the Cooper River will serve as a distribution terminal to the bulk liquid chemical, vegetable and petroleum industries in the Southeast.

OTC, as it's being called for short, has one deep draft ship dock and is accessible by rail and road. Odfjell owns and operates tanker ships and ports around the world.

In late 2010, the company paid $7.8 million for a dormant 21-acre cement port with 500 feet of waterfront off Virginia Avenue. It told Charleston County that it planned to create 29 jobs and invest $30 million in improvements. In 2012, the Norwegian company said it would add new tank capacity in North Charleston.

Odfjell also said it was eyeing a future expansion by this year that would raise the value of its local investment to $70 million and create 17 jobs.

Last year, Odfjell Holdings (US) Inc. signed a letter of intent to purchase its next-door neighbor Chem-Marine Corp. in a deal valued at less than $10 million to extend its working waterfront. Chem-Marine controlled a 25-acre site with about 850 feet of waterfront just to the north.

North Charleston-based Pusser's Rum could have a new slogan: Pour me a double.

The adult-beverage brand has picked up a pair of medals during the annual Rum Masters competition in London.

An independent panel of spirits-industry personnel, bartenders and food-and-beverage critics awarded double master medals to the Pusser's portfolio - one for its aged 15-year-old label and another for its 3-year-old label. The rums won similar gold medal honors during the 2013 competition. Competitions are run as blind tastings.

The all-natural rum is made from blends distilled in Guyana and Trinidad in century-old wooden pot stills that add organic flavoring compounds.

"Winning an award indicates that the brand has been professionally assessed by people who know what they are judging and are acknowledged to set a high standard," Pusser's marketing director Dean Cowart said.

Daniel Island software firm Blackbaud has replenished its financial arsenal, giving it deeper pockets to reach into should the need arise.

The company said last week it's lined up a new $175 million loan secured by stock as well as a $150 million revolving credit line that could climb to $200 million under certain conditions.

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CEO Mike Gianoni said the new arrangement provides Blackbaud "with increased operational and financial flexibility, lower capital costs, and an extended maturity, together with increased borrowing capacity to enable continued execution of our strategic priorities."

The maximum $375 million financing agreement is with Bank of America, SunTrust Bank, Regions Bank and Fifth Third Bank. It runs through February 2019, and it replaces a $325 million credit deal that was to mature in 2017.

"The current favorable market conditions provide an opportunity for us to enter into this new credit facility amidst strong oversubscription to optimize our capital structure and will enable greater flexibility for our company to pursue growth and invest in the business," said Tony Boor, Blackbaud's chief financial officer.

Blackbaud is the world's largest provider of software and services for the nonprofit industry,

It might come as a shock to most, but about 70 percent of alternating current electrical energy is lost in generation, transmission and distribution. With that in mind, a conference in Charleston headlined by Jim Rogers, retired chairman and CEO of Duke Energy, will focus on a different kind of electricity: direct current.

The First Conference on Local DC Electricity: Transforming the 21st Century Energy Economy will take place March 30-April 1 at the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston.

The summit will explore the latest developments in the generation, distribution and use of electrical power.

Alternating current can be transmitted over long distances unlike direct current, which requires more local generating methods. So AC became the popular method globally over the past century.

Direct current electricity, which is locally generated by solar panels or windmills, is expected to save 30 percent of the loss from alternating current.

Except for a few applications, most electric loads such as wireless phones, laptops, refrigerators and air conditioners operate on direct current power. In commercial buildings, as much as 80 percent of loads are handled by DC.

Since the current electricity structure in the U.S. is dominated by AC, there is a need to develop hybrid DC microgrids, says a statement from Clemson University and its Restoration Institute in North Charleston.

Other speakers at the summit include Bill Mahoney, CEO of the S.C. Research Authority; and Don Talka, chief engineer of Underwriters Laboratories.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Martha Rivers Ingram.