Surprise! New York investment banks are good at making money, and one of them is set to make a pretty penny off of the South Carolina Legislature's attempt to sell Santee Cooper.
Moelis & Company, a firm with an office on Park Avenue in New York City, is prepared to bill the state and Santee Cooper's ratepayers millions of dollars for its financial advice.
The state needs to cough up: half a million dollars for an engagement fee, a quarter-million dollars every month to keep the firm on retainer and another $3 million to view the report Moelis will put together for lawmakers.
The state's Department of Administration released the forecasted costs for Moelis last week, along with the contracts for several other consultants that were recently hired.
Not to worry. The utility advisers will get their cut, too.
Energy + Environmental Economics, a San Francisco-based utility consultant, will take home up to $1.48 million. That includes payments of between $235 to $575 per hour to help the legislature decide whether to sell Santee Cooper, hire another company to manage the utility or keep it under state control.
Then there's the lawyers.
Scott Hempling, an attorney from Silver Spring, Md., will garner $345 per hour in the coming months to advise the Department of Administration.
And Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, a law firm based in Los Angeles, could make up to $6 million depending on how much its attorneys are called upon.
Selling a state-run utility is an expensive endeavor.
In the aggregate
The top executive at one of South Carolina’s largest publicly traded companies has been added to the board of a big building materials supplier.
D. Michael Wilson, CEO of North Charleston-based chemical maker Ingevity Corp., was elected as a director of Vulcan Materials Co. effective July 15. He was named to two committees: audit and safety, and health and environmental affairs.
Vulcan is headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., and describes itself as the nation’s largest producer of construction aggregates, such as gravel, sand and crushed stone. Formed in 1909 and publicly traded since the late 1950s, it now has a presence in 21 states, the Bahamas and Mexico. Its 15 South Carolina sites include operations on Aviation Avenue in North Charleston and on Highway 52 in Moncks Corner.
Recently, Vulcan reported a second-quarter profit of nearly $198 million on revenue of $1.33 billion, topping Wall Street forecasts on both counts.
CEO Tom Hill said Wilson "brings to our board deep strategic, operational, and senior executive expertise from his long experience in the international chemicals industry."
Wilson has been running Ingevity (formerly MWV Speciality Chemicals) since September 2015, about six months before it was spun off as a standalone public entity by papermaker WestRock Co. Dan Sansone, who retired from Vulcan as an executive vice president in 2014, is among the Virginia Avenue company's directors.
Directors at Vulcan are paid $110,000 annual retainer, according to the most recent disclosure. They also are awarded stock grants and can earn an extra $10,000 to $25,000 in cash compensation if they chair a committee.
Summerville-based forklift maker KION North America recently booked its largest order to date — more than 600 Linde-branded industrial trucks for Wisconsin-based home improvement chain Menard Inc.
The environmentally friendly trucks run on lithium-ion batteries.
KION also will build and supply several fully automated FM-X reach trucks for the retailer.
"When it comes to cost reduction in the warehouse environment, our new combination of proven Linde quality, total cost of ownership, lithium-ion batteries and hybrid automation gives Menard a significant competitive edge," said Vincent Halma, KION's president and CEO.
Menard has 325 stores in 14 Midwest states.
The Charleston region's economic development efforts took first place among mid-sized markets in Southern Business & Development magazine's look at the past year's biggest deals, while South Carolina merited an honorable mention among southern states.
Charleston beat Huntsville, Ala., in a points system that counts new jobs and investment while taking into account population differences. The magazine touted investments by JW Aluminum, W International and Google as giving the tri-county area the edge in its category.
South Carolina finished fourth in the statewide category. Alabama was at the top of this year's list thanks to a $1.6 billion Mazda-Toyota deal, a $750 million Facebook data center and a $268 million Mercedes-Benz battery plant.
"With 18 honorable mentions in 24 years, South Carolina has earned more than any other state in the South," the magazine noted. However, the publication added this is the second consecutive year that project activity dropped following the Palmetto State's top ranking in 2017.
Higher (cost) education
A new report says students at the Medical University of South Carolina leave school with the second-highest amount of federal student loan debt among public schools in the country.
MUSC students had, on average, $24,740 in loans owed to the federal government, behind only the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, according to the report by Student Loan Hero. Eight of the public institutions to crack the top 10 were medical schools.
The vast majority of that debt burden falls on graduate students, according to the report. At MUSC, grad students left the school with an average $32,403 in direct unsubsidized loans. Undergraduates borrowed less than $5,000 on average.
The most expensive way to attend MUSC is as an out-of-state student in the graduate dental medicine school. Annual tuition was $83,290 in 2017.
MUSC charges, on average, a little less than $35,000 per year in tuition to in-state medical students, not including fees. The Association of American Medical Colleges says a middling amount of debt for medical students would be $200,000.
Central Carolina Technical College in Sumter, meanwhile, left its students with the sixth-least amount of federal loan debt at $2,454.
Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the State Ports Authority, has been named a DC Velocity Logistics Rainmaker.
Newsome is one of the magazine's eight 2019 Logistics Rainmakers nationwide, joining some of the most notable and successful leaders and experts in the field, according to the publication. He was recognized for his career in logistics, shipping and ports industries.
Now in his 10th year as head of the authority, Newsome is credited with transforming the Port of Charleston into one of the nation's top 10 container ports, with record-breaking cargo volumes in its most recent fiscal year.
"Jim Newsome has overseen the most complete and thorough overhaul of an organization that I have ever seen," said Ted Stank with the Global Supply Chain Institute at the University of Tennessee. Newsome earned bachelor's and master's degrees in transportation and logistics from the university.
During his tenure with the authority, Newsome has overseen the opening of two inland ports in South Carolina, modernization of the state’s busiest container terminal in Mount Pleasant, ongoing construction of a new container terminal in North Charleston and the continuing work to deepen Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.