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The week in review

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The week in review

The bulk of the mostly undeveloped Magnolia Project site (lower right) in the Charleston Neck Area will be sold at a public auction.

Some key business events of the past week:

Two closely affiliated companies that own the site of an idled urban redevelopment project in the Charleston Neck Area filed for bankruptcy with the goal of selling most of the 182-acre property.

Bogged down by the last economic downturn and lengthy litigation, Ashley I LLC and Ashley II LLC sought protection from creditors. Their debts total more than $23 million. The companies estimated they invested more than $50 million in the Magnolia Project from 2002 to 2008. The value of the land, made up of 33 contiguous parcels off King Street Extension near Braswell and Milford streets, was estimated at about $14.1 million.

Lawyers said in a filing that the plan is to “seek court-ap-proved sales of their properties to ensure future cleanup and development ... to the great benefit of the Charleston community.”

A public auction is expected in June.

BMW Manufacturing in Greer exported a record $9.8 billion worth of automobiles through the Port of Charleston in 2015, leading the nation in vehicle exports by value, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The German automaker set a record for production at the Upstate factory, building 400,904 vehicles last year. More than 280,000 of those were exported.

BMW was the first vehicle-maker to build a manufacturing plant in South Carolina, in 1994, and will be joined in 2018 by a pair of Charleston-area facilities — automaker Volvo’s first U.S. manufacturing site in Berkeley County and a Mercedes-Benz Vans plant in North Charleston.

The head of Boeing’s commercial airplane division, which includes the company’s North Charleston campus, told employees in a webcast that the aerospace giant will trim its workforce, starting with executives and managers. Ray Conner’s announcement was part of a wider discussion focusing on the division’s finances and competitive landscape. It was not clear when job cuts would begin. A spokesman said the company also plans to use voluntary layoffs and attrition to reach its employment goals. Boeing Co. employs about 7,500 workers and contractors in the Charleston region.

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A German automotive parts supplier is recruiting workers through a South Carolina program to staff a plant in the Charleston region, its first U.S. operation. Stoba is a division of the holding company Berndorf AG.

The company, which makes high-precision metal components for widely used diesel- fuel injection systems, is recruiting an undisclosed number of employees through ReadySC in advance of opening in the area, according to the website for the state-run training program.

A Southcoast Financial Corp. shareholder dropped a lawsuit challenging the sale of the Mount Pleasant-based bank owner.

The investor voluntarily dismissed the complaint Tuesday. No reason was given.

Both sides will cover their own legal costs, and no money changed hands.

The dismissal followed a recent ruling denying the shareholder’s request to delay a vote on the sale to BNC Bancorp. The investor had argued that the terms of the deal were unfair because they under- valued Southcoast and prohibited other prospective buyers from making competing bids. The vote was held as scheduled on Jan. 29. Shareholders approved the sale by a wide margin.

Staff reports

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