Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.

High-paying pharmaceutical industry jobs coming to Louisville

Screenshot of US WorldMeds' website.
Screenshot of US WorldMeds’ website.

Louisville-based specialty pharmaceutical maker US WorldMeds has created a joint-venture with a French company and plans to invest $1.1 million in Louisville to create 30 high-paying jobs.

According to state filings, the employees will receive pay and benefits of $53 per hour, or about $100,000 annually.

The project “will consist of a service and technology/headquarters facility in Louisville,” according to the filing with the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

The venture, called Hema Biologics, “will develop and commercialize pharmaceutical, biological and medical devices predominantly in the U.S.”

The state preliminarily approved incentives of $700,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment (KBI) program.

Though there is no standard definition for specialty drugs, they typically treat rare, chronic or complex conditions, are costly and may require require special handling or administration or frequent dosing adjustments, according to a report created for PhRMA, which represents pharmaceutical companies.

US WorldMeds’ products include APOKYN, which helps Parkinson’s disease patients; MYOBLOC, which reduces neck pain associated with cervical dystonia, a condition in which neck muscles contract involuntarily; and Revonto, which helps patients manage malignant hyperthermia, a disease passed down through families that causes a fast rise in body temperature and severe muscle contractions when the affected person gets general anesthesia.

US WorldMeds and its French partner could not be reached Thursday.

According to a report created for PhRMA, four major companies in the specialty drug industry had seen growth between 15 and 28 percent in the last two years and were projecting growth between 17 percent and 25 percent this year and in 2016.

And here are several other KBI investments of note…

  • $17.2 million by Cend LLC, a subsidiary of Cend International, which is part of the Internet retailer The Hut Group, a United Kingdom-based online retailer. The company plans to open a production and distribution facility in Louisville. It wants to hire 350 employees who will earn, on average, $15 per hour, including benefits. The state preliminarily provided incentives of $2.6 million.
  • $4 million by Louisville Plate Glass Co., which plans to expand its Louisville facility to accommodate a new product line. The company makes products including insulating glass and safety glass. The investments are expected to create 65 jobs, with hourly wages of $18. State incentives are expected to reach $650,000.
  • $2.15 million by El Toro.com, which helps companies with online advertisements. El Toro.com plans to expand its Louisville headquarters and to add 60 employees who will earn an average of $35 per hour. The state agreed to incentives of $1 million.
  • $1.65 million by bleacher and stadium seating maker Dant Clayton Corp. The company wants to relocate recently acquired Indianapolis-based Tuttle Railing Systems to Louisville. The move will create 60 local jobs, with average hourly wages of $19. The state has given initial approval for incentives of $850,000.—Boris Ladwig

Substantial mixed-use development planned near GE Appliance Park

A couple restaurants, some office space, a call center and a senior living facility could be headed to Hurstbourne Parkway and Fegenbush Lane.

The project is called Hurstbourne Station, according to documents filed with Louisville Metro Planning and Design Services. The 37.12-acre site sits next Our Lady of Mercy Academy, and other close neighbors include Woodhaven Country Club and GE Appliance Park.

Louisville-based Hurstbourne Corporate Group owns the currently undeveloped property. Company manager David Dries declined to comment for this story.

However, planning documents show that Hurstbourne Corporate Group wants to divide the site into 10 various-sized lots. Five of the lots already are labeled for specific types of development, while the remaining five are designated for general commercial and office development.

The first plot would house a 45,700-square-foot senior living facility with 167 parking spaces. The number of beds is to be determined, according to its submitted plans.

The proposed use for the second plot is a 50,000-square-foot call center and office with 691 parking spots. The third plot would be more offices — a 47,500-square-foot building with 185 parking spaces.

The fourth and fifth lots would house a 7,000-square-foot and a 6,500-square-foot restaurant, respectively. They would share 168 parking spaces.

Before the project can move forward, though, the property must be rezoned from single-family residential to commercial and PEC, which allows for landscaped office and industrial parks. —Caitlin Bowling

Red e App founder and CPO now Louisville’s second Endeavor Entrepreneur

red e appLouisville entrepreneurs are just killing it with the Endeavor program…

Founder Jonathan Erwin and Chief Product Officer Patrick Goodman of Red e App, a mobile communications tool for hourly workers, participated in the selection panel for Endeavor Global in Mexico City late last week.

Endeavor Louisville launched in May 2015. It is a highly selective mentorship and networking group. Entrepreneurs go through a rigorous application and preparation process here in town and then, when they’re deemed ready, they can appear before the Global panel. Entrepreneurs must receive unanimous support from the six panelists to be accepted.

“The entire Endeavor Board is proud of Jonathan Erwin, Patrick Goodman, and the Red e App team. We believe with execution, RedeApp has the potential to continue its rapid growth, connect the unconnected workforce, and inspire others to build global enterprises in our area,” said David Jones Sr., co-founder of Humana and chairman of Endeavor Louisville.

Joey Rivera, the first Louisville Endeavor Entrepreneur, is the founder of Rivera Group, a cyber security firm. He traveled to Marrakech, Morocco, from Oct. 5-7 to present to Endeavor and was accepted. —Melissa Chipman

Yum! Brands CFO’s departure triggers payout

Yum!_Brands_Logo.svgIn case you missed the news, Pat Grismer, the 53-year-old chief financial officer at Yum! Brands Inc., plans to leave the Louisville-based restaurant giant effective Feb. 19. Insider Louisville reported it here when Yum made the announcement Monday.

The new news is that Yum has agreed to vest some of Grismer’s “unvested stock appreciation rights” — essentially a bonus that is dependent on the company performing well. The value of that bonus is about $500,000, according to information Yum filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The filing did not say whether Grismer would receive any other payments upon departure, and what Grismer will do next hasn’t been said.

“My decision was and is entirely personal,” Grismer said during the company’s annual investors conference Thursday.

The decision was completely about family, he said, lamenting the fact that he won’t be with Yum to see it through its transition into two companies.

“We are undergoing in an exciting transformation. …And I have never been more confident in the leaders and the strategies.”

Of the top five executives at the company, Grismer earned the least (though his salary was nothing to sneeze at).

Grismer was paid $707,500 in base salary and $267,410 in bonus pay in 2014, the most recent year that data is available. His total compensation for 2014 was $2.95 million. —Caitlin Bowling

Yelp to award $10,000 to three Louisville nonprofits based on votes

YelpThe Yelp Foundation has selected Louisville as one the 75 U.S. cities it’ll give $10,000 in grant money to for nonprofits. Basically, the folks at Yelp pick three nonprofits in each city, and the public gets to vote on which wins first ($5,000), second ($3,000) and third ($2,000).

Our organizations are the Food Literacy Project, Louisville Public Media, and Access Ventures, each of which supports Yelp Foundation’s mission of addressing the needs of local communities.

Food Literacy Project helps introduce and engage young people in all the workings of a farm; Louisville Public Media provides free access to news and cultural programming; and Access Ventures helps invest financial and human capital into companies and initiatives.

Louisville area residents can vote daily through Dec. 15 by clicking here. As of press time, Louisville Public Media is in the lead. —Sara Havens

Hurstbourne business leaders create first association in decades

The logo for the Hurstbourne Area Business Association | Courtesy of HABA
The logo for the Hurstbourne Area Business Association | Courtesy of HABA

Businesses in the city of Hurstbourne and areas immediately surrounding it have come together to create the Hurstbourne Area Business Association.

The newly created association has taken off, according to inaugural president Leslie Raeber, who also is a business development officer at Republic Bank and Trust Co.

The association has 30 members and just held its grand opening event in September. However, Raeber and Hurstbourne City Administrator and HABA vice president Jim Leidgen laid the groundwork last year when they started approaching businesses and gathering seed money.

“We got the buy-in from all kinds of large businesses,” Raeber said.

Some of the founding member businesses include Bardenwerper, Talbott & Roberts PLLC; DMLO CPAs; Republic Bank; US Bank and Jefferson Development Group.

“Our goal is just to revitalize the city, kind of get it on the map,” Raeber said. “Many people don’t know the city of Hurstbourne is a city with elected officials.”

Still, the city hadn’t had a business association in at least 20 years. The last one fizzled out, she said, but there is definitely a need for an association.

“Hurstbourne is just a real lively area,” Raeber said. “It’s a centrally located area, lots of residential neighborhoods, a very busy area within Louisville, but there are a lot of businesses in that area.”

For interested businesses, membership fees for the Hurstbourne Area Business Association is $100 a year. The association meets the second Tuesday of every even month and also will host quarterly meetings. —Caitlin Bowling

Uber now picking up arrivals at SDF

uberThe Louisville Regional Airport Authority announced this week that Uber will join Lyft as another option for pickup at the Louisville International Airport. Uber will have two vehicle spaces in the arrival area of the airport and a limited set-up in the cellphone parking lot.

Passengers who have requested a ride through the Uber app should follow the Ground Transportation signs inside the terminal and look for the Uber signs and a black painted curb just beyond the red-columned, bus-loading area. Lyft has a similar arrangement, although their curb is painted hot pink.

Uber will pay the airport a $2 per pickup fee and a monthly business privilege of $500 — the same deal as Lyft, which is one month into a one-year pilot program with the airport. —Melissa Chipman

Ford donates van to aid hunger relief

Ford Motor Co. has donated a new cargo van to the Dare to Care Food Bank in Louisville as part of a nationwide effort to combat food insecurity.

Local Ford dealers donated funds to fill the van with food. The Transit Connect van, which costs about $22,000, can hold nearly 1,500 pounds of food, enough for about 1,100 meals.

Ford Motor Co. has donated a van to Dare to Care Food Bank. | Photo courtesy of Ford.
Ford Motor Co. has donated a van to Dare to Care Food Bank. | Photo courtesy of Ford.

Ford this week also delivered four other vans in Kansas City, Miami, Phoenix and Dallas metro areas.

“The first step in creating a better world is helping to fulfill the most basic needs of our neighbors,” Janet Lawson, director of the Ford Motor Company Fund, said in a press release.

“More than 48 million Americans live in fear of going hungry each day,” she said, “and these vehicles will deliver meals – not just during this season of giving but throughout the year.”

Dare to Care obtains food from local and national donors and distributes it through a network of more than 300 emergency kitchens, shelters and food pantries. Last year the agency provided more than 16 million meals to Kentuckians and Hoosiers.—Boris Ladwig

UPS and Porsche prove electric vehicles are on the rise, but not taking over — yet

A friend of mine — a systems engineer who works for a company that deals with internal combustion engines – told me he’s looking to get out of the industry because its time is running out.

With the Paris climate talks winding down this week and electric vehicles on the rise, he may be on to something.

UPS recently said it would launch electric delivery trucks in the Houston area. | Photo courtesy of UPS.
UPS launched electric delivery trucks in the Houston area. | Photo courtesy of UPS.

For example, Louisville’s largest employer, UPS, recently said it would deploy 18 electric, zero emission delivery trucks in the Houston area. The region’s air pollution levels “persistently exceed national air quality standards,” the company said at the time.

A grant of about $1.3 million from the U.S. Department of Energy made the purchase feasible.

The trucks will avoid the consumption of about 1.1 million gallons of fuel over 20 years, the company said.

“Our goal is to deploy vehicles with the least environmental impact possible in each region, consistent with local regulations and economic conditions,” said Mark Wallace, UPS senior vice president global engineering and sustainability.

The company has not yet publicly identified other markets in which it will deploy electric delivery trucks, UPS spokeswoman Kristen A. Petrella told IL. However, she said its Louisville operation uses “many different advanced technology pieces of equipment,” including propane, biodiesel and electric.

And then there’s Porsche: On Friday, the German sports car maker announced its supervisory board has given the go-ahead to build the Mission E, a fully electric, 600-horsepower, all-wheel drive four-seater that rockets from zero to 60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds. Car and Driver calls that “near-ludicrous performance.”

Porsche's all-electric, all-wheel drive Mission E.
Porsche’s all-electric, all-wheel-drive Mission E.

Porsche said it would invest 700 million euros (that’s nearly $767 million in U.S. currency) in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen and create more than 1,000 new jobs.

The company unveiled the concept in September at the Frankfurt International Motor Show. The price is, as of yet, unknown, but it will not be cheap. Porsche sells no new cars in the U.S. for less than $52,000. And its 918 Spyder Hybrid sells for a measly $845,000.

The Mission E will have a range of about 315 miles, and its battery can be charged to 80 percent capacity within 15 minutes.

“And this,” my friend said, “is in less than three years after the launch of the Tesla supercharger that offers (a) 30-minute charge.

“Obsolescence is now a reality IC engines have to face,” he said.

I think he’s right – though we’ll have to wait a few more years: Porsche said the Mission E will be launched “at the end of the decade.” And UPS told IL that without the government grant, the electric trucks would not make economic sense. —Boris Ladwig

Psst … 50-cent beers at Joella’s tonight

JoellaUsually our Closing Bell boosts your knowledge about the latest business and real estate developments, but this time, we’re giving you a hot tip. We hear Joella’s Hot Chicken on Frankfort Avenue is holding another Customer Appreciation Day tonight (Friday, Dec. 11), which means there will be a variety of 50-cent beers from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

If a piece of spicy chicken and a can of 50-cent beer isn’t the right way to start off the weekend, I don’t know what is. —Sara Havens

 



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