SC To Receive $4 Million for Affordable Housing
2009/03/05, 4:04 pm
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SCBIZ Daily Staff

ATLANTA – Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta will award more than $43 million in grants to 10 states to create or preserve affordable housing. More than $4 million will go to South Carolina to help finance 10 affordable housing developments.

FHLBank Atlanta will award the funds as part of its 2008 Affordable Housing Program offering. Local community developers, in partnership with FHLBank Atlanta member institutions, will use the awards to developments in Aiken, Allendale, Barnwell, Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Darlington, Dorchester, Edgefield, Kershaw, Lee, Lexington, Orangeburg, Richland, Saluda, Sumter and Williamsburg counties. Projects in the cities of Bluffton, Kingstree, Myrtle Beach and North Augusta have also been selected.

“AHP program funding provides an important economic boost to entire communities by creating affordable housing and jobs in those areas that need it most,” said Arthur Fleming, first vice president and director of Community Investment Services, FHLBank Atlanta.

AHP is a competitive funding program that helps develop owner-occupied and rental housing for very low-, low- and moderate-income families. FHLBank Atlanta awards the funds annually to member financial institutions and their community housing partners.

For a complete list of the projects that will receive funding, click here.

Published March 5, 2009


S.C. company strikes $275M land deal
2009/03/03, 3:45 pm
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Tuesday, 03 March 2009
SCBIZ Daily Staff

COLUMBIA – American Timberlands Co. has agreed to purchase 114,000 acres of properties in the Southeast from International Paper for $220 million. American Timberlands, a land investment management firm based in Columbia, will also give International Paper a 20% interest in the company in exchange for 29,000 additional acres, valued at $55 million.

The transaction value is subject to various adjustments at closing and is contingent upon the American Timberlands partnership raising enough money to finance the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in mid-June. The location of the properties has not been disclosed.

“This was an attractive opportunity, and we intend to use the proceeds received at closing to pay down debt,” said John Faraci, International Paper’s chairman and CEO. “This is consistent with our commitment to strengthening our balance sheet and maintaining our financial flexibility.”

American Timberlands, in partnership with Atlanta-based Private Equity Fund, last June purchased 20,000 acres of land in Horry County from International Paper, according to a company statement.

International Paper’s latest dealing with American Timberlands comes on the heels of the Memphis-based paper company’s year-end financial statement, in which preliminary full-year net earnings totaled $57 million in 2008. In 2007, International Paper posted net earnings of $1.2 billion.

In an effort to save cash and pay down debt, International Paper recently announced it would reduce capital investment, decrease overhead spending and headcount, and freeze salaries. To this end, the company said in January it would close a mill in Scotland by the end of March. It also announced Monday that it would reduce the company’s quarterly common stock dividend from 25 cents a share to 2 ½ cents a share, effective for the dividend payable June 15, 2009. This move will save the company an estimated $100 million in cash each quarter.

International Paper’s Web site says the company was formed in 1898 and is one of the world’s leading names in paper and packaging. It has operations in the U.S., Europe, Latin America, Asia/Pacific and Canada. Among other operations, the Web site says the company operates eight market and fluff pulp mills scattered around the globe, including two in South Carolina in Eastover in Georgetown.

Published March 3, 2009