Northeast Fla., Jacksonville Business Briefs - August 2010
Round-up of business news
» In a $135-million deal, British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline bought local biotech startup NovaMin Technology. NovaMin develops bone-regeneration material for an ingredient in toothpaste and other dental products that make teeth less sensitive, cleaner and whiter than older technologies. NovaMin’s Alachua operations will close.
» Gov. Charlie Crist vetoed a $9.7-million line item in the healthcare budget that has funded uninsured patient care at Shands for more than 20 years. Hospital executives said they expected to lose at least $12 million in federal funding as a result of the cut and likely will have to cut services for out-of-town uninsured patients.
» University of Florida and Shands Healthcare unveiled a $580-million, five-year strategic plan aimed at pushing UF’s Health Science Center into the top 10% of academic healthcare facilities nationwide. The plan calls for 300 new faculty positions in the six-college Health Science Center.
» Naples-based Health Management Associates bought controlling interest in three small Shands hospitals in north Florida: Shands Lake Shore in Lake City, Shands Live Oak and Shands Starke. UF’s Shands will continue to hold 40% interest. The three hospitals operate 139 beds and produce about $100 million in annual revenue. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
» The Florida Public Service Commission approved Gainesville’s proposal to build a 100-megawatt, wood-burning power plant. Under a 30-year contract with Gainesville Regional Utilities, Boston-based American Renewables will build, own and operate the plant north of Gainesville on U.S. 441.
» Gainesville startup Tutor Matching Service was awarded the first statewide $50,000 Cade Prize for Innovation for its Facebook application that matches students and educators based on students’ learning strengths. The award is sponsored by the Cade Museum Foundation, which is working to build a museum devoted to innovation in downtown Gainesville.
» MedMal Direct Insurance Co. launched operations in June. The med-mal insurer provides insurance directly to physicians, without insurance agents and brokers. The company’s founders are Carter B. Bryan, chairman; Butler Ball, CEO; Timothy R. Bone, president; and Michael J. Wallace, COO and CFO.
» Canadian aviation company Avmax Group opened a jet repair and maintenance operation at Jacksonville International Airport, a move expected to bring up to 120 jobs.
» Jacksonville’s EverBank acquired three banks shut down by the FDIC in May: Bank of Florida Southeast, Bank of Florida Southwest and Bank of Florida Tampa. EverBank takes over the $1.32 billion in deposits under a loss-sharing agreement with the FDIC, bringing its total deposits to more than $8 billion.
» The Florida Times-Union has reported that Jacksonville’s Housing and Neighborhood Department, which mismanaged a housing program, is paying back the federal government $2.7 million.
» Visit Jacksonville, facing its third year of six-figure budget cuts, is laying off three top executives.
» Pilgrim’s Pride poultry, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, created 250 jobs in Live Oak thanks to a new partnership with the state aimed at promoting Florida-raised chicken. Florida awarded the California-based company $500,000 in incentives. Pilgrim’s Pride has to maintain at least 1,175 jobs at the Live Oak plant for five years beginning in 2010 and create 35 more jobs and invest $1.5 million by the end of 2011.
» Northeast Florida has lost the women’s tennis championships played here for more than 30 years. Officials for the MPS Group Championships cited a change in the Women’s Tennis Association schedule for eliminating the tournament. The tourney was at Amelia Island with Bausch & Lomb as title sponsor before it moved to Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra and picked up MPS Group as sponsor two years ago.