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ABOUT THIS BLOG: This is your window into the world of Triangle business. It's the source for news on local companies and people who keep capitalism moving. It's your exclusive tip sheet on deals, squabbles and the whimsy that makes this region's industries interesting.

The blog is maintained by the reporters and editors of the N&O business staff, including David Ranii, John Murawski, David Bracken and Mary Cornatzer.

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Lenovo maintains No. 1 PC ranking

Tags: .biz

Lenovo retained its ranking as the world's No. 1 PC maker in the third quarter but remains in a nip-and-tuck battle with HP as both companies posted sales gains in spite of a slack market.

Market research firm Gartner said that "the upcoming holiday sales season will be a key battlefield for both companies."

Lenovo's gains were led by a strong showing in the U.S. market, where its shipments rose by about one-fourth -- 24.6 percent according to Gardner, while IDC reported a 25.8 percent jump. Both firms rank Lenovo No. 4 in U.S. sales and gaining on No. 3 Apple.

Lenovo is based in China but has a headquarters in Morrisville that employs more than 2,000 workers.

The third quarter was the second consecutive quarter that both Gartner and IDC ranked Lenovo tops in the world. IDC put its market share at 17.3 percent, versus 17.1 percent for HP. Gartner has Lenovo at 17.6 percent, versus 17.1 percent for HP.

Lenovo's shipments rose more than 2 percent worldwide in both firms' tallies despite a market that contracted 7.6 percent, according to IDC, or 8.6 percent, according to Gartner.

"Weakness in the Chinese market continued to affect Lenovo's overall growth," Gartner reported. It said overall shipments in Asia/Pacific fell 11.2 percent from a year ago.

PowerSecure acquires Illinois cybersecurity firm

PowerSecure International, the Wake Forest utility services company, said Wednesday it has acquired an Illinois company that provides cyber-security services to the utility industry.

PowerSecure said it expects to pay at least $4.8 million for Encari and could pay as much as $6 million if the suburban Chicago company meets certain income targets.

Encari provides consulting services to investor-owned utilities, municipal power agencies and rural electric cooperatives to help them comply with the North American Electric Reliability Corporation's infrastructure reliability standards. Failure to meet these federal standards could result in fines and penalties.

FDA accepts BioDelivery Sciences new drug application

BioDelivery Sciences International announced Wednesday that federal regulators expect to complete their review of the Raleigh company's new drug application for its treatment for opioid dependence by June 2014.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has informed BioDelivery Sciences that it has accepted the new drug filing it made in August for Bunavail, indicating that the agency considers the application to be complete enough to permit a review.

Opioid dependence affects more than 2 million people in the United States. Opioids are painkillers including morphine, methadone and oxycodone.

Bunavail is being developed as a competitor to Suboxone, which generated more than $1 billion in sales last year.

BioDelivery Sciences believes Bunavail has the potential to general annual sales of up to $250 million.

GE opens new Cary office

GE Energy Management opened a new office in Cary on Wednesday that combines 65 employees from three different business lines.

The office is home to employees involved in industrial solutions, digital energy and intelligent platforms. It will include a new product design center to develop industrial software, control systems and computing platforms for its customers in manufacturing and defense.

GE has about 4,771 employs in North Carolina.

The company operates a manufacturing facility in Mebane, which makes lighting panels, power panels, switchgear and electrical vehicle charging stations. It also has a GE Aviation assembly plant in Durham.

This summer the company announced plans to begin construction on a new factory near Asheville that is part of a $195 million investment at its North Carolina sites that is expected to eventually create 240 new jobs by 2017.

The investment includes spending $29 million to expand its Durham plant, which is expected to create 50 new jobs over five years.

GE expects to add employees at its new Cary office over time.

Kerr Drug laying off 84 in Raleigh after Walgreens acquisition

Kerr Drug will lay off 84 employees in Raleigh as a result of its pending merger with Walgreen Co.

The company announced the layoffs in a letter filed late last month with the N.C. Department of Commerce.

The layoffs are to take effect Aug. 29, 2014.

All the employees work at the Kerr Drug headquarters on Spring Forest Road, which is closing.

Walgreen, which operates about 200 Walgreens stores in North Carolina, announced last month its plans to acquire Kerr's 76 retail drugstores in the state. The company is also buying Kerr Drug's specialty pharmacy business and distribution center.

Kerr Drug will keep its long-term-care pharmacy business.

When the deal was announced, a Walgreen spokesman said the company expected to keep open the majority of Kerr stores. Kerr operates 19 stores in the greater Triangle area and employs just over 2,000 people in the state.

Gildan to expand NC operations and add 500 jobs in coming years

A Canadian apparel manufacturer announced Tuesday that it expects create about 500 new jobs in the state by the end of 2016 as it expands an existing plant and opens two new ones.

Gildan Yarn, a subsidiary of Montreal-based Gildan Activewear, expects to invest $250 million building yarn spinning facilities in Salisbury and Mocksville, and renovating and expanding an existing facility in Clarkton.

Gildan was awarded an incentives package that could be worth $3.49 million if it meets hiring and investment milestones.

Tuesday's announcement is the second major expansion by Gildan over the past year.

Another Gildan subsidiary, CanAm Yarns, announced plans in December to open a new ring-spinning factory in Salisbury that is expected to employ 170 people. CanAm is eligible to receive $1.55 million in incentives if it meets hiring and investment goals for that project.

IT jobs decline again in North Carolina

Tags: .biz

Job postings for information technology jobs across North Carolina dipped 1.1 percent in September, marking the third consecutive monthly decline.

The latest data from the N.C. Technology Association reports that there were 3,730 IT job openings in September, down from 3,770 in August.

"Only companies in financial services and banking posted a few more openings as compared to the month before," according to the report. "All other industries traced ended the month lower than at the beginning."

Nationwide, IT job openings declined even more in September -- 2.5 percent.
Job openings in North Carolina also were down 9.2 percent in September compared to a year ago.

The NCTA report is prepared by SkillPROOF, which focuses on job market data and research.

Chimerix announces public stock sale

Durham antiviral drug developer Chimerix is seeking to raise as much as $50 million with a public stock sale.

The proceeds from the sale will go to the selling stockholders, not the company itself, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Chimerix shares were down about 9 percent Tuesday after the announcement.

Chimerix, a 13-year-old company with no products on the market, raised $117.9 million in April in an initial public offering of stock. The shares, which began trading at $14, opened at $21.91 on Tuesday.

Chimerix is developing a treatment for life-threatening viral infections in patients whose immune systems have been compromised by cancer or by drugs. Its most advanced experimental drug, CMX001, has gone through two patient trials and is scheduled for a third and final test this year.

Chimerix is also developing an experimental HIV treatment, CMX157. Last summer, Merck licensed the rights to the product for a $17.5 million upfront payment plus milestone payments that could reach $151 million. Merck will be responsible for developing and marketing the drug.

The company's major shareholders include Sanderling Venture Partners V, New Leaf Ventures II, Canaan VII and Alta Biopharma Partners III.

Lenovo cuts Triangle jobs again

Tags: .biz

For the second time this year, Lenovo has laid off what it describes as a "small number of employees" in Morrisville despite the PC maker's continuing prosperity.

Company spokesman Ray Gorman said in an email that the layoff notices that went out last week were "a continuation of the announcements we made in May." Back then Lenovo said its local job cutbacks were part of its "PC Plus" strategy that has it diversifying beyond PCs into devices such as smartphones, tablets, smart TVs and servers. Lenovo smartphones and smart TVs aren't being sold in the U.S.

Gorman said that the company isn't disclosing the specific number of employees affected by last week's layoffs, which was also the position it took in May.

Gorman said Lenovo's staff across North Carolina has been expanding "and we expect, long-term, for that to continue."

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