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Business news and information from Charlotte and the Carolinas. 

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Nick de la Canal / WFAE News


This year is shaping up to be a good one for America’s Christmas tree farmers. A report published this week by the American Christmas Tree Association estimates nearly 22.6 million Christmas trees will be bought, strapped to a car roof, brought home, and decorated this holiday season. That’s a million more trees than were sold in 2011, and it’s welcome relief for the Christmas tree industry, which is still recovering from the recession.

Duke Energy plans to add two more solar energy projects to its North Carolina power network next year, as it works to meet state requirements for clean electricity.

The company is asking the North Carolina Utilities Commission for permission to take over two projects already in development -  a 60-megawatt solar farm in Monroe and a 15.4-megawatt facility in Mocksville, in Davie County.

If approved, construction on both would start in March and be done by the end of 2016. 

Corning Optical Communications plans to move its headquarters from Hickory to a new $38.7 million office building Charlotte in 2018. A spokeswoman said the company is looking at sites off I-485 northwest of Charlotte, and hopes to announce the location by April 1.

David Boraks / WFAE

Duke Energy is the nation’s largest power company, supplying electricity to more than 7 million customers in the Southeast and Midwest. But for the past six years, the Charlotte company also has been quietly building a separate startup business that sells wind and solar power to other utilities and businesses.

www.lowes.com

Lowe's increased its profit for the most recent quarter by 26 percent compared to the same period a year ago. The earnings report for the Mooresville-based home improvement company beat analyst expectations.

Although the overall retail market has been weak lately, Lowe's earnings show a growing number of consumers willing to upgrade appliances, renovate decks and take on other home projects.

On a call with investors, CEO Robert Niblock said the company's same-store sales in the U.S. increased 5 percent compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Duke Energy/Flickr

Duke Energy's latest earnings report shows profits declined 27 percent from the same period a year ago. The Charlotte-based company's net income was $932 million through the end of September, which missed analyst expectations.

Weak results internationally and legal settlements in the U.S. hurt Duke Energy's bottom line. The settlements in the quarter were related to a coal plant in Indiana and cleaning up coal ash in North Carolina.

http://www.swsh.com/

A Charlotte-based hygiene company is admitting to some dirty accounting. The U.S. Attorney's office in Charlotte is charging Swisher Hygiene with accounting fraud, and the company is agreeing to a $2 million penalty.

Shareholders Vote To Keep Moynihan As Chairman

Sep 22, 2015
Courtesy: Bank of America

Bank of America shareholders have voted to allow Brian Moynihan to continue as both board chairman and chief executive officer. Shareholders voted to separate the two roles in 2009. Then last year, BofA’s board reversed that decision and named Moynihan chairman in addition to CEO. The move sparked controversy and protests by some shareholders.

Conservation Fund

Apple, Inc. is partnering with a conservation group to protect 3,600 acres of forest land in North Carolina’s Brunswick County.

Apple is working with the Virginia-based Conservation Fund to protect a working forest in Brunswick County from development. Working forests are managed to sustainably produce timber while also providing recreational opportunities and protecting wildlife habitats.

Salisbury Now Home To Fastest Internet In U.S.

Sep 4, 2015
Ben Bradford / WFAE News

Salisbury, North Carolina – population just shy of 34,000 – can now lay claim to the title of “city with the fastest Internet in the U.S.” It’s not operated by Google, Verizon, or Time Warner Cable. Instead, it’s a homegrown fiber optic network. WFAE’s Ben Bradford says, when city officials launched it, the only title they were seeking was “employed.”

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