The past week in the Charleston economy

South Carolina Electric & Gas executive Keller Kissam announced plans to reduce power rates by 3.5 percent. AP/Meg Kinnard

Hoping to appease seething customers and lawmakers, South Carolina Electric & Gas offered to cut power bills and make other concessions. Keller Kissam, the utility’s president of retail operations, announced plans to seek a 3.5 percent rate reduction, saying it would save customers $450 million over five years. Also, he said, shareholders will be responsible for the net construction costs remaining from the scuttled V.C. Summer project, taking lower earnings payouts over the next 50 years.

The project was halted by SCE&G and co-investor Santee Cooper in July after they spent more than $9 billion on it.

Home sales update

Charleston-area home sales bounced back slightly in October after plummeting the previous two months.

Residential transactions rose 2.3 percent last month from the same period in 2016, according to the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors. Sales in October 2016 were up slightly but affected by Hurricane Matthew. The rise follows a 12.6 percent plunge in sales in September, partially related to tropical weather, and a 3.2 percent dip in August.

Last month, 1,316 residential properties changed hands at a median price of $250,080, up about 4 percent, from a year ago.

So far this year, 15,465 homes have sold in the region at a median price of $250,000, an increase of about 4 percent over the first 10 months of 2016. Volume is up about 3 percent. Inventory continues to be low.

The 787-10 that Boeing Co. builds exclusively in North Charleston got the biggest boost in the jetliner program’s young history with an order for 40 of the wide-body planes from Emirates Airlines.

Emirates made the announcement at the start of the Dubai Airshow. The order is valued at $15.1 billion at list prices, although buyers typically negotiate discounts. Emirates will begin taking delivery of the locally made Dash 10s in 2022.

South Carolina’s oldest craft brewery has decided that two heads are better than one in announcing its sale to a North Carolina beer maker.

Catawba Brewing Co. is acquiring Charleston-based Palmetto Brewing Co. in a deal that’s expect to be finalized by the end of the year. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Catawba Brewing is headquartered in Morganton, N.C. It said it’s planning to invest $1 million in capital improvements to increase production for both craft breweries, with Palmetto boosting its annual output by as much as 25 percent to 20,000 barrels.

The ownership of a longtime chemical plant on Charleston’s upper peninsula is changing hands in a deal that the buyer hopes will expand its North American business.

Belgium’s Solvay announced it is selling its 90-worker King Street Extension manufacturing site to Lanxess of Germany. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The chemicals made at the Charleston Neck Area site are used primarily in plastic additives, flame retardants and agricultural applications. Its annual sales total about $77 million. The Lanxess deal is expected to close by June 30.

Locally, Lanxess already operates a plant in Goose Creek, where it manufactures products for the rubber industry.

It’s a gift

Charleston’s International African American Museum announced another six-figure donation.

The Gilder Foundation, the charitable arm of philanthropists Richard Gilder and wife Lois Chiles, has pledged $500,000. Gilder started a New York-based stock brokerage firm in 1968. It’s now called Gilder Gagnon Howe & Co. Chiles is a film actress and former fashion model.

A 72-acre mixed-use industrial property in North Charleston will undergo a major makeover after changing hands for $42 million.

LRC Properties purchased the 1.06-million-square-foot Leeds Park property that houses the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Cummins, American Axle & Manufacturing, Mahle and other tenants at 4500 Leeds Ave.

LRC said it plans to invest $15 million on infrastracture and cosmetic improvements and renovations.

South Carolina’s jobless rate was unchanged from September to October, holding steady at 3.9 percent, the state Department of Employment and Workforce said. Also, the number of employed workers hit a new record high, climbing by more than 1,800 to about 2.23 million. The number of jobless across South Carolina declined by 251 to 91,091, its lowest level in more than 16 years.

A Mount Pleasant company that designs and makes tankless water heaters plans to hire 60 employees as it ramps up production.

Heatworks Technologies is in the process of releasing its third model, The Internet-connected devices allow owners to set the water temperature down to the degree from their smartphones.

As part of its expansion plan, the company is relocating its headquarters to a larger site at 2353 Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant.

A new low-cost player in the grocery business is preparing to make its debut in the Charleston region. Lidl, a competitor to no-frills Aldi, will open its Goose Creek supermarket Nov. 30 at 435 St. James Ave. It’s the 10th location in South Carolina for the Germany-based retailer and its first in the local area. Lidl says nearby competitors typically reduce their prices when it opens.

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