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Greenville Business Magazine

The Business Narrative: Billions in Investment

Mar 27, 2024 10:21AM ● By Donna Walker

AESC Grows Florence County Operations With Second Expansion in Four Months

AESC, a leading battery technology company, announced the expansion of its lithium-ion electric vehicle battery manufacturing operations in Florence County.


The company’s $1.5 billion investment will create 1,080 jobs, according to Gov. Henry McMaster’s office.


“South Carolina is a crucial part of our strategy to power next generation electric vehicles for customers across the U.S. by manufacturing high-performance, longer-range EV batteries locally," said AESC CEO Shoichi Matsumoto.


Matsumoto added, "Through our collaborative efforts, I am excited that we are able to support thousands of new workers and increase both AESC and South Carolina’s leadership in providing advanced clean energy transportation solutions.” 


The investment follows AESC’s initial announcement in December 2022 and expansion announcement in December 2023, resulting in a total investment of $3.12 billion and supporting 2,700 new jobs across the local community.


In 2022, the company announced a multi-year partnership with BMW to supply technology-leading battery cells to be used in the next generation electric vehicle models produced at Plant Spartanburg. 


AESC’s latest expansion will extend the partnership to provide electric vehicle battery components for BMW Group’s Mexico Assembly Operations.

With the expansion of AESC’s production footprint in the United States, the company will build a second state-of-the-art electric vehicle battery manufacturing facility adjacent to the first building which broke ground in June 2023. 


The AESC campus is located in the more than 1,000-acre Florence Global Technology Park.


Operations are expected to be online in 2027. 


At meetings on March 20 and March 26, 2024, the Joint Bond Review Committee and the State Fiscal Accountability Authority authorized the issuance of up to an additional $111 million in state general economic development bonds in support of the expanded project, as well as the costs of issuance.


Officials said the bond proceeds will be used to offset the costs of a county-owned warehouse building, site preparation, on-site roads, off-site road and water improvements, and additional expansion of the training center that will serve both manufacturing facilities at the Florence site.


The state’s Coordinating Council for Economic Development also approved job development credits related to the project.


“AESC’s second expansion in less than four months in Florence County signals yet another vote of confidence in our state and our people,” McMaster said.


Those interested in joining AESC team should go to readySC’s recruitment website to learn about future opportunities.


Companies interested in becoming an AESC supplier should complete S.C. Commerce’s online interest form.

Clean Harbors Completes Acquisition of HEPACO

Clean Harbors, Inc. (NYSE: CLH) announced March 25, 2024, it completed its acquisition of HEPACO, a leading environmental provider of field and emergency response services in the Eastern United States.


Clean Harbors purchased HEPACO from Gryphon Investors for $400 million in cash.


The acquisition was financed through proceeds from a recently completed $500 million expansion of the company’s Term Loan facility.


Officials said terms of the $500 million expansion remain consistent with the existing and outstanding facility.


On an adjusted basis, HEPACO generated full-year 2023 EBITDA of approximately $36 million on $270 million of revenue.


Clean Harbors expects the acquisition to generate cost synergies of approximately $20 million after the first full year of operations, which equates to a post-synergy acquisition multiple of 7.1 times.


Based on the completion date of the transaction, Clean Harbors expects that HEPACO will add approximately $30 million of adjusted EBITDA in 2024. Clean Harbors’ management plans to update its 2024 guidance when it reports its first-quarter results on May 1.


Eric Gerstenberg, co-chief executive officer of Clean Harbors, said, “HEPACO is an ideal cultural fit with our existing Field Services business, and we are confident that this will be a highly synergistic deal with strong margin improvement potential."


Gerstenberg added, "We expect to achieve our targeted cost synergies in areas such as subcontracting, branch network, asset rentals, transportation and procurement. We welcome HEPACO’s talented team to Clean Harbors and look forward to a smooth integration in the coming months.”


Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, HEPACO has approximately 1,000 employees and 900 vehicles at 40 regional locations in 17 states, including South Carolina.


Its primary offerings to its more than 2,000 customers include field services, environmental remediation and emergency response services.


In addition to regional operations in those 17 states, HEPACO’s National Operations center provides 24-hour coverage across the continental U.S. through a network of contractors.


Clean Harbors is a provider of environmental and industrial services. The company serves a diverse customer base, including a majority of Fortune 500 companies, and its customer base spans a number of industries, including chemical, manufacturing and refining, as well as numerous government agencies.


Through its Safety-Kleen subsidiary, Clean Harbors also is North America’s largest re-refiner and recycler of used oil and a leading provider of parts washers and environmental services to commercial, industrial and automotive customers.


Founded in 1980 and based in Massachusetts, Clean Harbors operates in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and India.

Deliveries Increase Lease Rates, Vacancy in Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach experienced the first positive supply change since the first quarter of 2023 with 8,892 square feet added, and overall lease rates increased to $19.73 per square foot despite net negative absorption of 2,113 square feet, according to  Colliers’ 2023 Q4 Retail Myrtle Beach report.


Overall vacancy increased following delivery of 8,892 square feet, increasing total inventory to 11,528,964 square feet, Colliers said.


Key takeaways:

* Overall performance metrics remained healthy.

* Average lease rates, construction and deliveries increased from the third quarter.

* Vacancy was stable at 2.42 percent with improved absorption from Q3 2023.


The stabilizing interest rate environment also spurred an increase in construction, with 102,023 square feet spread among six projects in five different submarkets, according to Colliers.


Colliers said retail appears to be improving for the market, but added Myrtle Beach did not display the increases in performance like other South Carolina markets in the fourth quarter of 2023.


While statewide population growth will be another key consideration, Colliers said market-specific migration will become clearer throughout 2024.

What Taxpayers Need to Know About Digital Asset Reporting, Tax Requirements

Taxpayers filing 2023 tax returns must check a box indicating whether they received digital assets as a reward, award or payment for property or services or disposed of any digital asset that was held as a capital asset through a sale, exchange or transfer, according to the Internal Revenue Service.


A digital asset is a digital representation of value that is recorded on a cryptographically secured, distributed ledger or any similar technology.


Common digital assets include virtual currency and cryptocurrency, stablecoins and non-fungible tokens.


Examples of digital assets transactions include:

* Sale of digital assets.

* Receipt of digital assets as payment for goods or services.

* Receipt of new digital assets because of mining and staking activities.

* Receipt of new digital assets because of a hard fork.

* Exchange of digital assets for property, goods or services.

* Exchange or trade of digital assets for another digital asset(s).

* Any other disposition of a financial interest in digital assets.


IRS officials say taxpayers must report all income related to their digital asset transactions.


Use Form 8949, Sales and other Dispositions of Capital Assets, to calculate a capital gain or loss and report it on Schedule D (Form 1040), Capital Gains and Losses.


If the transaction was a gift, file Form 709, United States Gift (and Generation-Skipping Transfer) Tax Return.


If individuals received any digital assets as compensation for services or disposed of any digital assets they held for sale to customers in a trade or business, they must report the income as they would report other income of the same type. For example, they would report W-2 wages on Form 1040 or 1040-SR, line 1a, or inventory or services on Schedule C.


If an employee was paid with digital assets, they must report the value of assets received as wages.


Similarly, if they worked as an independent contractor and were paid with digital assets, they must report that income on Schedule C (Form 1040), Profit or Loss from Business (Sole Proprietorship).


Schedule C is also used by anyone who sold, exchanged or transferred digital assets to customers in connection with a trade or business.

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