Biz bits

Augusta climbs list of best-performing cities


The Augusta metro area rose 39 spots in a California-based research group's annual ranking of best-performing cities.

Augusta moved from 121st in 2008 to 82nd in the Milken Institute/Greenstreet Real Estate Partners Best Performing Cities Index for 2009.

The index ranks U.S. metropolitan areas by how well they are creating and sustaining jobs and economic growth. Components include job, wage and technology growth.

The category in which Augusta ranked the highest -- 23rd among large cities -- was one-year growth in high-tech output compared to gross domestic product. The area also scored well in five-year high-tech output and annual job growth.

Four of the top five cities are in Texas: Austin, Killen, McAllen and Houston.

Solo Cup will receive funds for job training

Solo Cup Co. is one of 29 manufacturing companies in Georgia awarded a total of $1.4 million by the state to become a Certified Work Ready Facility.

The manufacturer has locations in Richmond, Walton and Rockdale counties.

The funding, provided by the federal stimulus act, will be used to reimburse training costs associated with expenses for implementing the Georgia Work Ready training plan and approved customized, job-specific training of the company's choice.

CIT Group ready to exit bankruptcy protection

NEW YORK --- CIT Group Inc., one of the nation's biggest lenders to small and midsize businesses, said Tuesday that a judge approved its reorganization plan and it plans to emerge from bankruptcy protection Thursday.

CIT Group filed for bankruptcy protection Nov. 1 after it failed to restructure outstanding debt to alleviate a cash crunch. The reorganization plan, which was approved by key bondholders in advance, reduces CIT's total debt by $10.5 billion and defers debt maturities for three years.

CIT's finances were hammered by credit markets late last year and rising loan defaults.

In other news

GENERAL ELECTRIC CO. says profits at its lending arm will start improving by 2011, but first it will have to slog through another year of big losses on loans gone bad in areas such as commercial real estate.

THE RECESSION THAT WAS a boon for business last year caught up with McDonald's in November. Sales at restaurants open at least a year fell 0.6 percent in the U.S. It was the second consecutive monthly decline.