Originally created 09/01/02

Pocket change



LOCATION: 2102 Old Savannah Road, Augusta

PRODUCT: Fire-resistant bricks, fabrics and fibers. Known as "refractories," the products are used to line the inside of furnaces and insulate high-heat ductwork.

LOCAL EMPLOYEES: 525 (approximate)

OWNERSHIP: The Morgan Crucible Co. of Windsor, England

HISTORY: The primary ingredient in Thermal Ceramics' refractories is kaolin, a chalky, white clay found across middle Georgia. Easy access to deposits in south Richmond County prompted Ohio-based Babcock & Wilcox Co. to build a factory on Old Savannah Road in 1928. In 1988, the operation was bought by British conglomerate Morgan Crucible, whose divisions make everything from magnets to body armor. Thermal Ceramics launched a multi-million-dollar capital-improvement plan in 2000.

RECENT NEWS: The company recently introduced the Cerablanket AC2, a ceramic fiber blanket with a temperature rating of 2400 degrees. The product, which features enhanced acoustic properties, can be used in recovery steam generator silencers, process mufflers and sound walls.

BIZ 101

Use caution on business leases

Money is rarely the most important factor in a commercial lease. Although landlords have standard leases, all terms are negotiable. Oral agreements during negotiations should be put into the final, written contract.

Issues to consider include:

  • Length: A long lease can provide security for the tenant or lock it into space that no longer meets needs.
  • Exclusivity: To prevent landlord from bringing in other direct competitors. Does the lease prohibit you from selling certain types of merchandise?
  • Arbitration: Can landlord-tenant disputes be resolved out of court?
  • Maintenance: Are there charges for common areas? Who is responsible for repairs or alterations required by a government agency?
  • Rates: Is lease terminated if the building is destroyed? Will the lease continue at the current rate if the building is sold?
  • Holding company?

    A "holding company" is a company whose principal assets are the securities it owns in companies that provide goods or services. The usual reason for forming a holding company is to enable one corporation and its directors to control several companies by holding the majority of their stock.


    Find a job

    Several employers from Augusta and across the state are expected to attend a Fort Gordon-sponsored job fair Thursday at the base's U.S. Army Reserve Center, Building 14401, on 15th Street.

    Participants in the fair, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., are expected to include Intelligence Solutions, L3-EER Inc., Kelly Assisted Living Services, Medical College of Georgia, Waffle House, Adecco Personnel Services, Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Georgia Power and Hampton Inn.

    For more information call 791-0795.


    Electronics maker tops list again

    Legend Group Ltd., a computer and electronics manufacturer, topped the list of China's biggest private companies in 2001 for the fourth consecutive year, according to a national trade group.

    The Beijing company had revenue of 32.9 billion yuan ($3.9 billion) last year, almost four times that of the next-largest company, auto parts maker Wanxiang Group, according to the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce survey results released this week.

    Wanxiang Group, based in Zhejiang, had revenue of 8.6 billion yuan ($1.03 billion) in 2001, the survey said.

    China's Communist government has recognized private companies in recent years as the most dynamic part of the economy. But the number of successful private companies remains small because they are hampered by poor access to financing and heavy government interference.

    Anniversary brings emotions

    As the nation prepares to mark the anniversary of the terror attacks, America's businesses should be prepared for an understandable drop in productivity, according to Richard Bayer, chief operating officer of The Five O'Clock Club, a New York-based career counseling network.

    "People need time to discuss their situations with co-workers," Mr. Bayer said. "Where were they when it happened? How did it affect them? Employers must be sensitive to the emotions of employees."

    And companies should remember to review with their workers changes made or planned in response to the attacks, including new security precautions. As for the actual anniversary, employees should be given time to reminisce and grieve.

    "Managers should realize Sept. 11 will be a sad day," Mr. Bayer said. "This is uncharted territory for everyone."


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