Decking producer to build plant, add 310 jobs in Tennessee and more business news

Deck producer to add 310 jobs in Tennessee

A North Carolina producer of wood-alternative decking and rails announced Wednesday that it will build a plant in Columbia, Tennessee, and create 310 jobs over the next five years.

Fiberon, a subsidiary of Fortune Brands Home & Security, Inc., is expanding to Tennessee to boost its output of what it bills as its eco-friendly composite decking products. Founded in 1997, Fiberon is a leading U.S. manufacturer of wood-alternative decking, railing and cladding, and currently employs more than 600 people at manufacturing and distribution operations in New London, North Carolina and Meridian, Idaho.

“With its world-class workforce and proximity to customers and resources, Columbia, Tennessee proved to be a natural fit for Fiberon’s new facility,” Brett Finley, president of Fortune Brands Outdoors & Security said in an announcement of the new Columbia plant. “This new facility will help Fiberon meet the sustained, growing demand for our composite decking products and support our continued focus on the attractive outdoor living market.” –


Nissan recalls SUVs over wiring problems

Nissan is recalling more than 793,000 small SUVs in the U.S. and Canada because water can get into wiring which, in rare cases, could start a fire.

The recall covers Nissan Rogue SUVs from the 2014 through 2016 model years. The Rogue is Nissan’s top-selling vehicle in the U.S.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in documents that water and salt can enter a wiring connector in the driver’s foot well, causing corrosion.

The corrosion can disable the driver’s power window or power seat, cause the all-wheel-drive warning light to come on, or drain the battery. Government documents posted Wednesday say Nissan has seven reports of fires or “thermal incidents.”

Nissan says owners whose vehicles have the symptoms, smell a burning odor or see smoke should park outdoors and call Nissan Roadside Assistance to have the vehicles towed to a dealer.

The recall came after Canadian safety regulators opened an investigation in July of 2020.

Nissan says it’s working on a fix and expects to have one in the spring. Owners will get an interim notification letter in March and will be told later when to take their Rogues to a dealer for service.


Injured passenger sues Uber for $63 million

A Massachusetts man who was left a quadriplegic when his Uber vehicle crashed last year is seeking $63 million in damages in a negligence lawsuit he has filed against the ride-hailing platform.

William Good, 31, of Somerville, alleges in the lawsuit that Uber “failed to appropriately screen, hire and supervise their driver, resulting in severe and life-changing injuries to Mr. Good, who is now a quadriplegic.”

Good had hailed a ride to get from work in Boston to his home in Somerville on April 30, according to the suit.

The suit filed Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court seeks a jury trial and $63 million for severe physical, mental and emotional injuries, extraordinary pain and suffering, and permanent disability.

An Uber spokesperson told The Boston Globe the company could not comment on pending litigation.

The driver had a driving history that included moving violations, crashes and citations, the suit says.

“I struggle daily with the knowledge that this Uber employee was hired as a professional driver — the last thing he should have been hired to do,” Good told WCVB-TV.


Walmart expands fintech credit-paying options

The financial technology startup that Walmart is backing will acquire two financial companies as it tries to create one app where shoppers can do different financial activities from getting paid to borrowing and saving money.

The venture called Hazel will purchase Even, a financial benefits platform that enables employees to access their earned wages early. It’s also buying ONE Finance Corp. which combines saving, spending and borrowing in one account and also lets customers apply for a debit card. The combined business will operate under ONE. The transactions are expected to close in the first half of this year.

Walmart said Wednesday that many Americans can’t access credit, build savings or wealth and are left to manage their financial lives through multiple disconnected apps. It estimated that nearly a quarter of U.S. adults are unbanked or underbanked and roughly 80% of users of financial technology rely on multiple accounts to manage their finances.

Walmart says its financial products and services will be made available directly to consumers and through employers and merchants, including access to its 1.6 million U.S. employees and 100 million-plus weekly shoppers.


Tesla earnings up but output constrained

Tesla said Wednesday that profit leapt more than sixfold to $5.5 billion in 2021, the highest total in its 19-year history, as sales continued to surge, especially in Europe and China.

But the automaker warned that supply chain troubles stemming from the pandemic would continue to be a constraint on production through the coming year. Its shares fell more than 2% in aftermarket trading following the announcement.

“Our own factories have been running below capacity for several quarters as supply chain became the main limiting factor, which is likely to continue through 2022,” the company said.

The automaker reported that its revenue rose to $53.8 billion in 2021, from $31.5 billion a year earlier. Deliveries increased 87%, to 936,000 cars.

The company’s bottom-line figure included nearly $1.5 billion that it earned from selling regulatory credits to other automakers, a slight decline from the previous year.

Tesla grew last year despite a shortage of computer chips that limited other manufacturers’ production throughout most of 2021. It was able to mitigate the impact of the shortage by switching to types of chips that were more readily available and writing new instructions, or firmware, to be embedded into the chip.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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