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Daily Business Report — June 19, 2012

San Diego Beating Other California Cities
In Recovering From Recession, Study Says

The worst of the 2008 financial crisis and real estate collapse may be over for San Diego, according to a study released by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. The report shows gradual and positive economic trends in the areas of unemployment, real estate, tourism and production. “This report represents yet another positive indication that San Diego is recovering at a faster rate than other cities in California and across the nation,” said Ruben Barrales, chamber president and CEO. “While the recovery remains slow, San Diego is well positioned for long term success and viability.” The data reveals that, much like the state and national economies, San Diego is still struggling to fully recover from the 2008 recession but making positive strides.  Since 2011, San Diego’s economy has performed more favorably than both California and the national economy.  In the regional real estate market in the first quarter of 2012, foreclosures saw an average monthly decrease of 28 percent compared to the previous year.  San Diego’s occupancy rates in March 2012 were higher than those of March 2007 — a sign of complete recovery, according to the report. Data and analysis for the report was provided by Export Access Global Consulting, a graduate student-run global market research and consulting group at UC San Diego.

EDC Report: Bridgepoint Education Added
More than $1 Billion to Economy in 2011

Bridgepoint Education Inc. had an estimated economic impact of more than $1 billion in business output on the San Diego region in 2011, according to a study released by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. Bridgepoint Education is the ninth-largest employer in San Diego and the parent company of Ashford University and University of the Rockies, as well as the force behind Waypoint Outcomes and the Thuze and Constellation online etextbook platforms. The study also said that another another $449 million in employee earnings and $579 million in estimated total value was added to the region’s gross domestic product. Bridgepoint Education’s state and local tax impact in 2011 added up to almost $44 million and its federal contribution totaled more than $120 million, according to the study. It said the company contributed nearly $1.5 million to San Diego nonprofit organizations. The  report was commissioned by the EDC and prepared by The London Group.

Group Wants San Onofre Nuclear Plant Kept
Closed Until Public Hearing Can Be Held

An environmental group filed a legal petition Monday with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in hopes of keeping the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station closed until it undergoes a trial-like public hearing on its problems and and the proposed solutions. The petition from Friends of the Earth comes after the group ran a television ad that contends the plant’s operator, Southern California Edison, has been rushing to get the facility back into service since its two active units were shut down in January. One of the plant’s two active units went offline in early January for planned maintenance, then the second active unit was taken out of service Jan. 31 when a leak was detected in a steam generator tube. The tube problem resulted in a minor venting of radioactive gas, said Edison executives, insisting the leak posed no hazard to plant workers or the public. The plant is likely to be shut down through August, according to SCE, the plant’s majority owner. San Diego Gas & Electric owns 20 percent of the plant and receives one-fifth of the power it generates. — City News Service

Soitec Receives $25 Million Award
for San Diego Solar Manufacturing

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $25 million to a Soitec subsidiary in San Diego in support of a new North American solar manufacturing facility here. The French-based company manufactures semiconductor materials for the electronics and energy industries. The DOE award is called SUNPATH, which stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home. Its purpose is to increase America’s manufacturing competitiveness in the global solar market.

 Last December, Soitec acquired a 176,000-square-foot manufacturing center in San Diego to support over 300 megawatts of projects throughout San Diego and Imperial counties.

Trigild Moves to New Corporate Headquarters

Trigild has moved its corporate headquarters to new offices in the Golden Triangle/University Towne Centre area at 9339 Genesee Ave. The real estate services company previously was located in the Del Mar Heights area. It’s new corporate headquarters offer 13,500 square feet of space. The San Diego corporate staff of 60 is led by Chief Operating Officer Judy Hoffman. The offices house Trigild’s administrative staff as well as specialists in finance, receivership and operations management. Besides its San Diego expansion, the firm recently opened regional offices in Northern California, Washington, D.C., Phoenix, Dallas, and will open another soon in Denver.

SmartDrive Secures $47 Million
in Additional Venture Funding

New CEO announced

San Diego-based SmartDrive Systems announced that it has secured $47 million in additional venture funding and named Steve Mitgang chief executive officer of the company. The funding was led by existing investors Oak Investment Partners and New Enterprise Associates as well as new investor Stanford University. The new round will accelerate customer adoption, channel partnerships and the company’s research and development. SmartDrive said it has created a unique driving performance program that enables fleets to increase operating efficiency and safety. Its safety and fuel programs are used by public and private fleets. Mitgang previously was CEO of Veoh, the Internet television company now part of Qlipso. Befor that he was senior vice president of Yahoo!’s advertising products and services.

The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO. Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865. manny@sandiegometro.com.

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