BAT passes on

McLaren Racing signage

British American Tobacco Plc confirmed Thursday that its global partnership with McLaren will not include having its signage of McLaren Racing Formula One vehicles in Australia this weekend.

BAT said Feb. 12 that the multi-year agreement will allow BAT to have signage on McLaren Racing vehicles on and away from the tracks during the 2019 season. The F1 circuit includes a U.S. Grand Prix race on Nov. 3 in Austin, Texas.

Australia has some of the most stringent tobacco marketing restrictions in the world. BAT has ceded its signage opportunities for the Australian racing to 7-Eleven.

“It was our decision to not use BAT branding at the race,” BAT said in a statement. “We’re mindful of the stance that the Australian government currently takes potentially reduced-risk products, and combined with the fact that we don’t sell those products there, it makes sense to pass on the branding rights to one of our key business customers.”

BAT is the parent company of Reynolds American Inc., which was the sponsor of NASCAR’s Winston Cup series from 1971 to 2003.

The landmark 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with 46 attorneys general forced cigarette manufacturers to reduce their sports sponsorships to a single program in a 12-month period. Reynolds chose Winston Cup until it relinquished the sponsorship in 2004 because of changing industry conditions.

Richard Craver

Index finds N.C. economy improved in January

The North Carolina economy rose modestly in January, in part related to gains in manufacturing employment hours and wages, according to an index compiled by economics professor Michael Walden of N.C. State University.

The index, however, is down 7.9 percent from January 2018.

The index measures leading state economic indicators, such as manufacturing employment hours and wages, residential building permits and initial jobless claims. It ordinarily serves as a forecast of the state economy four to six months out. The data is seasonally adjusted.

Five of the six key indicators improved from December to January.

Building permits fell 28.5 percent over the month and are down 31.6 percent since January 2018. Walden cautioned that building permits data was affected by the government shutdown.

Richard Craver

Greensboro molding company debuts facility

Bright Plastics, a Greensboro-based custom injection molder of plastic products, said Thursday it will debut Friday a new engineering facility through a partnership with Carbon, a Silicon Valley-based digital 3D manufacturing company.

Bright Plastics said the facility will enhance its ability to manufacture low-volume, high-quality plastic parts with predictable and consistent mechanical properties, creating at-scale parts that are ready for end use.

The carbon production network is an elite ecosystem of the industry’s leading design firms and contract manufacturers who have implemented Carbon’s technology and demonstrated advanced capabilities in additive manufacturing, design, production, urethane casting, machining and injection molding.

Richard Craver

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