published Sunday, July 15th, 2012

Business Briefcase: Volkswagen earnings top among auto firms

The VW logo is seen on the front of one of dozens of new Passats made at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant parked outside the plant. These cars will be used as demos for testing, internal quality control and press test drives.
The VW logo is seen on the front of one of dozens of new Passats made at the Chattanooga Volkswagen assembly plant parked outside the plant. These cars will be used as demos for testing, internal quality control and press test drives.

Volkswagen is ranked 13th among the world's most profitable companies and had the best showing among automakers, according to Fortune's Global 500 rankings.

VW's ranking in 2011 is just ahead of Ford, which came in at 14th. General Motors showed up at 48th, Fortune reported.

This is the first time in at least a decade that more than one carmaker made the top 50 list.

Russian energy company Gazprom was first on the list with profits of $44.4 billion.

Regulators suspend security license

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance suspended the license of private security guard Tullis A. Martin of Chattanooga for "unprofessional conduct" last month. Martin, a registered unarmed guard with Private Protective Services, was indicted in March by a Rutherford County grand jury on charges of vandalism, theft and two counts of burglarizing a business. He failed to report his earlier arrest to state regulators.

The state action against Martin was one of three taken against local businesses, according to the June regulatory report released last week.

Beauty Xpress of Chattanooga was given a $1,000 civil penalty and a notice of violation from the state Board of Cosmetology after inspectors found a Pedi spa chair at the spa to be "exceptionally dirty." The spa at 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd., which is owned by Firdous Islam, was warned about the violation. But the equipment was found not to have been properly cleaned when inspectors re-examined the spa equipment again.

In a separate action taken by the Alarm Systems Contractors Board, James A. Blevins of Rossville, Ga., was fined a $50 civil penalty for failing to submit proper termination notices for one of his employees at Gallaher & Associates.

State taxable sales rise 6.9 percent

Taxable sales in Tennessee rose more than twice the rate of inflation during most of the past year, rising 6.9 percent from July 2011 through May 2012, state figures show.

The Tennessee Department of Revenue said last week that the state's sales and use tax generated nearly $6.3 billion during the first 11 months of the state's fiscal year, or $405.8 million more than in the same period a year earlier.

Franchise and excise taxes collected from businesses in Tennessee rose an even stronger 22.7 percent in the past 11 months, rising to more than $1.8 billion.

The higher tax collections due to higher retail sales and business profits left the state with more than a half-billion dollars of extra funds with one month left in the budget year.

"The positive growth trend we are now enjoying is encouraging, however, the latest national jobs report point to an economy that is still anemic and recovering slowly," Tennessee Revenue Commissioner Mark Emkes said. "For the remainder of this year, we will continue to closely monitor collections and expenditures."

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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