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Upgrades to add 17 to job rolls

Company renovations and equipment upgrades will result in nearly 20 new jobs – many of them well-paying – at two local firms, according to paperwork filed with city officials.

Wagner-Meinert and States Engineering are seeking 10-year tax abatements that would save them $50,512 and $18,391, respectively. The businesses are investing about $700,000 combined.

Wagner-Meinert is an engineering and construction services operation. States Engineering is a foundry equipment manufacturer.

Wagner-Meinert intends to renovate its two-story office building, 7617 Freedom Way, to convert its fabrication shop area into office space. It will add 13 new positions by 2014. The pay ranges from $30,000 to $75,000. The company presently employs 140.

States Engineering, 10216 Airport Drive, would buy machining equipment, a crane and related components. The business would add four positions with pay ranging from $27,000 to $66,000. States Engineering employs 14.

Both projects will be introduced to the City Council on Tuesday.

Chiquita Brands names chief executive

Produce company Chiquita Brands International Inc. has named Edward F. Lonergan as its CEO and president to help with its turnaround efforts.

Chiquita previously announced a cost-cutting plan aimed at saving $60 million annually by streamlining its administrative and manufacturing costs. The company said in August that it planned to get rid of some senior management positions and spend less on research and development.

Lonergan succeeds Fernando Aguirre, who previously announced that he was stepping down as chairman, president and CEO of the company. Chiquita also said late Tuesday that it has named Kerrii B. Anderson as nonexecutive chairwoman.

Facebook to charge to promote user posts

Facebook has long declared that it’s “free and always will be.” And it still is – unless you want more friends to see what you have to say.

The social media giant is rolling out a feature in the U.S. that lets users pay to promote their posts to friends, just as advertisers do. Facebook has been testing the service in New Zealand, where it tries out a lot of new features, and has gradually introduced it in more than 20 other countries. Facebook said Wednesday that promoting a post – such as announcing a garage sale, charity drive or big news like an engagement – will bump it higher in your friends’ news feeds.

Facebook didn’t say how much it will cost to promote the posts, only that it’s considering a range of prices.

European banks raise capital buffers

Europe’s banks have raised an extra $265 billion in fresh capital since December in a bid to meet new rules aimed at strengthening the ailing sector, an EU regulator said Wednesday.

The European Banking Authority estimated in December that of 71 banks it monitors, 37 needed extra funds in reserve capital to ensure they could survive a serious economic and financial crash. In a report Wednesday, the agency said the banks increased the reserves mainly by issuing new capital, withholding dividends and reducing holdings of risky assets.