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VOL. 124 | NO. 213 | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Daily Digest

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J & J Ventures Files Loan On Hickory Hill Shop

The new owner of the auto body shop at 5475 Fox Plaza Drive in Hickory Hill North has filed a $2.3 million loan on the property. J & J Venture Partners LLC, which bought the building in April, filed the loan Oct. 8 through PNC Bank NA.

The locale is home to an AutoBody America, one of two shops in Memphis and one of six in the Mid-South. The other Memphis store is on Covington Pike; the other area stores are in Bartlett, Germantown, Southaven and Jackson, Tenn.

Built in 1984, the 18,388-square-foot shop sits on 1.94 acres along the south side of Fox Plaza Drive, which runs between Mt. Moriah and South Mendenhall roads. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2009 appraisal is $658,100.

J & J Ventures bought the property April 10 for $262,500. The seller was Pelts Properties LLC; Robert D. Pelts signed the warranty deed as chief manager of Pelts Properties.

Patrick James signed the trust deed as president of J & J Venture Partners. He is one of the “Js” in the company title; the other is Will Johnston, according to public records and the company’s Web site. The transaction also included an assignment of rents and leases to the lender, PNC Bank.

A message left with James wasn’t immediately returned.

In addition to its five Memphis-area locations, AutoBody America has four stores in Middle Tennessee and one in Jackson, Miss.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Eric Smith

IP’s Q3 Profit Soars on Tax Item

International Paper, the world’s biggest wood products company, reported Wednesday its third-quarter profit more than doubled as a huge federal tax credit more than offset falling sales of cardboard box materials.

The 13 percent sales decline shows retailers who depend on consumer spending for their profits have yet to resume large-scale purchases of the cardboard boxes that are made from materials made by IP.

But CEO John Faraci said that at the end of the latest quarter, the company “began to see some modest improvements in demand in some segments of our paper and packaging businesses.”

International Paper, based in Memphis, said its profit rose to $371 million, or 87 cents per share, in the July-September period from $149 million, or 35 cents per share, a year ago.

But the latest results included special items, primarily a $525 million federal alternative fuel tax credit.

Without special items, IP said it would have earned 37 cents per share from continuing operations versus 84 cents a share a year ago. The latest figure is 13 cents a share better than Wall Street analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected. They typically exclude special items from their estimates.

The law authorizing the fuel tax credit is set to expire in December.

Sales in the third quarter fell 13 percent to $5.92 billion from $6.81 billion a year ago.

Operating profit in IP’s largest segment, industrial packaging, fell to $214 million from $255 million as lower box prices offset modestly higher volumes and lower annual maintenance outages.

At the printing paper segment, operating profit climbed to $138 million from $86 million as export sales rose, domestic volumes climbed and materials costs fell.

Consumer packaging’s operating profit jumped to $68 million from $38 million as lower annual maintenance outages, modest volume improvements and favorable materials costs offset pricing pressure.

– The Associated Press

hhgregg Opens Store At The Commons

Centro Properties Group has opened a 39,144-square-foot hhgregg store at The Commons at the intersection of Interstate 40 and Germantown Parkway. The new retailer, hhgregg, sells appliances and electronics.

Centro Properties Group, the owner of The Commons, is the second-largest owner of community and neighborhood shopping centers in the U.S. Its portfolio includes more than 600 properties in 39 states.

Tom Wilemon

New Home Sales Fall 3.6 Percent

The number of buyers snapping up new homes dipped unexpectedly last month as the effects of a temporary tax credit for first-time owners started to wear off.

The 3.6 percent drop in September’s new home sales, reported by the U.S. Commerce Department Wednesday, was the first decline since March and a distinct sign of weakness in a market that had rebounded strongly over the summer.

The drop in new home sales could help the lobbying campaign of real estate agents and homebuilders. They want Congress to extend the tax credit of up to $8,000 for first-time buyers.

“Seeing a number like this today, I think a lot of lawmakers will be pounding their fists on the table,” said Jennifer Lee, an economist with BMO Capital Markets.

Critics, however, say many buyers would have made their purchases anyway and call the credit an unnecessary subsidy for people who don’t need it.

New home sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 402,000 from a downwardly revised 417,000 in August. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected a pace of 440,000.

New home sales, however, are still up 22 percent from the bottom in January, and analysts don’t expect them to recede too far.

The report provides a timely view of the housing market because it reflects signed contracts to buy homes, rather than completed sales. It’s taken longer this year to finish deals because of delays in getting approved for a mortgage and having the property appraised.

– The Associated Press

Cohen Examines Legal Service Demands

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis and the chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law (CAL), recently held a hearing to examine the growing casework demands of the Legal Services Corp.

In 1974, Congress established LSC, a private, nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice by providing grants to programs that offer legal assistance to people living at or below 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline. LSC also helps displaced people seeking emergency federal assistance after hurricanes, floods or other natural disasters, and aids victims of predatory lenders.

During the hearing, Cohen heard testimony from Memphis Area Legal Services Inc. Executive Director Harrison McIver.

“The Memphis Area Legal Services handled nearly 5,600 in 2008,” Cohen said at Monday’s hearing. “But with the downturn in the economy, and the resulting increased requests for legal representation, the agency has handled over 4,500 cases through the first six months of this year alone.”

Cohen is a cosponsor of the Civil Access to Justice Act of 2009, a bill that would increase LSC’s funding, improve its internal operations and allow LSC-funded programs to use non-federal funds more efficiently. The bill currently is pending before the House Judiciary Committee.

Rebekah Hearn

St. Jude Named Among Best Places to Work

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has been named among the top 10 “Best Places to Work in Academia” by The Scientist magazine.

St. Jude finished seventh in the ranking and has been listed in the top 10 four years running.

Research resources at St. Jude were a top factor in determining workplace satisfaction.

The Scientist asked life scientists with permanent positions in academic, hospital, government or research organizations to complete a Web-based questionnaire. Respondents were asked to assess their working environment according to 38 criteria in eight areas.

The magazine received more than 2,300 responses represented by 119 institutions from the United States and internationally.

– Taylor Shoptaw

C-SPAN Civics Bus Makes Stop in Memphis

The C-SPAN Civics Bus will stop in Memphis today on its nationwide tour.

The Civics Bus is a 45-foot mobile production studio and demonstration center that will be opened to tours.

Visitors also can learn about the network’s education Web site, C-SPAN Classroom, a free membership service for educators with downloadable video clips, the C-SPAN Video library and C-SPAN’s television coverage of President Barack Obama’s administration.

The Civics Bus will visit the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Ave., from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and the LeMoyne-Owen College Alma C. Hanson Student Center from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Bioworks Luncheon To Focus on Supply Chain

“Enabling Bioscience through Supply Chain Management” is the topic for the next Memphis Bioworks luncheon meeting set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Fogelman Executive Center on the University of Memphis campus.

Panel participants will include Michael Evans, senior director of operations for DDN; Michael James, senior vice president of strategy and operations for Accredo; and David Pennington, vice president of ocular operations for Tissue Banks International.

For more details, go to www.bioworksbusiness.com.

Tom Wilemon

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 65 366 17,721
MORTGAGES 70 417 23,068
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 15 91 4,519
BUILDING PERMITS 210 932 42,157
BANKRUPTCIES 62 299 16,691
BUSINESS LICENSES 19 80 5,781
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 49 305 25,174
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 96 5,381

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