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VOL. 123 | NO. 35 | Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Daily Digest

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Sharp Issued Permit To Rebuild Plant

     Sharp Manufacturing Co. of America is moving quickly to get back on track after suffering damage in the Feb. 5 storm that tore through its plant at 4050 S. Mendenhall Road in Southeast Memphis.
     The company, whose parent is New Jersey-based Sharp Electronics Corp. - a subsidiary of Japan's Sharp Corp. - has been issued a $5 million building permit to repair damage to its 500,000-square-foot facility, which manufactures a host of electronic goods. The permit was issued Feb. 14.
     Executives with the Memphis plant last week told Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. and other civic leaders that 200 or more employees at its plant will be back at work this week.
     A call to Sharp's media spokesperson wasn't returned by press time.
     Sharp's was one of many manufacturing and distribution facilities disrupted by the ferocious storm that ripped through the Memphis area the evening of Feb. 5. The fallout of that damage is still being assessed as companies continue the rebuilding process.
     Many companies have moved their goods to whatever available warehouse space they can find, and industrial brokers have touted the community's willingness to help competitors throughout the crisis.
     

County Commission Committee To Review Bass Pro Deal

     The tentative terms for Bass Pro Shops' development of The Pyramid will get the once over from Shelby County commissioners today in committee sessions.
     Tuesday, the terms were laid out for Memphis City Council members at their committee sessions.
     Last week, Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton Jr. sent a letter to the commission saying he would be unable to support the terms worked out between the hunting and fishing retail chain and city Housing and Community Development Director Robert Lipscomb. But Wharton said he would not be specific since he had not talked over his concerns with Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton.
     

Medtronic Q3 Earnings Drop 89 Percent

     Third-quarter earnings at medical device maker Medtronic Inc. tumbled 89 percent from a year ago due to charges from lawsuit settlements and acquisition costs.
     Medtronic's Spinal and Biologics business is based in Memphis. The company said Tuesday that it earned $77 million, or 7 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Jan. 25, compared to $710 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier.
     Revenue rose 12 percent to $3.41 billion from $3.05 billion in the same quarter a year ago, thanks to a sharp rise in international sales, the company said.
     Excluding the charges, Medtronic would have earned $713 million, or 63 cents per share. That was 2 cents better than the 61-cent consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. The earnings estimates typically exclude one-time items.
     Bill Hawkins, Medtronic president and CEO, said in a statement that the quarterly performance reflected double-digit growth in its neuromodulation, diabetes, spinal and ear-nose-throat businesses and the successful close of its acquisition of spinal implants maker Kyphon.
     The charges included $275 million, or 24 cents per share, for settlements of lawsuits stemming from its recalled Marquis line of implantable defibrillators and a stent patent infringement case by Cordis Corp., a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson.
     Hawkins said Medtronic expects to see strong fourth-quarter growth with the launch of its Endeavor drug-coated stents in the United States and the addition of other products.
     

GTx Reports Q4, 2007 Net Losses

     GTx, Inc. has reported a net loss of $12.8 million and $40.4 million, respectively, for the three months and the year ended Dec. 31. The fourth quarter and year-end loss compares to a net loss of $4.7 million and $35.5 million for the same periods in 2006.
     As of Dec. 31, GTx had cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments of $110 million.
     Revenue for the quarter and year ended Dec. 31 was $1.9 million and $7.1 million, respectively, compared to $4.6 million and $7.5 million for the same periods in 2006.
     Revenue for Q4 2007 included collaboration income of $198,000 and $1.5 million related to the company's collaborations with Merck and Ipsen Limited, respectively, and $256,000 of net sales of Fareston, which is breast cancer.
     

January Home Sales Decline 22.5 Percent

     The Memphis Area Association of Realtors has reported homes sales for January, as recorded by Memphis-area Realtors in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), totaled 870, down 22.5 percent from the 1,122 sales recorded in January 2007.
     Pending sales as of Feb. 15 were up more than 20 percent over pending sales recorded Jan. 15, indicating increased market activity from January levels. Year-over-year median sales price declined 18.6 percent in January, from $129,000 in January 2007 to $105,000 in January 2008.
     

Crime Forum to Feature County, City Leaders

     Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons, Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin and Shelby County Sheriff Mark Luttrell will be the featured speakers Monday at a crime forum at the Jewish Community Center, 6560 Poplar Ave.
     The forum on anti-crime bills pending in the Tennessee Legislature is sponsored by the Memphis chapter of Hadassah, a Jewish women's group.
     Gibbons, Godwin and Luttrell will speak specifically about legislative proposals that would stiffen penalties for crimes committed by groups of three or more, eliminate the possibility of parole for a first conviction for aggravated robbery, enhance the sentences for crimes involving guns and fund the hiring of 64 prosecutors across the state.
     The program starts at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
     

City Schools Hosting Career Week

     For the first time, Memphis City Schools has begun a week-long series of district-wide activities dubbed "Smart Career Week" that coincides with a national focus this month on career planning. The event runs through Friday.
     Each day this week has its own specialized focus; activities that will highlight the week include a career-oriented fashion show, parent presentations and tours at some of the district's career and technology centers.
     The goal of the observance, on both the local and national levels, is to expose students to things they need to know about their preferred career options and what it will take to be successful in those fields.
     

West Clinic Honored By Hematology & Oncology Mag

     The West Clinic has received Hematology & Oncology News & Issues magazine's HOPE (Hematology & Oncology Practice Excellence) recognition award for "clinical best practices" among practices with 13 or more physicians.
     The clinic was recognized for its "full usage of EMR; robust clinical trials research program; use of extensive clinical guidelines; and extensive use of technology."
     The three-year HOPE initiative has been created to encourage the development of practice standards of excellence in community-based cancer treatment centers. It is anticipated that the three-year initiative will help reshape community-based oncology practices of the future.
     The selection process was the result of an analysis of metrics based on information provided by The West Clinic on entry submission forms accessible via the publication's Web site and from a blind balloting process conducted with the HOPE panelists.
     

Low-Price Focus Helps Boost Wal-Mart Profit

     Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, said Tuesday its renewed focus on low prices paid off with a 4 percent rise in profit for its fourth quarter as holiday shoppers bought discounted groceries and home electronics as well as health and wellness products.
     International growth also helped boost profit and sales. Stores in 13 countries outside the U.S. accounted for about 25 percent of total company sales in the quarter, up from 23 percent a year earlier.
     Wal-Mart said net income in the quarter ended Jan. 31 rose to $4.096 billion, or $1.02 per share, compared to $3.94 billion, or 95 cents a share, a year earlier.
     Net sales grew 8.3 percent to $106.27 billion, helped by 18.8 percent international growth and 5 percent growth at U.S. Wal-Mart stores. Overall revenue including membership fees rose to $107.43 billion from $99.078 billion a year earlier.
     Chief Executive Lee Scott said Wal-Mart's decision last year to refocus on low prices after a brief foray into fashion and trendier merchandise had paid off in a time of mounting economic uncertainty.
     Scott said Wal-Mart benefited from a strong holiday business after moving early last fall to discount groceries, toys and home electronics, including name-brand flat-screen televisions and computers. Health and wellness items also sold well, he said.
     

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 35 250 5,016
MORTGAGES 60 382 6,608
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 17 55 1,534
BUILDING PERMITS 179 720 11,979
BANKRUPTCIES 54 257 5,216
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 89 2,025
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 92 443 6,907
MARRIAGE LICENSES 16 81 1,422

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