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VOL. 128 | NO. 215 | Monday, November 04, 2013

Daily Digest

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Developer Buys Land For Somerset Subdivision

An entity related to Germantown-based developer McNeill Investment Co. has paid $1.5 million for 26.3 acres near the intersection of Germantown and Neshoba roads.

Somerset-Exeter, a general partnership whose managing general partner M. Spence Ray is executive vice president of McNeill Investment, bought the land in two parcels in an Oct. 28 warranty deed from Owen Investments LP of Eads.

The first and largest parcel is 26.21 acres on the east side of Germantown north of Neshoba, and encompassing part of Exeter Road. Its 2013 appraisal is $4.4 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

The second, 0.052-acre parcel is adjacent to the larger one and has a 2013 appraised value of $11,100.

In conjunction with the purchase, Somerset-Exeter filed a $2.8 million development loan deed of trust through Kent Wunderlich. Ray signed the trust deed.

The land is slated for the Somerset Subdivision, according to a city of Germantown planning commission subcommittee agenda from August.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Diamond Cos. Merging With Roberts Truck Center

The Diamond Cos., already one of Memphis’ biggest privately owned companies, is about to get bigger.

Diamond, a holding company for International Truck and IC Bus dealerships in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee, will merge Jan. 1 with Roberts Truck Center LLC, a holding company for truck and bus dealerships in Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The new company will have revenues approaching $1 billion, which officials said would provide “a greater potential for improved financial strength” through economies of scale.

Once the merger of the two family-owned firms is complete, the company will employ 1,300 people at 29 locations in 26 markets. The new enterprise, which will be named and branded before the Jan. 1 effective date, will be a privately held company. Key principals from each firm will remain in their leadership positions, and corporate functions of the new entity will be directed from several locations.

Principals of the new firm are Richard Sweebe, president and CEO of the Diamond Cos.; Blaine Roberts, president of Roberts Truck Center; and Blair Roberts, vice president of Roberts Truck Center.

– Amos Maki

Sheriff Oldham Begins Re-Election Campaign

Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham was scheduled to kick off his re-election campaign Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Balinese Ballroom in the Pinch District.

He will first appear on local ballots in the Shelby County Republican primaries in May.

Oldham, a former Memphis Police Department director, was first elected sheriff in 2010, running as the Republican nominee. Before running, he had been chief deputy to then-Sheriff Mark Luttrell. Oldham faced Democratic nominee Randy Wade in the 2010 county general elections in which Republican nominees won every countywide office.

– Bill Dries

Manufacturing Expands At Best Pace in 2.5 Years

U.S. factory activity expanded in October at the fastest pace in 2.5 years, suggesting that the 16-day partial shutdown of the government had little effect on manufacturers.

Instead, overseas demand and healthy U.S. auto sales appear to be supporting factory output. The housing recovery is also lifting the furniture and wood products industry despite a recent slowing in home sales.

“We’ve become accustomed to the way Washington operates in the past couple of years and assume that it will get resolved eventually, however painfully,” said Bradley Holcomb, head of the survey committee of the Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers that on Friday reported a solid manufacturing figure for October.

The ISM’s manufacturing index rose to 56.4 from 56.2 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth.

Factories also expanded in Europe this month, though at a slightly slower pace, according to surveys in that region. Manufacturing indexes have all picked up in China, Japan, and South Korea.

The overseas strength is boosting demand for U.S. factories. A measure of export orders jumped to its highest level in nearly a year and a half in October, the ISM report said.

“The outlook for manufacturing looks far more constructive now than it did over the past several months, in light of the improving global backdrop,” said Michael Dolega, an economist at TD Economics.

U.S. factory activity has now risen at an increasingly fast pace for five straight months, according to the ISM’s index.

– The Associated Press

Wal-Mart Kicks Off Holiday Shopping Online

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is upping the ante on holiday shopping.

The world’s largest retailer is pulling forward by nearly a month seven big deals on items such as TVs and tablets that were originally reserved for the day after Thanksgiving and so-called Cyber Monday.

Shoppers were able to purchase the items online starting shortly after midnight Friday. At the same time, Walmart.com began pushing another 300 holiday deals on its website, from toys to home decor.

The seven deals include a 42- inch JVC LED TV for $299, a savings of 36 percent, and a 10-inch XELIO tablet for $49, a 51 percent discount. Last year, Wal-Mart offered about 100 holiday deals online right after Halloween, but the offerings were focused on home decor.

The move comes as Wal-Mart, like others, have seen customers scale back purchases heading into the holiday shopping season, which accounts for anywhere from 20 percent to 40 percent of retailers’ annual revenue. While the job and housing markets are recovering, the improvements haven’t been enough to sustain increased spending among shoppers.

– The Associated Press

Automakers Post Big October Gains

Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan and Toyota all posted October sales increases as the U.S. auto industry rebounded from a lackluster September.

The gains signal that automakers made it through the 16-day partial government shutdown relatively unscathed. All automakers reported October sales on Friday.

Ford Motor Co.’s U.S. sales jumped 14 percent last month on strong demand for the F-Series pickup and the Fusion sedan. F-Series sales were up 13 percent to 63,803, its sixth-straight month of sales above 60,000. Sales of the Fusion midsize car jumped 71 percent over last October, when the old model was being phased out.

At General Motors Co., sales rose 16 percent as its full-size pickup trucks rebounded from a poor showing in September. The Chevy Silverado, GM’s top-selling vehicle, posted a 10 percent increase to nearly 43,000, while the GMC Sierra pickup saw sales rise 13 percent to just over 16,500.

Nissan Motor Co. sales rose 14.2 percent to more than 91,000, an October record for the company. Nissan Division sales were up just over 15 percent, while the company’s Infiniti luxury brand posted a 4.5 percent increase from a year ago. Toyota sales rose nearly 9 percent last month to nearly 167,000 vehicles despite headwinds from the government shutdown, the company said.

Of the automakers reporting so far, only Volkswagen posted a decline at 18 percent. VW is up against strong growth from last year, but many of its models have faltered in 2013.

– The Associated Press

Office Depot, OfficeMax Get FTC Clearance for Deal

The proposed merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax has received clearance from the Federal Trade Commission, removing a key regulatory hurdle from the process.

The office supply companies agreed to a $1.2 billion combination in February. The agency said its 7-month investigation showed that the combination isn’t likely to cause competitive harm. The companies said Friday that they expect the transaction to close on Tuesday.

Office Depot Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla., runs more than 1,300 stores worldwide. OfficeMax of Inc. of Naperville, Ill., operates more than 900 stores in the U.S. and Mexico.

They each anticipate reporting their third-quarter earnings on Monday.

– The Associated Press

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RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 73 220 17,575
MORTGAGES 83 246 22,897
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 5 38 4,467
BUILDING PERMITS 206 514 41,739
BANKRUPTCIES 52 176 16,568
BUSINESS LICENSES 20 50 5,751
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 97 196 25,067
MARRIAGE LICENSES 12 66 5,351

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