Smucker Files $16 Million Permit for Plant Expansion

The J.M. Smucker Co. has filed a $16 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement as part of its planned plant expansion at 4789 Cromwell Ave. in Oakhaven.

No contractor or architect was listed on the permit, which is the first in Smucker’s plan to invest $41 million to upgrade its peanut butter production lines.

The Economic Development Growth Engine of Memphis and Shelby County in mid-January unanimously granted the Orrville, Ohio-based company an amended payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement for 15 years on personal property and 13 years on real property.

In addition to 42 new positions, which will have an average wage of $52,545, created through the expansion, Smucker will maintain its existing 61 employees.

The approved tax freeze will save Smucker $13 million, but the company will still pay an estimated $16.2 million in taxes to the city and county over the length of the PILOT. The company said 25 percent of the company’s planned $21.5 million in discretionary spending will be with women- and minority-owned businesses.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Wright Medical Buys Solana, Plans to Acquire OrthoPro

Arlington-based Wright Medical Group Inc. has closed on its agreement to acquire Solana Surgical LLC of Memphis and has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire OrthoPro LLC of Salt Lake City, the company announced Thursday, Jan. 30.

Under the terms of the Solana acquisition, Wright acquires all of Solana’s outstanding equity for about $90 million, consisting of $47.6 million in cash and $42.4 in Wright common stock.

The same basic arrangement applies to OrthoPro for $36 million in cash, with $32.5 million paid at closing and up to $3.5 million more in cash contingent on revenue milestones included in the agreement.

The OrthoPro agreement is expected to close in a year, according to a statement from Wright.

Both companies add to Wright’s foot and ankle portfolio, increasing the company’s focus on the surgical podiatric market.

Wright Medical executives are expected to provide more details about the acquisitions, as well as what the coming integration will mean for Wright’s relocation from Arlington to Memphis, during the company’s Feb. 24 earnings conference call.

– Bill Dries

Civil Rights Museum Closes Balcony

Many visitors to the National Civil Rights Museum consider it hallowed ground.

And while the museum has been undergoing a $27 million renovation, visitors have been allowed access to the second-story balcony where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and fatally wounded April 4, 1968.

The access ended Sunday, Feb. 2, as the first major renovation in the museum’s 22-year history moves into its final stages.

Visitors during the renovation have also been able to see exhibits on the assassination itself in the museum annex on the other side of Mulberry Street.

The fully renovated museum debuts April 5 as the nation marks the 46th anniversary of King’s assassination.

Once that opens, access to the balcony will again be limited, and visitors will view it from the window of the exhibit that looks into the Lorraine Motel room in which King stayed in 1968.

– Bill Dries

High School Hoops Tourney Coming to FedExForum

Some of the best high school basketball teams from Shelby County will compete at FedExForum for bragging rights in the SCIAA Fever Basketball Tournament Sunday, Feb. 9.

Formerly known as the MIAA City Championships, 2014 will mark the inaugural SCIAA Fever tournament, a winner-take-all style tournament dating back to the 1960s.

Past stars of the MIAA City Championships include Memphis’ own Larry Finch, Larry Spicer, John Gunn, James Bradley, Andre Turner, Todd Day, Cedric Henderson, Penny Hardaway and Elliot Perry.

The tournament will consist of three girls games and three boys games. Tipoff will begin at 12:15 p.m. with a 16A girls game and conclude that evening with the 16AAA boys game featuring White Station High School, Tennessee’s top-ranked team and the No. 4 team in the nation.

During the marquee match with White Station High School, the SCIAA will present the Court of Legends, a special presentation honoring NBA athletes from Shelby County, including Todd Daye, Elliot Perry, Penny Hardaway and Keith Lee. Tickets, which start at $12 and are valid for all six games, are available through Ticketmaster and the FedExForum box office.

– Don Wade

Caywood Law Renews Clark Tower Lease

The Law Offices of David Caywood has renewed its 2,261-square-foot lease in Clark Tower for two more years.

Dede Malmo of MalmoMemphis Real Estate handled negotiations for Caywood.

Brand Cook of Commercial Advisors represented the building owner In-Rel Properties.

A release about the renewal included a quote from Caywood about the transaction: “I run into people all the time who think I’ve either retired or died, so I thought I’d better renew the lease to assure everyone I’m still practicing law.”

– Andy Meek

Miss. Senate OKs Adding ‘In God We Trust’ to Seal

The Mississippi Senate voted Friday to add “In God We Trust” to the state seal, as requested by Republican Gov. Phil Bryant.

Currently, it has an eagle and the words, “The Great Seal of the State of Mississippi” without a slogan.

Senate Bill 2681 passed the Senate 48-0, with four senators absent. It moves to the House for more work.

The bill is called the “Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” and it says government may not burden a person’s right to practice religion.

Its chief sponsor is Republican Sen. Phillip Gandy, who is minister of Liberty Baptist Church in Waynesboro. Gandy said he has heard no examples of Mississippi government trying to limit religion, but he has talked to some conservative Christians – particularly Pentecostals and Baptists – who are concerned.

“Times are changing, and Christians are afraid of a lot of different things. And some of that is reality, possibly, and some is perception. But we want to do what we can,” Gandy told The Associated Press after the bill passed.

Some senators, including Democrat David Jordan of Greenwood, pointed out that the U.S. Constitution already guarantees freedom of religion.

– The Associated Press

Wal-Mart Lowers Quarterly, Yearly Profit Expectations

Wal-Mart said Friday its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year adjusted earnings from continuing operations may come in at or slightly below the low end of its prior forecasts.

The latest comments reflects accounting for some Brazil-related charges and other items. Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley said that these additional items were not anticipated when Wal-Mart previously provided its forecasts.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. also revised its fourth-quarter guidance for a key sales metric. It now expects sales – excluding fuel – at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations in the U.S. open at least a year to be slightly below its prior forecasts. The chain previously expected the key sales figure would be relatively flat at its namesake locations in the U.S. and that it would be between flat and 2 percent at Sam’s Club.

Sales at stores open at least a year is a closely watched indicator of a retailer’s health. It excludes results from stores recently opened or closed that can distort year-to-year comparisons.

Holley said that the sales were hurt by eight winter storms that resulted in some store closings. He added that Sam’s Club was hurt by weather throughout the quarter. The performance was also hindered by a bigger-than-expected impact from the federal government’s reduction in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits that went into effect on Nov. 1.

Less than a week ago Wal-Mart announced that it was eliminating 2,300 workers at its Sam’s Club division.

– The Associated Press