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VOL. 122 | NO. 50 | Monday, March 19, 2007

Daily Digest

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Nucor Files $47 Million Permit For Steel Mill

     Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker Nucor Corp. is closer to forging its new $230 million steel mill in Memphis' Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park.
     Nucor has filed a $47 million building permit for the plant, according to The Daily News Online. Memphis plant general manager Thad Solomon said the plant is still on schedule to begin churning out products for the automotive, heavy equipment and service center industries in the first quarter of 2008.
     The permit was filed with the city-county Department of Construction Code Enforcement.
     Some preliminary work already has begun within the giant industrial park at the site Nucor bought in 2002 from the bankrupt Birmingham Steel Co.
     "We're excited to be here, and we're ready to get started rolling," Solomon said. "We're just at the point of filing permits so we can begin our construction. The budget hasn't changed, the scope of the project hasn't changed and the products we're going to make haven't changed."
     The Memphis plant will operate as a "Special Bar Quality Products" (SBQ) steel mill, cranking out high-quality carbon, alloy rounds and round-cornered squares, products that also will complement what Nucor is producing in its Nebraska and South Carolina SBQ mills. The Memphis plant, expected to employ more than 220 people, will have a production capacity of 850,000 tons each year.
     "Equipment orders for Memphis have been placed, construction is under way and start-up is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2008," said Michael Parrish, executive vice president of Nucor Corp., in the company's fourth quarter 2006 earnings release conference call.
     In addition to boosting the manufacturing sector in Memphis, Nucor's local presence means the city will be home to what is generally regarded as one of the most well-run, egalitarian companies in the United States. As a symbol of its nontraditional culture, for example, thousands of employee names cover the first few pages of the company's 2006 annual report.
     Depending on the company's performance during a particular year, Nucor also has been known to lavish each employee with bonuses that have been as high as $2,000.
     Nucor operates facilities in 19 states and employs about 11,900 workers. The company's performance also continues to break in-house records, an example of which is Nucor's 2006 earnings numbers.
     "Our new record profitability, set in 2006, net income of $1.8 billion ... was more than 5.5 times greater than the 2000 level," said Daniel DiMicco, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Nucor, in the conference call held in January.

Three DSI Dialysis Clinics Part of Sale-Leaseback Deals

     Northbrook, Ill.-based Diversified Specialty Institutes Inc. (DSI), which owns seven Memphis dialysis centers, has sold three of its properties as part of a sale-leaseback with Nashville-based Hilco Trading Co. Inc.
     DSI Renal Inc. sold the buildings at 3420 Elvis Presley Blvd., 4180 Auburn Road and 1166 Monroe Ave. to Hilco DSI LLC for a combined $8.2 million. The 9,500-square-foot Elvis Presley location was built in 1993, the 5,560-square-foot Auburn property was built in 2002 and the 8,440-square-foot Monroe property was built in 2001.
     A sale-leaseback is a real estate transaction in which a company sells its property then leases it back from the new owner, effectively making the company a tenant instead of a property owner.
     M. Stephen Harrison, executive vice president and chief development officer of Diversified Specialty Institutes, said DSI will continue to operate the clinics as is.
     Lease documents show Hilco will lease the property to DSI through February 2027, with the option to renew up to three terms of five years each.
     DSI was formed in 2003 to buy, develop and/or operate hospitals for treatment in certain areas of medicine and surgery, according to the company's Web site. In 2005, DSI expanded to offer imaging centers and dialysis clinics. Harrison said DSI operates about 110 dialysis clinics across the United States.
     Besides the three properties that were part of the recent sales-leaseback, other DSI clinics are at 1330 Union Avenue, suite 101; 4913 Raleigh Common Drive, suite 100; 3960 Knight Arnold Road, suite 107; and 8592 Ricky Bell Cove, according to the site.
     Hilco Trading Co. Inc. offers business services such as asset valuation, dispositions and acquisitions, and financing. No one from Hilco was available for comment by press time.

Collierville Chamber Hosts Annual Membership Dinner

     The Collierville Chamber of Commerce will host its annual membership dinner March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at Woodland Hills Country Club, 10000 Woodland Hills Drive in Cordova.
     Chamber chairman Ty Stamps will present the directors and officers for 2007 and will recap last year's achievements.
     "2006 proved to be a defining year for the chamber," Stamps said. "Through Collierville Tomorrow, three goals were established for the chamber: to construct a headquarters for its members, lead a tourism initiative and promote economic development. Thus far, we have accomplished the first goal, and are well on our way with tourism through the addition of our Culture, Recreation and Tourism Development director."
     Special guest speaker at the dinner is Tom Schmitt, president and CEO, FedEx Global Supply Chain Services and senior vice president, FedEx Solutions. Schmitt co-authored with Arnold Perl "Simple Solutions: Harness the Power of Passion and Simplicity to Get Results."
     Schmitt serves on the board of The Center of Excellence in Logistics & Technology (LOGTECH), an advisory organization to the U.S. Department of Defense, and as an advisory panel member of the Corporate Executive Board. He also serves as a director on the executive board of the Memphis Regional Chamber of Commerce and on the board of directors and the executive committee for Ballet Memphis.
     The meeting is open up to the public. For more information and to make a reservation, call 853-1949 or e-mail info@colliervillechamber.com.

Home Sales Level Down for February

     Home sales for February 2007 were down 10 percent from the same month in 2006, falling from 1,336 to 1,202, according to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors (MAAR).
     The average sales price for homes sold in February was $168,900, up nearly 3 percent from $164,300 in February 2006. Monthly sales for February totaled $203 million, down almost 8 percent from $219.5 million in February 2006, according to MLS data.
     "Sales price appreciation in February continued at the steady pace we've historically seen, demonstrating again the relative strength of the Memphis market as compared to other markets that have been experiencing decreases in valuation," said Neil Hubbard, MAAR president, in a statement.

Norfolk Southern Annual Report Highlights Record Year

     Norfolk Southern Corp. highlighted record-setting achievements in safety, revenue, volume, income and earnings per share in its 2006 Annual Report.
     "As the 2006 results indicate, the market for rail freight transportation in the United States remains strong, and we believe that there are significant opportunities for further growth ahead," wrote Wick Moorman, chief executive officer, in his letter to stockholders. "This annual report tells the story of how we were able to achieve our 2006 results, and how we're planning for the future. The central theme is 'Thoroughbred Success Through Service,' because quality service has been and will be the key to our long-term success."
     Moorman identified "three critical partners essential to the services we provide: our people, our customers and the communities we serve."
     Norfolk Southern's annual report and Form 10-K are posted on its Web site at www.nscorp.com.
     Norfolk Southern operates a rail yard in Memphis.

St. Jude Receives Generous Private Donation

     St. Jude Children's Research Hospital received a $1 million donation Thursday from a Louisiana woman who has never been to Memphis.
     Eva Rowe, 22, gave the money in memory of her parents, who died in a 2005 fire at a BP Chemical Refining plant in Texas City, Texas. Rowe refused to settle her lawsuit until BP agreed to donate $32 million to charities of her choice.
     James Rowe was a construction supervisor and Linda Rowe was a tool room attendant. Both were working as subcontractors for J.E. Merit Constructors Inc. at the BP plant when they, along with 13 other workers, died in an explosion on March 23, 2005.
     Dave McKee, chief operating officer of ALSAC, the hospital's fundraising organization, said the hospital is grateful for the gift.
     "We are pleased to be one of the recipients of this generous donor's intent," he said. "It is one of our larger donations, and we are grateful for it and for all donations, no matter the size, that help us in our life-saving mission."
     The average donation to the hospital is $25, and most of the money St. Jude receives is from small donations.
     Rowe, a Hornbeck, La., native, also arranged for two $12.5 million donations, one to the burn unit at the University of Texas medical branch at Galveston and the other to the Texas A&M University Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center, which works to prevent workplace injuries in the petrochemical industry.
     The College of the Mainland in Texas City will receive $5 million for safety and process technology training for refinery and chemical plant workers. Hornbeck High School, where Linda Rowe worked as a special education teacher's aide, also will receive $1 million.
     The United Support and Memorial for Workplace Fatalities nominated Eva Rowe for its Humanitarian Award for her generosity and efforts to improve workplace safety standards.
PROPERTY SALES 51 328 20,960
MORTGAGES 58 387 24,132
BUILDING PERMITS 170 842 43,435
BANKRUPTCIES 50 288 13,468