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VOL. 122 | NO. 202 | Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Daily Digest

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Butterfield Village Apts. Sells for $14.9M

     Butterfield Village Apartments at 1300 Lynnfield Road has sold to a North Carolina real estate investment and management company for $14.9 million.
     Steven D. Bell & Co., working under the name Butterfield
     Village Apartments LLC, bought the property from Butterfield Apartments Inc., financing it with a $12.5 million loan through Laureate Capital LLC.
     Built in 1973, Butterfield Village sits on about 14 acres near St. Francis Hospital-Memphis in the Interstate 240/Park Avenue area. The Shelby County Assessor's office lists the property as having 271 units, but an on-site Butterfield representative who declined to be named said the complex has 236 units. Those units include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, along with some townhouses, in two-story buildings. The complex also has a swimming pool and tennis court.
     The seller, Butterfield Apartments Inc., received the property in 1991 via quitclaim deed from trustees for SRE Real Estate Fund.
     The assessor's 2007 appraisal was $9.4 million.
     In conjunction with the financing, Laureate Capital LLC assigned the loan to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac), according to documents filed with the Shelby County Register's Office.
     Representatives of Steven D. Bell & Co. did not return calls by press time. The company also owns the Trails at Mt. Moriah apartment complex, according to its Web site.
     CB Richard Ellis Memphis' Web site previously included Butterfield Village among its listings of properties for sale, but more information from CBRE was not available.

Buckeye Q1 Profit More Than Triples

     Buckeye Technologies Inc.'s profit more than tripled in its first fiscal quarter on a tax benefit, higher product prices and lower costs, the Memphis-based specialty fibers maker said Tuesday.
     Net income rose to $13.5 million, or 34 cents per share, from $3.8 million, or 10 cents per share a year earlier. Revenue gained 3 percent to $197.4 million from $191.4 million.
     Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 28 cents per share on revenue of $197.6 million.
     "The earnings improvement is a combination of higher prices, better mix and cost control," Chief Executive John Crowe said in a statement.
     He added that sales of nonwoven goods were "especially strong," rising 10 percent, as demand remained strong for specialty wood, cotton products and fluff pulp.
     Results also included a $2.2 million, or 6 cents per share, one-time tax benefit due to a reduction in Germany's corporate tax rate.

Thomas & Betts Q3 Earnings Increase by 17 Percent

     Memphis-based Thomas & Betts Corp. saw a 17 percent increase in third quarter 2007 earnings. The company reported Q3 earnings of $51.3 million, compared to $44.5 million reported in Q3 '06.
     Earnings from operations were $82 million in the quarter, or 14.8 percent of sales, compared to 14 percent of sales last year.
     Q3 net sales were $552.7 million, up 16.8 percent from the $473.4 million in the prior-year period. Net sales were positively impacted by $33.6 million related to acquisitions completed in July.
     In addition, higher sales volume in the company's core electrical products contributed significantly to the sales growth. Foreign currency benefited sales by about $11.5 million in the quarter, the company reported.
     The company also ended the quarter with $388 million in total debt, essentially the same level as at year-end 2006.

AutoZone CEO Gets $2.8M in 2007

     The chairman, president and chief executive of auto parts retailer AutoZone Inc. received compensation valued by the company at about $2.8 million in fiscal 2007, according to a proxy statement filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
     William C. Rhodes III, 42, received a base salary of $618,385 but no bonus, in the fiscal year ended Aug. 25. He also was awarded non-equity incentive plan compensation totaling $664,764, and $121,547 in other compensation including perks and personal benefits, savings plan contributions and life insurance premiums.
     The CEO also was awarded stock and stock options that had an estimated value of about $1.4 million when granted.
     Associated Press calculations of total pay include executives' salary, bonus, incentives, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation, and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year. The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits and may differ from totals supplied by companies.
     Rhodes was elected chairman of the Memphis-based company in June, after serving as the company's president, chief executive and a director since 2005.
     For the fiscal year 2007, AutoZone earned $595.7 million, or $8.53 per share, up 5 percent from $569.3 million, or $7.50 per share, in fiscal 2006. Revenue rose 4 percent to $6.17 billion from $5.95 billion the year before.

Mueller Industries Reports $20M Drop in Net Income

     Mueller Industries, a Memphis-based manufacturer of copper, brass, aluminum and plastic products, has released its quarterly report, which shows a drop of about $20 million in the company's net income.
     Net income for the third quarter was $31.3 million, or 84 cents per diluted share. In Q3 2006, net income was $51.6 million, or $1.38 per diluted share.
     Net sales for the three months ended Sept. 29 were $639.7 million, compared with net sales of $636 million during the same period in 2006.
     The third quarter this year includes a one-time gain of about $8.9 million before taxes, pertaining to a copper antitrust litigation settlement.
     Year-to-date, the company earned $86.6 million, or $2.33 per diluted share, on net sales of $2.08 billion. For the same period in 2006, Mueller's net income from continuing operations was $143.7 million, or $3.86 per diluted share, on net sales of $1.97 billion.

Conaway Brown Closes Down

     Local ad agency Conaway Brown Inc. has decided to close its doors. The agency, which has an office at 88 Union Ave., will close Oct. 31 when its lease expires, according to a Tuesday article in The Commercial Appeal.
     The reason cited was the changing marketplace and downturns in the economy.
     Some of the advertising agency's clients have included the Memphis Grizzlies, Morgan Keegan & Co., the Memphis Zoo and the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, according to the agency's Web site.
     The agency also represented Herman Morris Jr. during his recent unsuccessful Memphis mayoral campaign.

Baptist Health Care Donates $2M to U of M

     Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. has made a $2 million gift to the University of Memphis, which will be distributed to expand and enhance the university's nursing and audiology speech language program.
     Baptist's gift comes in the midst of a national need for nurses and other health care workers, some of which can be attributed to a growing need for health care faculty and fewer students entering the health care field.
     The contribution will help the university double its capacity of nursing students, said school president Dr. Shirley Raines in a statement.
PROPERTY SALES 128 234 13,285
MORTGAGES 80 152 8,323