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VOL. 124 | NO. 3 | Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Daily Digest

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Hanissian LLC Buys C’ville Office Building

Hanissian LLC has bought an office building at 574 Greentree Cove in Collierville for $825,000 from Saleem Enterprises LLC. The sale closed Dec. 22 in a special warranty deed. In conjunction with the sale, Hanissian also filed a $731,000 deed of trust and security agreement, as well as an absolute assignment of leases and rents, with SunTrust Bank.

The 10,748-square-foot office facility was completed in 1999. It sits on 0.63 acres just south of West Poplar Avenue off Abbington Road. The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2008 appraisal was $709,700.

Ara Hanissian signed the trust deed as managing member of Hanissian LLC and Gina Hanissian signed as member.

Saleem Enterprises bought the building for $700,000 in June 2007 from the Bank of Bartlett.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Council to Consider Mortgage Lender Lawsuit

The Memphis City Council today in its executive session will discuss a resolution approving the city of Memphis’ involvement in a joint city-county lawsuit against mortgage lending companies that are determined to have engaged in predatory lending locally.

The lawsuit, which already has been approved by the Shelby County Board of Commissioners, would focus on companies that engaged in the practice of reverse redlining, which involves targeting minority communities with high-cost loan products.

The council’s executive session will begin at 2 p.m., and the full council meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. at City Hall, 125 N. Main St.

Luminetx VeinViewer Sales Increase 77 Percent in ’08

Memphis-based Luminetx Corp. reported Monday that sales of its VeinViewer product increased 77 percent in 2008 from 2007.

The company reported the product now has “fast-growing international presence” and has sales on every major continent. In the United States, the company said it had signed five top national group purchasing contracts that would give it access to more than 85 percent of the acute health care hospital base.

Internationally, seven distributorships covering 30-plus countries are now in place, the company reported, and another 11 distributorships are pending finalization of agreements.

The VeinViewer is a vascular imaging system that allows physicians, nurses and other health care professionals to clearly see the arrangement of blood vessels.

US Construction Spending Falls Less Than Expected

U.S. construction spending fell less than expected in November as record activity on nonresidential projects helped offset another steep decline in housing. The outlook, however, is for significant weakness as the worst recession in at least a quarter-century takes its toll on construction.

The Commerce Department reported Monday that construction spending dropped by 0.6 percent in November, less than half of the 1.3 percent decline economists expected. A 4.2 percent fall in housing construction was partially offset by a surprisingly strong 0.7 percent rise in nonresidential activity.

But economists expect housing, which has been in a slump for two years, will continue to struggle in the months ahead. They also are concerned that nonresidential projects will falter as developers deal with a severe financial crisis making it hard to get financing amid a yearlong recession that has curbed the appetite for new shopping centers and office buildings.

The 0.6 percent decline in total construction followed a 0.4 percent drop in October. The October performance was revised upward from an original estimate that construction had dropped 1.2 percent that month.

The back-to-back declines left construction at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.078 trillion, down 3.3 percent from a year ago.

The prolonged weakness in housing, where the current economic troubles began, is showing no signs of bottoming out. Sales of new and existing homes, along with home prices, are continuing to plunge, while rising foreclosures are dumping more unsold homes on the already glutted market.

For November, the 4.2 percent drop in home construction left residential activity at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $328.3 billion, down 23.4 percent from a year ago.

The 0.7 percent rise in nonresidential building left the sector at an all-time high of $428.2 billion at an annual rate, following a 0.4 percent drop in October.

Nearly 40 percent of real estate investors need to refinance part of their portfolios this year, according to more than 1,100 investors surveyed in October by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services and National Real Estate Investor magazine. The investors also expect prices to decline 15 percent on average this year.

Tyson Foods CEO Resigns Immediately

Tyson Foods Inc. reported Monday that its president and chief executive, Dick Bond, was stepping down immediately in a move he said was best for himself and the company.

Bond will be replaced on an interim basis by former chairman and CEO Leland Tollett, the company reported.

Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson, the world’s largest meat processing company, said Bond announced his decision Monday.

Bond said in a statement the decision “is in both my best interest personally, and the best interest of the company.”

Tyson and other meat producers have been squeezed by volatile commodity prices, weak demand and an oversupply of meat on the market. Last month, Tyson signed an agreement with its creditors that puts up just about the entire company as collateral for its loans.

Bond, 61, had been CEO since May 2006.

Last week the company filed its 2008 proxy with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, and Bond received compensation valued by the company at about $4.9 million in fiscal 2008, according to an analysis of the proxy. In 2007 his compensation was valued at $12.9 million. His 2008 compensation tumbled because the value of stock and stock options he was awarded plunged.

The company’s stock finished the year down 42 percent and saw its profits dragged down by weakness in the chicken business.

For the fiscal year, which ended Sept. 27, Tyson earned $86 million, or 24 cents per share, compared to $268 million, or 75 cents per share, the previous year. Sales rose to $26.86 billion from $25.73 billion.

Tyson’s chicken unit lost $118 million for the year. Its beef unit earned $106 million, while the pork unit made $45 million in the year.

Retail Analyst Sees Weak Holiday Sales

A late surge in retail sales during the last weekend in December likely will not be enough to rescue a poor holiday season, an analyst said Monday.

Jeffrey Klinefelter of PiperJaffray said estimates from ShopperTrak indicate sales were up 30 percent from a year earlier for the weekend following Christmas. However, he estimated same-store sales for November through December to be down by a percentage in the low single digits, hurt by low consumer confidence and tightened spending.

Same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least a year, is a key indicator of retailer performance since it measures growth at existing stores rather than newly opened ones.

Retailers have been squeezed as consumers pull back on their discretionary spending because of the ongoing housing downturn, diminishing credit, escalating food costs and unemployment worries. Even the holidays were not enough to prompt shoppers to spend, with many waiting until late in December to make their purchases, hoping to take advantage of deeper discounts.

In a note to clients, Klinefelter said promotions retailers normally hold back on until January were being used before and right after Christmas to entice shoppers.

The analyst said he prefers companies such as Kohl’s Corp. and Ross Stores Inc., partly because of their ability to manage inventory well.

Elsewhere, JPMorgan analyst Brian Tunick favors specialty retailers such as Buckle Inc. and Hot Topic Inc.

Tunick forecast Buckle’s December same-store sales would grow 13 percent to 15 percent.

For Hot Topic, the analyst anticipates at least a 5 percent to 7 percent rise in December same-store sales.

Among broadline retailers, fellow JPMorgan analyst Charles Grom said Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was one of the few winners, partly because of its pricing and marketing.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047