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VOL. 124 | NO. 222 | Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Daily Digest

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Conwood Closes On Facility for $19.3 Million

Conwood Co. LLC on Nov. 5 formally acquired the 787,500-square-foot facility at 5106 Tradeport Drive in Hickory Hill South for $19.3 million. Conwood earlier this year announced plans to buy the building, where it will expand its manufacturing operation of the smokeless tobacco products Kodiak and Grizzly.

The company currently operates its manufacturing facility at 46 Keel St. in North Memphis, plus a corporate office on Ridge Lake Boulevard and a warehouse on Warford Street.

Conwood, which will consolidate its operations at the new location, has been on Keel Street since 1912, when it was known as the American Snuff Co. Conwood today is a division of Winston Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc.

“Conwood has a long and rich history in the Memphis area that dates back nearly 100 years, and the company is committed to supporting the area and its economic growth,” Mick Spach, vice president of operations for Conwood, said in a statement. “This is an important step toward expanding our capacity, securing Conwood’s continued presence in the Memphis community and continuing to serve our employees and customers.”

A call to the company for further comment was not immediately returned.

Conwood officials said the company would invest $133 million in its Memphis operation. The move to the new facility is expected to add 25 employees to Conwood’s current work force of 294.

Built in 2001, the Class A building Conwood bought sits on 35.66 acres near the intersection of Hickory Hill and East Holmes roads. Known as Chickasaw Distribution Center Building F, its 2009 appraised value is $26.7 million, according to the Shelby County Assessor of Property.

Construction on the Tradeport Drive building should begin in 2010, with completion targeted for 2012. The Memphis and Shelby County Industrial Development Board already had approved a nine-year tax abatement for Conwood to expand and renovate the Tradeport building, saving the company $6.7 million.

The seller was Chickasaw and Goodman Realty Holding Co., an affiliate of JP Morgan. Hewlett-Packard Co. occupied the building before departing in 2008.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Eric Smith

NFIB Endorses White For District 83 Seat

The National Federation of Independent Business, a small business advocacy organization, is endorsing Memphis businessman Mark White in the special election for House District 83.

White, who recently sold the Grand Events & Party Rentals business he founded, is running for the House seat vacated by Memphis attorney Brian Kelsey, who in turn is running for the state Senate seat vacated a few months ago by Germantown investment banker Paul Stanley.

The primary for House Dist. 83, which includes parts of East Memphis and Germantown, will be held Dec. 1, with the general election to follow on Jan. 12.

Andy Meek

Former Tupelo Attorney Sentenced for Tax, Mail Fraud

Former Tupelo, Miss. attorney William Catledge has been sentenced to 35 months for tax and mail fraud.

He is to report to prison by Jan. 4.

Catledge was sentenced Monday by U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers Jr. in Oxford, according to The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo.

Catledge pleaded guilty in June to three counts of lying about his income to the Internal Revenue Service and to endorsing, depositing and using a claim advance mailed for an individual client.

Biggers also ordered Catledge to pay restitution of $731,732, which will go to the IRS for back taxes, $93,039 to Chubb Insurance Co. of Dallas and $89,000 for M&F Bank of Tupelo.

– The Associated Press

FedEx Projects More Packages To be Shipped on Busiest Day

FedEx Corp. is predicting a little more holiday cheer this year.

The Memphis-based company forecasts it will ship 13 million packages on Dec. 14, which it expects to be its busiest day this year.

It shipped about 12 million packages on its peak day last year. FedEx bases its predictions on discussions with large customers and improving economic data.

FedEx ships an average of about 7.5 million packages a day.

FedEx and shipping rival UPS generally release their holiday peak predictions in November. But neither company offered predictions last year, citing economic uncertainty.

UPS is expected to release a prediction later this month.

– The Associated Press

Hope Christian Community Aims to Break Grant Record

Hope Christian Community Foundation is showing signs of surpassing its 2008 grant-making record.

So far this year, grants allocated by the nonprofit are 20 percent higher than the record pace set last year, when the Memphis-based foundation distributed $32 million.

The organization is the largest Christian community foundation in the U.S. and one of the fastest-growing funding sources for Christian ministries. Since its inception in 1998, Hope has directed more than $120 million to churches, ministries and charities.

Hope Christian Community Foundation will celebrate this generosity Nov. 18 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at its annual luncheon. The event will be at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis. The Rev. R. Craig Strickland, pastor of Hope Presbyterian Church, will be the keynote speaker.

Tickets are $25 per person or $250 for tables of 10. For more details, call 682-6201.

Tom Wilemon

Adams and Reese Ranked Among Nation’s Largest Firms

Adams and Reese LLP has been ranked among the nation’s 250 largest firms, according to The National Law Journal’s 32nd annual NLJ 250.

Adams and Reese increased its attorney count to 257 attorneys, jumping nine spots in the rank to No. 161 on the 2009 list. Last year, the firm ranked No. 170 with 253 attorneys.

This is the seventh consecutive year Adams and Reese has been included since the law firm’s debut on the list in 2003.

The 2009 NLJ 250 is based on attorney census information covering the period between Oct. 1, 2008, and Sept. 30, which was provided by the nation’s 300 largest firms.

–Taylor Shoptaw

PROPERTY SALES 51 334 9,936
MORTGAGES 41 330 10,946
BUILDING PERMITS 348 1,216 22,173
BANKRUPTCIES 43 348 6,311