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VOL. 125 | NO. 84 | Friday, April 30, 2010

Daily Digest

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American Snuff Files $3.2 Million Permit

American Snuff Co. LLC – formerly known as Conwood Co. LLC – has filed a $3.2 million permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to perform interior alterations in the company’s newly acquired building at 5106 Tradeport Ave. in Hickory Hill.

The company, which changed its name Jan. 1, bought the 787,500-square-foot facility last fall for $19.3 million. American Snuff is expanding its manufacturing operation of the smokeless tobacco products Kodiak and Grizzly at the property.

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

American Snuff, which will consolidate its operations at the new location, has been on Keel Street since 1912. The company is a division of Winston Salem, N.C.-based Reynolds American Inc.

A call to the company for further comment on the expansion plans was not immediately returned, but American Snuff announced intent to expand last year.

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

The city-county Industrial Development Board already had approved a nine-year tax abatement for American Snuff to expand and renovate the Tradeport building, saving the company $6.7 million.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Eric Smith

International Paper Suffers Q1 Loss on Charges

International Paper Co. reported Thursday it fell to a loss in the first quarter from a year-ago profit as it booked hefty charges to close one of its mills and saw a significant run-up in fiber costs.

The Memphis-based company said the cost issue peaked in March and then moderated, so it expects better results in the current quarter. International Paper also said it exited the first quarter seeing improving demand.

For the three months ended March 31, International Paper lost $162 million, or 38 cents per share, compared with a profit of $257 million, or 61 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding a $124 million charge to close its Franklin mill, and other restructuring costs, earnings would have totaled 4 cents per share in the latest period compared with 8 cents the year before.

The company said strong results in its European businesses helped offset higher input costs in North America. But International Paper’s year-over-year earnings comparisons also were impacted by higher tax payments linked to health reform and the absence of the hundreds of millions in alternative fuel tax credits that had boosted year-ago results.

Revenue in the quarter rose to $5.81 billion from $5.67 billion a year earlier, with sales rising across industrial packaging, printing papers and consumer packaging segments.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who generally exclude one-time items from their estimates, were expecting a first-quarter profit of 4 cents per share on slightly higher revenue of $5.88 billion.

– The Associated Press

Wolf River Conservancy Buys 90 Acres Along Ghost

The Wolf River Conservancy has bought 90 acres along the Ghost River section of the Wolf River, the organization announced this week.

Known as the Hall-Franklin tract, the property was the “last parcel remaining in private ownership along the south side of a nine-mile stretch of river between LaGrange and the Bateman Road bridge,” according to a WRC release.

The tract borders the Ghost River State Natural Area and will help connect and expand conservation lands along the Ghost.

“This site will be designated as the Franklin Farm Preserve, in honor of Nancy Boyd Franklin Hall, in recognition of the heritage of the Franklin family who farmed the land for several generations,” the release stated. “The purchase by the conservancy will permanently conserve a portion of the Franklin family land and heritage as desired by the family.”

For more information, visit www.wolfriver.org.

– Eric Smith

Work Begins Installing Court Avenue Bridge

A new 200-foot long elevated pedestrian bridge spanning Court Avenue was delivered Downtown, where workers began installing it Thursday.

The bridge installation is part of the University of Memphis Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law/Confederate Park Public Access project led by the Riverfront Development Corp.

The idea for the bridge was for it to cross Court, intersecting with Riverside Drive.

Ritchie Smith Associations designed the project, with Zellner Construction Services as the contractor.

Andy Meek

Tactical Magic Refreshes School Brand

Memphis brand identity firm Tactical Magic has completed a new brand identity system and positioning strategy for Evangelical Christian School.

The work includes a revamped academic logo, a new monogram and a new Eagle mascot.

The brand position strategy has been summarized in the phrase, “Where mind and spirit grow strong.”

The school is rolling out new signage, billboards, brochures and print advertising with the campaign.

Evangelical Christian School is on 40 acres in Cordova. Ninety-nine percent of its graduates attend four-year colleges and universities.

Tom Wilemon

Senate Passes New Version of Guns in Bars Bill

Permit holders could once again bring their handguns into establishments that serve alcohol under a bill passed by the state Senate on Thursday.

The Senate voted 23-9 to approve the measure sponsored by Democratic Sen. Doug Jackson of Dickson. All votes against the bill came from Democrats.

The bill would maintain an existing prohibition on drinking alcohol while carrying a gun. Violators would face a three-year suspension of their permits.

The Senate bill does not include a provision in the House version that would effectively exclude bars from the measure by requiring establishments to ban guns when they make less than 50 percent of their revenue from food.

A House vote is scheduled for Wednesday.

Both versions would continue to allow any owner to ban guns at their establishments. But the measure also seeks to standardize the signs owners would have to post.

Jackson said the change is needed because some existing signs “don’t even seem to be serious in nature.”

Last year’s law was opposed by the state’s police chiefs, sheriffs and the restaurant industry.

Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen vetoed the bill, but both chambers easily voted for an override.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 57 94 2,713
MORTGAGES 16 37 1,820
BUILDING PERMITS 303 621 6,322
BANKRUPTCIES 138 138 1,115