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VOL. 126 | NO. 108 | Friday, June 3, 2011

Daily Digest

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Mitsubishi Buys Land for Transformer Plant

Warrendale, Pa.-based Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. has bought three parcels in Rivergate Industrial Park from Belz Investco GP for $3.7 million. The deal closed May 31.

The first parcel is 9.3 acres on the north side of Riverport Road (listed in the deed as Rivergate Road). It backs McKellar Lake, and the Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2011 appraisal is $419,000. The second parcel is 63 acres on the south side of Riverport Road, appraised at $604,600. The third parcel is 113.9 acres on the north side of Riverport Road, wrapping around the 9.3-acre parcel and including an offshoot of McKellar Lake. Its 2011 appraisal is $769,600.

MEPPI announced in mid-February it would build a $200 million transformer manufacturing plant in Belz Enterprises Inc.-owned Rivergate Industrial Park.

In March, the Shelby County Commission and Memphis City Council each put in $1 million toward infrastructure financing for the project.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Kate Simone

Pinnacle CFO Hunt Leaves for Virgin America

The chief financial officer of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp., Peter D. Hunt, is leaving this month to become CFO of Virgin America, a California-based regional airline launched in 2007.

Hunt leaves effective June 15 as Pinnacle’s new CEO, Sean Menke, prepares for a July 1 start date at Pinnacle.

Hunt joined Pinnacle in late 2004 and was part of the management team that acquired two other regional airlines, Mesaba Aviation Inc. and Colgan Air Inc., in addition to Pinnacle Airlines Inc.

Pinnacle’s CEO during that time, Phil Trenary, left in March and Menke was the choice of the board in May.

Pinnacle’s board now begins a search for a new CFO, and Menke will have a say in who is selected.

– Bill Dries

Highwoods to Receive LEED Gold Plaque

Highwoods Properties Inc. will be presented Monday, June 6, with the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold plaque for Memphis’ first multi-tenant LEED-certified building, Triad Center III, 6070 Poplar Ave.

The plaque will be presented to Raleigh, N.C.-based Highwoods during a special ceremony by Richard Graves, senior vice president of community for the USGBC, along with Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr.

Following the presentation, Graves will lead a town hall discussion, then a session on the future of LEED. A networking lunch will be available.

The event will begin at 9 a.m. Questions can be directed to Kelly Maicon at 919-431-1521 or kelly.maicon@highwoods.com.

– Sarah Baker

Research Analyst Joins Morgan Keegan

Michael Nemeroff has joined Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc. as a managing director and senior equity research analyst following the enterprise software industry.

Nemeroff, who formerly was a research analyst with Wedbush Securities in New York, has joined Morgan Keegan’s New York office.

Nemeroff covered the technology industry for more than 15 years as an analyst for Wedbush, Credit Suisse First Boston and Lehman Brothers. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business.

“Morgan Keegan has long made the technology industry a focus of our Equity Capital Markets business,” said Collie Krausnick, executive managing director and president of the firm’s Equity Capital Markets division. “Michael’s experience and expertise will only enhance the level and breadth of services we offer our clients.”

– Andy Meek

Fred's Reports May Sales Results

Fred’s Inc. has reported total sales for May increased 1 percent to $143.5 million from $141.5 million in May 2010.

Comparable store sales for the month rose 0.2 percent compared with an increase of 3.5 percent in the same period last year.

Fred’s total sales for the first four months of fiscal 2011 increased 2 percent to $627.9 million, compared to $613.1 million for the same period last year. On a comparable store basis, year-to-date sales increased 0.8 percent on top of an increase of 2.5 percent in the same period last year.

Fred’s operates 674 discount general merchandise stores, including 23 franchised Fred’s stores, in the southeastern United States.

– Taylor Shoptaw

CBU Launches Nursing Program

Christian Brothers University will host its first open house for its new RN to BSN Program on the second floor of the Cooper-Wilson Center for Life Sciences on June 21 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The accelerated RN to BSN Program, which will begin in August, is designed for nurses seeking to further advance their careers in the field. The 18-month program provides registered nurses an alternative to the traditional method of pursuing a bachelor’s degree, using transformational learning experience to develop personal and professional skills, and meeting the needs of nurses previously prepared at the AND (associate’s degree nurses) or diploma level.

Using a cohort-based learning module, CBU Nursing Program students will participate in active learning to enhance nursing knowledge and cognitive skills, including synthesis, analysis and evaluation.

Classes start twice a year, in August and January, and are offered in an evening studies schedule that meets one night a week.

Applications are being accepted. Visit www.cbu/nursing for more information.

– Aisling Maki

Independent Bank Ranked in Top Community Banks

The second-largest bank based in Memphis has been ranked in the top 100 best-performing community banks in the country for 2010, according to SNL Financial.

SNL’s database includes detailed profiles on more than 20,000 U.S. financial institutions, including all publicly traded banks and thrifts, privately held institutions and credit unions. The rankings are based on metrics including highest return on assets, lowest percentage of non-performing loans, and the favorable relationship of operating expenses to operating revenue.

Independent Bank co-chairs Charles “Chip” Dudley and Susan Stephenson said in a joint statement, “We are very pleased to be recognized as a top community bank performer in 2010. More importantly, we are committed to continuing to provide extraordinary service to our customers and community as a strong, safe, local bank.”

– Andy Meek

Private Nonresidential Const. Spending Up 0.5 Pct. in April

Private nonresidential construction spending increased 0.5 percent in April, according to the June 1 report by the U.S. Census Bureau. Year-over-year, private nonresidential construction spending is down 8.5 percent.

Total nonresidential construction spending – which includes both privately and publicly financed construction – was $524.1 billion in April, down 0.8 percent for the month and down 8 percent from the same time last year.

Three of the 16 nonresidential construction subsectors had increased spending for the month, including communication (up 4.5 percent), power (up 2.5 percent) and health care (up 1.7 percent).

Meanwhile, four subsectors were up from April 2010, including conservation and development (up 4.6 percent), power (up 2.4 percent) health care (up 2.4 percent) and communication (up 0.2 percent).

In contrast, 13 subsectors posted decreases in spending for the month, including lodging (down 4.9 percent), transportation (down 4.5 percent), amusement and recreation (down 3.5 percent), religious (down 2.8 percent) and sewage and waste disposal (down 2.6 percent).

Also, 12 subsectors experienced a reduction in construction spending from the same time last year, including lodging (down 29.8 percent), manufacturing (down 26.7 percent), religious (down 18.5 percent), public safety (down 15.9 percent) office (down 12.5 percent) and transportation (down 11.9 percent).

– Sarah Baker

PROPERTY SALES 64 151 1,493
MORTGAGES 45 105 1,152
BUILDING PERMITS 201 410 3,466