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VOL. 127 | NO. 32 | Thursday, February 16, 2012

Daily Digest

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Nucor Steel Memphis Files $2M Permit Application

Nucor Steel Memphis Inc. is taking steps toward increasing its Memphis steel operations at 3601 Paul R. Lowry Road. The company filed a $2 million permit application with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement for what the permit terms “files and steel erection.”

Nucor currently has about 400 direct jobs in the city and has invested about $400 million in its operations here.

The Charlotte-based company in January announced its local plant will be part of a two-year, $290 million effort to expand its production of special bar quality and wire rod, with a goal of completing the projects by 2013.

At press time, representatives of Nucor Steel Memphis were scheduled to go before the Economic Development Growth Engine (EDGE) board to apply for a 15-year tax freeze because of the company’s local expansion plans.

Nucor plans to increase its manufacturing output by up to 25 percent, create 27 new jobs at its Paul Lowry location and acquire about 42 acres on the east side of that street from the Port Commission. That new acreage would help expand Nucor’s rail infrastructure.

In return, the company would invest $113 million to produce “high-quality carbon alloy steel for the automotive, heavy equipment and service center markets.”

The tax freeze would save Nucor a little more than $9.4 million in taxes over the 15-year term. During that same period, the company would pay a little more than $9.5 million in tax revenue.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Service Assurance Bought by California IT Firm

Memphis-based IT outsourcing firm Service Assurance has been bought by a division of Ramsey, N.J.-based Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA Inc.

After a three- to six-month transition period, Service Assurance will be known as All Covered, an IT services company serving small- to medium-sized businesses.

Konica Minolta acquired Foster City, Calif.-based All Covered in December 2010, and All Covered acquired six companies in 2011 – with Service Assurance being its latest and bringing All Covered offices to 23 cities nationwide.

Service Assurance CEO Mark Giannini said the company would continue to operate in Memphis.

“From an All Covered standpoint, this now allows us to deal with clients who have offices in other cities and actually be able to do national rollouts, national support,” Giannini said. “We’re going to continue the Memphis area and the Memphis help desk so that we can continue to provide 24/7 service. (All Covered is) very impressed by the people in Memphis and also the attractive cost of living.”

Konica Minolta has an office at 6991 Appling Farms Parkway and serves more than 1,000 local clients.

Founded in 1989, Service Assurance classifies itself as the largest regional technology support and managed IT services provider in the Mid-South.

– Sarah Baker

Raymond James Declares Price for Stock Offering

Raymond James Financial Inc., the soon-to-be-new parent of Memphis-based Morgan Keegan & Co. Inc., has announced the pricing of its public offering of 10.5 million shares of common stock at $34 per share.

Net proceeds of the public offering will be used to pay part of the purchase price of Raymond James’ acquisition of Morgan Keegan announced last month. In a regulatory filing Tuesday, the Florida-based company said it expects the deal to close on or around April 2.

The remaining portion of the deal’s purchase price will be paid for using cash on hand and the proceeds of a contemplated public debt offering and/or borrowings under a bridge financing facility.

J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, Citigroup and Raymond James & Associates Inc. will act as joint-book running managers for the offering. BB&T Capital Markets and BNY Mellon Capital Markets LLC will act as co-managers.

Raymond James announced last month it’s buying Morgan Keegan for $930 million.

– Andy Meek

Gov. Haslam Abandons Tenn. Class Size Proposal

Gov. Bill Haslam said Wednesday, Feb. 15, that he’s abandoning his proposal to do away with average class size restrictions in Tennessee.

The Republican governor’s decision came as a growing chorus of educators and parents – and the lawmakers who represent them – criticized the idea, fearing the change would hurt teaching standards because more classrooms would be filled to capacity.

Haslam said in a press conference in his Capitol office that his plan was thwarted by the difficulty in explaining that the measure’s goal is to give school districts more flexibility to hire high-priority teachers.

“We’ve heard enough discussion and feedback of, ‘We understand where you’re trying to go, we still have concerns about the path that you’re going there on,’” Haslam said. “So we said that’s fine, we will wait and work on that and pursue it with some adjustments next year.”

The governor noted that Tennessee is the only state that places caps on both the total classroom size as well as on average school-wide enrollment. The difference between the average and maximum limits is five students.

– The Associated Press

Nashville Hotel Development has Memphis Ties

A Memphis architectural firm is helping develop a new seven-story hotel on Nashville’s West End Avenue, and Memphis-based First Tennessee Bank is providing construction financing.

It’s a 192-room Homewood Suites designed to reflect the architectural style of the historic Vanderbilt University campus. The hotel will be at 2400 West End Ave. on the site now occupied by F.Y.E. Records retail store and Carmichael Place Shopping Center. The site will have 280 feet of frontage on West End Avenue.

– Andy Meek

MJHR Awarded Five Stars from U.S. News

Memphis Jewish Home & Rehab, a nonprofit organization providing rehabilitation and long-term care for people of all faiths, received a five-star ranking for its long-term care facilities from U.S. News & World Report for the second consecutive year.

Additionally, MJHR was the only long-term care facility in Memphis awarded a five-star ranking for its nurse staffing. The annual report recognizes top facilities in all 50 states and offers guidance to families and health care providers tending to people in need of long-term care.

U.S. News’ evaluation is based on data from a consumer website run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

– Taylor Shoptaw

UTHSC Appoints Jaggar to Physiology Chair

Dr. Jonathan H. Jaggar, physiology professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been named the Maury W. Bronstein Chair of Excellence in Cardiovascular Physiology in the school’s College of Medicine.

A UTHSC faculty member for 12 years, Jaggar has published more than 60 original, peer-reviewed research papers and is funded as principal investigator by three significant research grants from the National Institutes of Health. He’s also a standing member of the Hypertension and Microcirculation study section at the NIH and is on the editorial board of the American Journal of Physiology.

– Aisling Maki

Fed Minutes: Members Split Over More Bond Buys

The Federal Reserve appears open to the idea of a third round of bond purchases to boost a still-modest U.S. recovery. But members remain divided over when or whether to take that step.

Minutes of the Fed’s Jan. 24-25 meeting show that some Fed officials thought such bond purchases should begin soon because unemployment remains high and inflation low.

Others said such a step should be taken only if the economy weakened further or if inflation stayed below the Fed’s target rate of 2 percent.

The debate took place at a meeting in which the Fed decided to hold its benchmark interest rate at record lows until at least late 2014. One Fed official argued that the central bank might need to consider abandoning that plan to keep inflation low.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 83 405 4,276
MORTGAGES 104 424 4,814
BUILDING PERMITS 148 883 10,151
BANKRUPTCIES 53 264 3,149