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VOL. 127 | NO. 34 | Monday, February 20, 2012

Daily Digest

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Permits Filed, Issued for Kruger Facility

Recent building permits have been applied with and issued by the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement related to Canada-based tissue manufacturer Kruger Inc.’s development of a $316 million Memphis plant to expand its current facilities here. The permits are the latest steps for the buildout of Kruger’s development at 400 Mahannah Ave., north of Downtown. Kruger’s multimillion-dollar deal was announced in August.

The news came a few days after the company, which is Canada’s leading tissue manufacturer, filed a $39.8 million construction loan for its existing Memphis facility on Mahannah.

In this month’s transactions, applications for $1.1 million and $224,000 permits were filed, with the description on the former as “erection of release #3 of the structural steel for tissue machine building” and on the latter as “installation of concrete pile cap foundation for tile chest.” In addition, Construction Code Enforcement approved a $2.4 million permit with the description: “steel erection for converting building structure.”

Kruger and local officials announced last year the company had chose Memphis from several locales – including several in the U.S. and one in Quebec – to be the new site of its tissue facility.

Part of the city’s economic incentive deal included a 15-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, commonly known as a PILOT. The project will create 100 jobs, preserve 294 jobs and create about 500 direct and indirect jobs during construction, the company estimated last year.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Job Fair Scheduled for MEPPI Plant

Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. will start recruiting this month to fill positions for the company’s state-of-the-art power transformer plant in Memphis. A job fair is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, from noon to 8 p.m. at the Embassy Suites Hotel at 1022 S. Shady Grove Road.

The company is seeking hourly professionals with skills in production, machine operation and quality. Salary positions are also available in accounting, IT, manufacturing, engineering and quality assurance.

Hiring will be followed by extensive training in Memphis and Japan, so candidates must be able to travel to Japan for extended periods.

Resumes will only be accepted online at the company’s career website, www.meppijobs.com, and in person at the job fair Thursday.

– Andy Meek

International Paper Buys La. Temple-Inland Mill

International Paper Co. is now officially the fifth owner of a paper mill opened in Bogalusa in 1906, according to the Bogalusa, La., Daily News.

Company spokesman Thomas Ryan tells The Daily News that International Paper believes it has acquired excellent assets from Temple-Inland Inc., and the Bogalusa mill is one of them.

Temporary signs reading “International Paper” were put up over Temple-Inland signs on the box plant on Monday, the day the $3.7 billion purchase became final.

Three days earlier, IP had settled U.S. Department of Justice antitrust objections by agreeing to sell Temple-Inland mills in Ontario, Calif., and New Johnsonville, Tenn., and International Paper’s Hueneme, Calif., facility.

A statement from the department said that, as originally proposed, the deal would have given the combined company about 37 percent of North American containerboard capacity.

– The Associated Press

Healthy Newborns Campaigns Continues Through March

The MED Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, is working to reach a fundraising goal of $100,000 for its Campaign for Healthy Newborns.

Launched in November and running through March, the campaign focuses on providing healthier outcomes for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit, as well as for mothers-to-be who are characterized as high risk.

Low birth-weight babies and micro-premature babies need very special attention. The combination of specialized training and cutting-edge technology allows the The MED to ensure the highest level of care.

Donations for the campaign’s Baby Clothes Closet are being accepted through an Amazon wishlist. New, unused necessities such as blankets, onesies and other clothing items and bottles will be collected.

Donors are also encouraged to give online.

– Aisling Maki

Oscar Night Party to Benefit Ronald McDonald House

Oscar Night America 2012 to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis will be held Sunday, Feb. 26, from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Minglewood Hall, 1555 Madison Ave.

The evening will include live and silent auctions, live music, food and a private viewing of the 84th Academy Awards.

Tickets are $125 per person and tables of 10 are $1,250.

The Memphis party is one of 49 parties officially sanctioned by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that will be held across the country on Oscar night.

This is the 11th year the event will be held in Memphis.

– Taylor Shoptaw

Gauge of Economic Activity Up 0.4 Percent in January

A gauge of future U.S. economic activity rose in January for the fourth straight month, adding to evidence that the economy has strengthened in the new year.

The Conference Board said Friday, Feb. 17 that its index of leading economic indicators rose 0.4 percent in January. The increase pushed the index to its highest point since July 2008.

The measure of leading indicators is designed to anticipate economic conditions three to six months out. Its steady rise has coincided with other positive data that suggest the recovery is picking up.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, the lowest in nearly three years, after employers added 243,000 net jobs – the most in nine months. Auto sales are up, unemployment aid applications are down, and factories are cranking out goods at a healthy pace.

“Recent data reflect an economy that started the year on a positive note,” said Ken Goldstein, an economist at the Conference Board.

Seven of the 10 indicators measure by the Conference Board increased in January, led by strength in the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates. Three indicators held the index back. The largest negative was a drop in consumer expectations.

Goldstein said a separate index that tracks indicators tied to the current health of the economy had shown some strengthening in the October-December period and in January.

The seven indicators that strengthened in January: the spread in interest rates, average factory hours worked per week, stock prices, a credit index, building permits, and two measures for manufactured goods.

– The Associated Press

Consumer Prices Up as Gas, Clothing Costs Rise

Consumer prices rose modestly in January on higher costs for food, gas, rent and clothing.

But economists downplayed the increase, saying inflation will likely ease in the coming months as prices for raw materials level off.

Separately, a gauge of future economic activity rose in January for the fourth straight month, adding to evidence that the economy has strengthened in the new year.

The consumer price index increased 0.2 percent last month, after a flat reading in December, the Labor Department said Friday, Feb. 17.

Excluding volatile food and energy, so-called “core” prices ticked up 0.2 percent. A big reason for the increase was that clothing prices jumped 0.9 percent. Medical care, rent and tobacco prices also increased.

Car prices were unchanged, and airfares fell.

Core inflation over the past 12 months moved up to 2.3 percent – its highest point in more than three years. A steady rise in core prices could limit the Federal Reserve’s ability to take steps to boost the economy.

Still, economists said inflation is likely leveling off. For example, clothing prices are higher because of a spike last year in the cost of cotton. When the impact of the cotton hike fades, clothing costs should ease.

Guy LeBas, fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott, said the rise in the core reflected a delayed response to those soaring commodity prices.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751