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VOL. 127 | NO. 94 | Monday, May 14, 2012

Daily Digest

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Vitran Express Buys Farrisview Terminal

Vitran Express Inc., a subsidiary of Toronto-based freight services provider Vitran Corp., has bought a truck terminal at 2727 Farrisview Blvd. from Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. for $1.7 million.

Vitran operates a service center in the 56,386-square-foot terminal, which was built in 1973 and is situated on 12.5 acres on the south side of Farrisview between Airways Boulevard and Lamar Avenue.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s 2012 appraisal is $1.3 million. Old Dominion bought the terminal in 1996 for $1.5 million.

Vitran provides less-than-truckload, supply chain and logistics services in 34 states and throughout Canada.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

– Daily News staff

Jones Seeks AG Opinion on Municipal Schools

Countywide school board member Martavius Jones is seeking through a state legislator from Shelby County a legal opinion from the Tennessee Attorney General on the municipal school districts legislation signed into law last week by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Only legislators can seek legal opinions from the Attorney General’s office. The legislation Jones is questioning permits referendums this year by suburban towns and cities on forming municipal school districts.

The law applies only to counties in which a schools planning commission is in operation and Shelby County is the only county where that is the case. Jones’ indirect inquiry focuses on whether the legislation’s application to only Shelby County is constitutional.

Several of the suburban municipalities are expected to schedule the referendums for the Aug. 2 ballot at meetings of their boards of aldermen this month.

Their plans for a May 10 set of referendums was scrubbed by the Shelby County Election Commission when an earlier legal opinion from the AG’s office held there could be no referendums or any other preparation for municipal school districts until the August 2013 schools merger. The legal opinion prompted the move to the new state law.

– Bill Dries

Raymond James/Morgan Keegan Gives Awards

Vickie Brees, Libby Darnall, Jennifer Riley and Kendall Smith, Memphis-based employees of Raymond James/Morgan Keegan, have received the Morgan Keegan Circle of Excellence Employee Awards.

The distinction is the highest honor awarded annually to Morgan Keegan employees. Brees and Darnall were presented The Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes employees who demonstrate a commitment to client service and a willingness to go the extra mile to get the job done.

Brees is an executive administrative assistant in the firm’s legal department and has been with the firm for 12 years. Darnall, a registered sales assistant, has been with the firm for 20 years.

Riley and Smith were presented The Outstanding Support Award, which recognizes employees who demonstrate a commitment to client service and dedication and loyalty to employees.

Riley, who has been with the firm for four years, is a registered sales assistant in the firm’s East Memphis fixed income office. Smith, who has been with the firm for seven years, is a new accounts clerk in the firm’s operations department.

– Andy Meek

Mid-South Farm Awarded Renewable Energy Grant

Fullen Brothers Farms, based in Ripley, Tenn., has been awarded funding from USDA Rural Development to determine the feasibility of processing oil seed locally rather than exporting most of it out of the region for processing.

The farming company received the $95,000 Renewable Energy for America Program grant with help from its partner, BioDimensions Renewable Oils – a Mid-South integrated farming business focused on commercializing new oilseed crops.

BioDimensions is collaborating with Fullen Brothers Farms and other regional farmers to achieve a target of 100,000 acres under production by 2017.

Production of winter oilseed crops at this scale is projected to generate an additional $40 to 50 million in farm-gate revenue for West Tennessee. If local processing is found to be commercially viable, even more jobs may be created, and the economic impact could be much greater.

USDA Rural Development’s rural business grant programs provide assistance to local governments and nonprofit organizations that assist small businesses, develop local business infrastructure, provide job training, conduct feasibility studies or provide technical assistance to businesses and community leaders.

– Aisling Maki

Dixon Hughes Goodman to Host Fraud Risk Event

Mark Nicolas and Chris Glenn of Memphis CPA and advisory firm Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP will hold a discussion about the common characteristics of fraud perpetrators in the workplace and the types of fraud they commit as a part of the Better Business Bureau’s Breakfast Series on Tuesday, May 15.

The breakfast and discussion will be from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Better Business Bureau, 3696 Tyndale Drive. Admission is free to accredited businesses and $10 for guests. RSVP to Cheryl Stewart at 757-8603 or cstewart@bbbmidsouth.org.

– Sarah Baker

Dillard's Shares Rise on Strong Q1 Results

Shares of Dillard’s Inc. rose on Friday after the department-store operator reported its first-quarter net income rose 24 percent as customers bought spring clothing and other merchandise.

The strong results sent shares up nearly 9 percent in midday trading.

Department-store operators, particularly mid-priced chains like Dillard’s, suffered during the recession as consumers cut back. But operators have revamped their offerings and cut costs and results have improved.

Net income for the three months ended April 28 rose to $95 million, or $1.89 per share, from $76.7 million, or $1.31 per share, last year. Earnings per share benefited from a 14 percent reduction in the number of shares outstanding year over year. Dillards said it spent $27.5 million on share repurchases during the quarter.

Revenue rose 6 percent to $1.55 billion from $1.47 billion last year.

Revenue in stores open at least one year rose 5 percent. The measure is an important gauge of a retailer’s financial health because it excludes stores that open or close during the year.

Little Rock-based Dillard’s operates 287 Dillard’s and 17 clearance centers in 29 states.

It has three stores in the Memphis area – Oak Court Mall and Wolfchase Galleria in Memphis, and Towne Center in Southaven.

– The Associated Press

Cheaper Gas Drives US Wholesale Price Index Lower

A big decline in gas and energy costs drove a measure of U.S. wholesale prices lower in April. Outside that drop, prices barely rose.

The Labor Department said Friday, May 11, that the producer price index dropped 0.2 percent last month from the previous month. It was the first decline since December and the biggest one-month drop since October.

Wholesale gas prices fell 1.7 percent last month. That accounted for half the drop in energy costs, which was the only major category to decline.

The index measures price changes before they reach the consumer,

For the 12 months that ended in April, wholesale prices have risen just 1.9 percent.

That’s the smallest 12-month change since October 2009. And it’s down from a peak year-over-year increase of 7.1 percent last July, when higher gas and food costs pushed up wholesale prices.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, the so-called core index rose 0.2 percent last month. The core index has increased 2.7 percent during the 12 months that ended in April, down only slightly from March.

Modest wholesale inflation reduces pressure on manufacturers and retailers to raise prices.

That helps keep consumer prices stable, which boosts buying power and drives economic growth. Consumer spending makes up 70 percent of economic activity.

Lower inflation also gives the Federal Reserve room to hold interest rates at record-low levels.

– The Associated Press

PROPERTY SALES 51 333 19,446
MORTGAGES 68 383 22,433
BUILDING PERMITS 138 688 40,004
BANKRUPTCIES 34 238 12,486