VOL. 9 | NO. 19 | Saturday, May 7, 2016
International Paper Buys Weyerhaeuser Pulp Business
Memphis-based International Paper Co. announced Monday, May 2, it has bought the pulp business of Weyerhaeuser.
The assets in the $2.2 billion deal are five pulp mills and two converting facilities to produce fluff pulp, softwood pulp and specialty pulp. The pulp is used in the production of tissues and textiles as well as diapers and other hygiene products.
The dollar figure includes a $300 million tax benefit, making it a $1.9 billion net price deal factoring in that amount.
International Paper hopes to have regulatory approval and close on the deal in the fourth quarter.
Weyerhaeuser has a 1,900-employee workforce in its pulp business across the U.S., Canada and Poland.
“This transaction will position us as the premier global supplier of fluff pulp and will enhance our ability to generate additional free cash flow,” said IP chairman and CEO Mark Sutton in a written statement.
– Bill Dries
Multiple Memphis Tigers To Be in NFL Camps
Former University of Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch was the headliner, as expected, being drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round and 26th overall.
But other players reached free agent deals with clubs after the draft concluded. Two players, tight end Alan Cross and offensive lineman Taylor Fallin, latched on with Tampa Bay.
Wide receiver Mose Frazier is following Lynch to Denver, wide receiver Tevin Jones was headed to the Houston Texans, offensive lineman Ryan Mack to the Dallas Cowboys, and linebacker Leonard Pegues to the New Orleans Saints.
Cross, Frazier and Jones all began their Memphis careers as walk-ons.
– Don Wade
Metropolitan Bank Sees Strong First-Quarter Results
Metropolitan Bank earned a $1.5 million profit in the first quarter.
The bank’s net income for the quarter ended March 31 represented an annualized increase of 22 percent compared to the same quarter in 2015. Earnings per share were 20 cents for the quarter, up from 19 cents a year ago.
In other highlights, net operating revenue increased 10 percent year over year. And gross loan production for the first quarter was about $110.3 million, up from $82.3 million during the first quarter of 2015 – a 34 percent increase. Total deposits also grew 14 percent during the quarter.
– Andy Meek
Trustmark Bank Pursuing Share Buyback Program
The parent company of Trustmark Bank earned $27 million in net income in the first quarter.
On the heels of its earnings announcement, Trustmark’s board also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.23 per share, payable June 15.
Among the quarter’s highlights, the bank also got authority to pursue a discretionary $100 million common share buyback program through March 31, 2019. Trustmark president and CEO Gerard Host said the bank views the share repurchase program as “another capital management alternative, in addition to loan growth, acquisitions and a consistent dividend.”
Revenue, excluding acquired loans, also increased 5.1 percent year over year to total $131 million during the quarter.
– Andy Meek
EdR Reports Net Income Of $16.7M in First Quarter
Memphis-based EdR earned $16.7 million in net income, or 26 cents per diluted share, in the first quarter, the company announced Monday, May 2.
That compares with net income of $6.9 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, during first quarter 2015.
EdR, which is one of the nation’s largest developers, owners and managers of collegiate housing communities, reported its same-community net operating income increased 8.5 percent for the quarter, on a 4 percent increase in revenue and a 2.9 percent drop in operating expenses.
During Q1, EdR acquired one community and entered into binding agreements for the acquisition of four additional communities that are expected to close during the second and third quarters . The five communities, comprising a total of 1,645 beds, will be acquired for an aggregate purchase price of $284 million.
Among its other highlights, the company sold a community near Duke University for $52.4 million in net proceeds; was awarded a 550-bed on-campus development at Southeastern Louisiana University; entered into an agreement to develop a 475-bed community adjacent to Oklahoma State; broke ground on a 656-bed development at Boise State; and accelerated its delivery date for a 207-bed community at Virginia Tech from August 2017 to this August.
– Kate Simone
China Approves FedEx’s Acquisition of TNT
FedEx Corp. and TNT Express announced Friday, April 29, that the Ministry of Commerce People’s Republic of China has given unconditional approval for their merger.
It’s the last of four required antitrust approvals required for FedEx to close on the $4.9 billion acquisition of Dutch shipping company TNT. FedEx rival United Parcel Service has appealed the antitrust approval given by Brazil, but FedEx is still confident the deal will close as laid out by May 13, according to a joint press release.
“I want to thank the team members who collaborated with regulatory authorities around the world to help us reach this important acquisition milestone,” David Bronczek, president and CEO of FedEx Express, said in the release. “As we work towards closing the acquisition, we look forward to welcoming TNT Express team members to the FedEx family of companies as we expand our portfolio of solutions and connect even more people and possibilities.”
– Terry Hollahan
Lawsuit: Starbucks Overfills Cold Drinks With Ice
A federal lawsuit claims Starbucks regularly overfills its cold drinks with ice instead of using the advertised amount of coffee or other liquid in its plastic cups.
The lawsuit was filed last week in Chicago on behalf of Stacy Pincus, a local woman who accuses Starbucks of misleading consumers. The lawsuit alleges that an iced beverage advertised at 24 ounces contains about 14 ounces of fluid, and that ice isn’t a fluid or beverage.
“A Starbucks customer who orders and pays for a cold drink receives much less than advertised – often nearly half as many fluid ounces,” the lawsuit states, adding that the practice is “by design and corporate practice and procedure.”
Starbucks said the lawsuit is without merit.
“Our customers understand and expect that ice is an essential component of any ‘iced’ beverage,” Starbucks spokesperson Jaime Riley said Monday. “If a customer is not satisfied with their beverage preparation, we will gladly remake it.”
The lawsuit seeks class-action status, which could allow it to cover customers for the last decade. Among other things, the lawsuit seeks damages, restitution and attorneys’ fees.
– The Associated Press
Graceland Welcomes 20 Millionth Visitor
A 31-year-old newlywed from London was the 20 millionth visitor to Graceland since it opened 34 years ago.
Tiffany Greenoak and her husband, Robert, were welcomed and surprised on the front steps of Graceland Tuesday, May 3, by Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden.
The couple also talked by phone on with Priscilla Presley and were given a private tour of Graceland.
The milestone also came with a one-year pass to Graceland, the new Elvis 60-CD box set and a $500 gift certificate for the Graceland retail stores.
The Greenoaks also have an invitation for a return trip to Graceland and a three-night stay in The Guest House at Graceland, the resort-hotel being built north of the mansion that opens in October.
– Bill Dries
Baptist’s Dr. Frank Groner Named To Hall of Fame
Dr. Frank Groner, president emeritus of Baptist Memorial Hospital, is being inducted into the Tennessee Health Care Hall of Fame.
Leaders of the hall of fame announced Tuesday, May 3, that Groner is one of six health care pioneers to be included in its second class of inductees.
The nomination process began in January, and a selection committee made up of health and health care leaders from across Tennessee reviewed the more than 35 highly qualified candidates that were nominated.
In addition to being president emeritus of Baptist Memorial Hospital, Groner’s accomplishments include being a commissioner on the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals and a health consultant to the federal government.
The Hall of Fame was created by Belmont University and the McWhorter Society and is supported by the Nashville Health Care Council, a Hall of Fame Founding Partner. Its inaugural class of inductees included Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
– Kate Simone
FedEx Launches Small Business Grant Contest
FedEx Corp. has launched its fourth annual Small Business Grant Contest. Coming in at $100,000, the collective prize pool is the largest sum in the contest’s history.
The contest is open to small businesses based in the U.S. that have fewer than 50 employees and have been in operation for at least six months.
To enter, for-profit business owners can visit fedex.com/grantcontest to submit a short profile and product photos. While not required, participants can also submit a 60-second “elevator speech” video to supplement their entry.
FedEx will award one $25,000 grand prize, one $15,000 prize and eight $7,500 prizes. The contest entry period runs from May 3 to May 30. Winners will be announced on July 11.
– Madeline Faber
Stax Concert Will Be Live-Streamed in Chicago
A Memphis concert is one of three that will be live-streamed from Tennessee into high-traffic areas in Chicago later this month in what promoters are calling "the first long-distance concert of its kind."
Performers in three Tennessee cities and the audience in Chicago will be able to see each other and interact thanks to a 360-degree, panoramic camera angle, according to the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development.
Citizen Cope will perform live May 23 from the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in Memphis. Jason Isbell will perform live May 24 from Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame. Ashley Monroe will perform May 25 at the Tennessee Theatre in her hometown, Knoxville.
The concerts are part of a tourism campaign, "The Soundtrack of America: Made in Tennessee." Chicago is one of Tennessee's top tourism markets.
– The Associated Press
Lawsuit: Shampoo License Requirement Doesn't Wash
When in the course of human events someone wants to give a shampoo at a salon, a conservative think tank says they shouldn't have to get a license.
The Beacon Center of Tennessee has filed a lawsuit challenging the state's shampoo licensing requirement on behalf of Tammy Nutall-Pritchard, who wants to shampoo hair at a Memphis salon. It's filed in Davidson County's Chancery Court in Nashville.
Beacon Center director of litigation Braden Boucek says shampooing is something people do every day and "it's hard to see a case for why that needs to be licensed."
Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance spokesman Kevin Walters declined to comment.
The lawsuit challenges the state's licensing laws, arguing that the requirement limits competition, violating the Tennessee Constitution's ban on monopolies.
– The Associated Press
Kemmons Wilson Insurance Hires Experienced CEO
Dave Thomas has joined Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group as its CEO. Thomas will lead the Memphis-based property and casualty insurance group in day-to-day operations and long-term growth.
Thomas has more than 40 years of experience in the insurance industry on both the carrier and agency side, according to KWIG. Most recently, he was CEO of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp., a nonprofit property insurer.
“We are thrilled Dave has decided to join us,” Spence Wilson, Jr., chairman of the board, said in a statement. “We are a 64-year-old company with deep roots in the Mid-South. We are very excited about KWIG’s future prospects and believe that Dave’s leadership and experience will be a great complement to our team as we plan to take KWIG beyond its local/regional leadership within the industry.”
– Madeline Faber
Balink To Lead Exchange Club Family Center
The Exchange Club Family Center, an area nonprofit agency dedicated to ending the cycle of child abuse and domestic violence, has named Jennifer Balink as its new executive director.
Barbara King, the executive director of the Center for the past 23 years, announced her retirement at a board meeting last June.
In her role as executive director, Balink will oversee all aspects of the center, including leadership, strategy and operations, fund development, and public and community relations. Balink will begin working alongside King in June and officially begin her role as executive director on July 1.
“I am excited about returning to work that focuses specifically on direct support for children and families – to carry forward the mission and spirit of a great organization, while also looking at new ways for the center to do even more in our community,” Balink said. “It’s a great personal honor for me as well, because Barbara has been a friend and colleague for many years. I respect and admire her greatly, and I know I have some very big shoes to fill.”
Balink joins the Center with nearly 30 years of leadership, nonprofit, fundraising, public affairs and marketing experience, most recently serving as vice president of donor relations at Lifeblood. Prior to that, she was special projects adviser to then-Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton and co-founder of Shelby County Books from Birth.
Balink received her Bachelor of Arts in art and archaeology from Princeton University and then began her career as a teacher. In addition to Books from Birth, her community involvement includes board leadership roles for the Grahamwood Parents Association, Grahamwood Leadership Council, Memphis Child Advocacy Center, Calvary Place Child Care, Girl Scouts of the Mid-South, Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Memphis.
– Don Wade
Autism Clinics Opening In Memphis Area
New clinics serving children with autism and autism-related disorders, as well as their families, are on the way to the Memphis area.
The first of several clinics from Team Autism Memphis will be at 2018 Exeter Road, beside Germantown Speech Language and Learning Clinic. Another is planned for East Memphis, and clinicians will also be traveling to area preschools and private schools.
The clinic will offer a family-based, comprehensive approach to each individual and case. Services will include occupational, speech and language therapy, augmented and alternative communication, feeding therapy, applied behavior analysis, counseling, and identification of resources for children such as schools, other counselors and physicians.
The clinic will generate clients through referrals from physicians, parents, schools and the general public. New clients must make an appointment and fill out the required forms, which may be found on the TAM website, teamautism.org.
– Andy Meek
Frayser Truck Stop, Hotel Developers Change Plans
Developers of a truck stop with a hotel on Hollywood at Interstate 40 in Frayser have dropped plans for the truck stop.
Representatives of the developers, Hospitality Builders of America, announced the change Tuesday, May 3, as the city council delayed a vote on the planned development on the site of the old Treasury department store.
The plan has drawn opposition from some homeowners in the residential areas north of the site.
The developers didn’t say what the new plan involves but, according to council member Berlin Boyd, the new project involves Shawn Massey of the Shopping Center Group.
The council delayed a vote Tuesday on the project until July
The council approved a hotel/motel waiver for developers of a hotel in the Dermon Building, a vacant office building at 22 N. B.B. King Blvd. at Court Avenue.
A tire store by Halle Properties at 7684 U.S. 64 also won approval, as did an employee parking lot at Prescott and Raines roads for Delta Wholesale Liquors Inc.
The council also approved on third and final reading an ordinance that allows some exceptions to a tourism tax or fee to those who stay at most hotels in the city. Hotels that charge less than $35 a night and have fewer than 45 rooms would be exempt from the fee. The council amended the fee guidelines to the $35, 45-room threshold after rejecting a proposal by council member Martavius Jones for $43 and 43 rooms.
Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Kevin Kane warned against going above the 35-room limit, saying it could affect revenue projections. But ultimately he approved of the compromise proposed by Boyd.
– Bill Dries
Kyles' Services May 6 At Mason Temple
Retired Monumental Baptist Church pastor and Memphis civil rights leader Samuel Billy Kyles will be remembered Friday, May 6, with a community celebration of his life at Mason Temple Church of God In Christ, 930 Mason St.
The memorial starts at 4 p.m. and is open to the public.
Kyles died April 26 at the age of 81, several years after retiring from the pulpit of the church he led starting in 1959 when he moved to Memphis from Chicago.
Kyles founded the nation’s second chapter of Operation PUSH in the 1970s and was a close ally of Operation PUSH founder Rev. Jesse Jackson.
He was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, just before King was assassinated. King was preparing to leave the motel for dinner at Kyles’ home when he was shot.
– Bill Dries
Google Hosts Local Seminar To Get Businesses Online
Online search giant Google brought the “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” program to Memphis this week, with a Thursday, May 5, event at Southwest Tennessee Community College designed to get small businesses without a website online and others taking fuller use of tools to help their business succeed.
About 100 businesses RSVP’d to the event, held in Southwest’s Nabors Auditorium, where participants hunkered over laptops, building their sites while Google representatives and other organizers helped answer questions.
For the “Let’s Put Our Cities on the Map” program, Google has teamed up with StartLogic to provide its website offerings for free, including an easy-to-build website, a customized domain name, and web-hosting for one year. Memphis businesses can go to GYBO.com to get a free website as well as free tools, training and resources to help their business succeed online.
– Andy Meek
Hnedak Bobo Moves To One Commerce Square
Hnedak Bobo Group is moving its headquarters from 104 S. Front St. to One Commerce Square. The architecture firm had occupied 104 S. Front for the past 25 years.
Grinder, Taber & Grinder recently applied for a $1.6 million building permit to renovate two floors of the 30-story Downtown office building at 40 S. Main.
Hnedak Bobo employs 28 full-time licensed architects, making it the largest firm in Memphis.
– Madeline Faber
Financial Federal Bank Executive Wins Award
Rick Wood, Financial Federal Bank executive vice president and manager of its commercial/multifamily division, has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Memphis Chapter of the Lambda Alpha International Land Economics Society.
The Memphis chapter’s annual Lifetime Achievement award honors a local leader for his or her contribution and commitment to the development and preservation of land in Memphis. Wood has been involved in commercial lending for 37 years, the last 23 on behalf of Financial Federal Bank.
He leads Financial Federal’s commercial real estate lending team in Memphis, Atlanta and Nashville offices.
– Andy Meek
Aspire to Open New Charter School
Aspire Public Schools is opening a new kindergarten through first-grade charter school in Hickory Hill. Montgomery Martin Contractors recently applied for a $3.3 million building permit at 6870 Winchester Road, the site of a former Haverty’s furniture store.
The building permit application lists the project as a one-story elementary school, with Aspire Public Schools as the tenant.
On its Facebook page, Aspire Memphis posted on March 28 that it currently enrolling for students for the founding class of Aspire International East at 6870 Winchester Road.
According to the Shelby County Assessor of Property, the building is owned by Aren Investments. It was built in 1995 and bears 48,768 square feet.
– Madeline Faber
University of Memphis, MSO Form Partnership
The University of Memphis and the Memphis Symphony Orchestra have announced a unique partnership, creating a new Mid-South destination for music training and performance, music outreach and arts-centered, cross-sector community development.
“It’s great for the city, great for the symphony and great for the University of Memphis,” university president M. David Rudd said in a statement.
The Memphis Symphony Orchestra in Residence at the University of Memphis will offer a series of world-class symphonic music on campus, while retaining a presence at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts. These performances at the U of M will create an opportunity for students, faculty, patrons and all citizens of the Mid-South to experience the full range of musical offerings created by the partnership.
“This is a game-changer for the MSO,” said Gayle S. Rose, chairman of the board.
MSO’s professional musicians will complement faculty at the U of M School of Music, creating a one-stop shop for aspiring musicians in the Mid-South.
The collaboration also will position Memphis as a hub for arts-centered social innovation. The Institute for the Arts, Social Enterprise and Entrepreneurism will engage the MSO, U of M faculty and students, and community partners in developing arts-centered solutions for two sectors: business and government. The Institute will provide practical, problem-solving services in Memphis and catalog the city’s efforts to utilize arts and culture as a catalyst for social change.
– Don Wade