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VOL. 132 | NO. 217 | Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Daily Digest

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ServiceMaster Revenue Increases 5 Percent in Q3

ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. said Tuesday, Oct. 31, its third-quarter revenue rose 5 percent, buoyed by growth in its American Home Shield home warranty division and Franchise Services Group, along with the acquisition of Landmark Home Warranty a year ago.

The Memphis-based home and commercial services provider reported third-quarter net income of $80 million, or 59 cents per share, compared with $70 million, or 51 cents a share, during Q3 2016.

The earnings news comes as ServiceMaster prepares to spin off the AHS division in Q3 2018, which CEO Nik Varty said will allow it to focus on turning around the Terminix pest-control business while “allowing AHS to pursue its high-growth opportunities.”

American Home Shield’s third-quarter revenue increased 12 percent to $346 million compared with a year ago, while revenue for its Franchise Services Group rose 7.5 percent over the same period, reaching $55 million.

The Terminix division, meanwhile, reported quarterly revenue slightly decreased year-over-year to $395 million. The company attributed the decline in part to hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which caused the temporary closure of 53 branches in Texas and Florida, and the acquisition of Alterra Pest Control. Without those factors, Varty said, Terminix’s revenue would have grown 2 percent.

“We are continuing to focus on improving customer retention by significantly upgrading the customer experience,” he said in a written release. “We are strengthening our leadership team and driving accountability throughout the organization so that we can consistently deliver on our commitments.”

ServiceMaster reaffirmed its earlier guidance for full-year 2017, saying revenue likely would range between $2.9 billion and $2.92 billion.

– Daily News staff

County Commission OKs Emissions Fee Hike

Shelby County commissioners advanced on the first of three readings Monday, Oct. 30, an ordinance that would increase the county’s air pollution emission fee and the major and minimum source permit fees for non-automobile emissions.

The fee per ton of annual emissions would go from $48 to $53. The major source annual permit fee would go from $2,000 to $5,000, and the minimum emission fee from $1,000 to $1,500.

Third and final reading of the ordinance would be at the first commission meeting in December.

Commissioners also approved an amendment to the county’s agreement for the Shelby Farms Park Conservancy to manage Shelby Farms Park. The agreement increases what the county pays the conservancy from $585,848 to $825,848. The conservancy must expand the area it maintains and operates for the county to include the operations area at Mullins Station and Raleigh Lagrange roads. And county government will no longer buy, replace or repair equipment the conservancy uses.

Commissioner Walter Bailey abstained in the vote on the item. He opposes county funding to the conservancy and has called for at least some of the park land to be developed.

The commission also granted a pedestrian and bicycle trail easement on the other side of Walnut Grove Road for the Wolf River Greenway project.

And it approved turning over 15.1 acres of county land at Rust Road and U.S. 51 for Shelby County Schools to build a new Woodstock K-12 school. The site is across Rust Road from the existing Woodstock Middle School in northern Shelby County.

The commission also approved two resolutions and two ordinances on first reading that begin a transformation of the Community Redevelopment Agency, putting the joint city-county agency in control of redevelopment of the Binghampton area and an expanded Uptown area.

The Memphis City Council is expected to act soon on comparable measures on its side of the transaction.

Commissioners also approved a new contract compliance committee with members that include Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell, commissioner Van Turner and commission chairwoman Heidi Shafer as well as county Equal Opportunity Coordinator Carolyn Watkins and five citizens.

More citizens representing all segments of the minority business community will be appointed next month to the committee, which is an “oversight working group” on county goals to increase the percentage of county government contracts awarded to minority- and women-owned businesses.

– Bill Dries

Memphis VA Fires Two Department Heads

A week after the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center got the federal agency’s lowest ranking – one star out of a possible five – the heads of the anesthesiology and surgery departments have been fired.

David Dunning, the new director of the Memphis center, took the action last week against Susan Calhoun, who served as head of anesthesiology, and Darryl Weiman, who was head of surgery.

Both had been reassigned during an investigation – one of several underway after several years of persistent allegations about veterans facing long wait times to see doctors or get medical attention at the Memphis center as well as problems in surgery or in the quality of care.

The House Veterans Affairs Committee also is investigating the Memphis center in a probe that began earlier this year.

– Bill Dries

Norvell: ‘No Distractions’ Related to Job Rumors

The University of Memphis football team’s 7-1 start has put them in the top 25 in both major polls and has fans looking forward to the possibility of playing for an American Athletic Conference championship. And, if that goes well, playing in the Peach Bowl on New Year’s Day.

But it’s also the time of year when there is much speculation about coaching changes. Florida became the first SEC school to part ways with its coach, Jim McElwain, a few days ago. Among the names that have come up as possible candidates for the Gators’ next coach is second-year Memphis head coach Mike Norvell. His name also has been linked more generally to other jobs expected to come open.

“Like I told the players – we had a quick team meeting – there are no distractions,” Norvell said after practice Monday, Oct. 30. “There are no distractions from anything on the outside. The only thing that matters to us is that every individual, player, coach, whatever, is 100 percent focused on being 1-0 this week. The only way we can get that done is by maximizing today.

“We address it, I’m open about it with our team, but we also address that we have more players doing interviews, people talking about top 25. That is a positive thing for our program. I sure don’t want to see it the other way. Our guys know that they’ve got to come out and do work, and if you don’t take care of business, you’re not going to worry about being in the top 25. We’ve got to go and get better each and every week. If we can do that, and our players can maintain humility and focus on what we’re doing today, regardless of how many interviews you do, regardless of what people are saying about you, you’ve got to work.”

The Tigers, who are 4-1 in the AAC, play at Tulsa Friday, Nov. 3, followed by their bye week and two home games to close out the regular season.

– Don Wade

Exeter Closes on Fifth Major Purchase in October

Pennsylvania-based real estate investment management firm Exeter Property Group made its fifth significant local investment within a month with the $13.8 million purchase of a 400,000-square-foot industrial property in southeast Memphis.

Located at 4895 Citation Drive west of Pleasant Hill Road, the 21-year-old warehouse sits on more than 21 acres and was last appraised for $13.1 million by the Shelby County Assessor.

Teresa Tsai, founder and CEO of Treeview Real Estate Advisors, signed the deed on behalf of the sellers.

This acquisition marks the fifth Memphis industrial property Exeter has bought this month, for a total investment of more than $72 million.

Last week, Exeter acquired two additional properties from New York-based Treeview for a combined $34.5 million: a 700,000-square-foot Class A warehouse at 4755 Southpoint Drive and a 500,000-square-foot warehouse at 5015 Citation.

Earlier in the month, Exeter bought two southeast Memphis properties from San Francisco-based developer Prologis Inc. for a combined $23.8 million. Those warehouses are at 5295 Logistics Drive and 5305 Logistics Drive, about 3 miles southeast of the Citation Drive properties.

– Patrick Lantrip

PROPERTY SALES 128 234 13,285
MORTGAGES 80 152 8,323