VOL. 11 | NO. 19 | Saturday, May 12, 2018
AOC Sees Growth Potential In Sale to Investment Firm
The Alpha Corp. has signed a definitive agreement with CVC Capital Partners Fund VI to be acquired, pending customary regulatory approvals.
Collierville-based AOC LLC, the primary asset and wholly owned subsidiary of The Alpha Corp., is a leading global producer of resin chemistries for composites and cast polymer applications.
AOC manufactures polyester and vinyl ester resins, gel coats, colorant dispersions and specialty additives for customers manufacturing products used in the automotive, marine, corrosion, construction and infrastructure industries, among others. AOC has production facilities in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia.
Financial terms of the pending sale were not revealed.
Upon completion of the transaction, AOC, under the ownership of CVC, plans to work closely with Swiss-based Aliancys, a manufacturer of quality resins and a CVC portfolio company, to create a global leader in the industry.
“AOC is excited about the partnership with CVC Capital Partners as the company moves forward on a new path to future growth that will allow AOC to better serve new and existing customers, strengthen our supply chain, and create additional growth opportunities for our suppliers around the world,” said Fred Norman, CEO of AOC. “Aliancys has excellent customer relationships and represents a great strategic and complementary fit with AOC as a market leader in global resin chemistries.”
Steven Buyse, a partner at CVC, called AOC “an outstanding business” with an experienced management team and world-class manufacturing facilities.
“We believe that its combination with Aliancys will create a robust global company with the diverse product mix and exceptional geographic reach to serve markets in every corner of the world,” Buyse said. “We look forward to working with both AOC and Aliancys and continue to develop high-performance composite resins.”
Bert Bakker, CEO of Aliancys, said AOC’s business culture is very compatible with his company’s.
“They share our commitment to innovation, continuous improvement and customer focus,” Bakker said. “This is a winning combination for the industry.”
– Daily News staff
Motor Museum Slated For Edge District
A new nonprofit museum geared toward automotive history and preservation could be coming to the Memphis Medical District.
Located at 645 Marshall Ave., The Edge Motor Museum is a part of a $1.4 million renovation project Richard Vining is planning in the Edge neighborhood bordering the Medical District. Vining also owns Vining Legacy Management, a bill pay service specializing in assisting seniors and widows.
To help with the restoration of the 1920s-era façade, Vining, doing business as 645 Marshall Ave LLC, is seeking up to $60,000 in Exterior Improvement Grants from the Downtown Memphis Commission’s Center City Development Corp.
The site is less than 700 feet west of Sun Studio, and The Edge Motor Museum hopes to build on the recent success of other small-scale urban infill projects in the area such as Edge Alley and The Marshall.
“With an initial offering of vehicles on loan with the museum valued at approximately $975,000, the exhibits contained within the Edge Motor Museum are not only expected to attract visitors on their own, but also serve as a complementary attraction to the visitors of Sun Studio – many of whom are already interested in 1950s-1970s culture,” the application reads in part.
According to the DMC staff report, the project is a “natural fit” as the surrounding area was once known as Auto Row and was home to several car dealerships and assembly facilities.
Montgomery Martin Contractors will be in charge of construction, but any funds from the DMC’s EIG would be handled by C Foster Construction, a certified minority business enterprise.
– Patrick Lantrip
Denise Parnell Joins Explore Bike Share
Explore Bike Share, a local nonprofit bringing a 600-bike share system to Memphis on May 23, has selected Denise Parnell as its community engagement manager.
Parnell, a Memphis native, will serve as the conduit between community members and Explore Bike Share. She will engage with neighborhoods and communities across the city to better understand and meet their unique needs and desires, ensuring that bike share works for everyone, not just select groups.
The Memphis community has always been a part of Parnell’s work. She completed New Memphis’ Embark program, which established diversity, collaboration and growth as foundations. As Yelp’s community ambassador, she coordinated events to bring patrons face-to-face with local business owners, restaurateurs and creatives. Parnell led the complete redevelopment of the Memphis College of Art’s digital enterprise, including the introduction of dynamic social media strategies to engage students and alumni with the larger Memphis community.
As Explore Bike Share’s community engagement manager, Parnell will also form relationships with Memphis’ corporate community and foster creative partnerships with local businesses and organizations.
– Don Wade
First Tennessee Donation Aids Fogelman Y Project
Thanks to a new partnership between First Tennessee Bank and the YMCA of Memphis & the Mid-South, the Fogelman Downtown YMCA will receive a $500,000 donation and matching challenge gift of $500,000 from First Tennessee to remodel significant portions of the building that opened in 1987.
“First Tennessee’s truly transformational donation and additional challenge gift brings our total raised to $2,460,000, or 60 percent of our $4 million goal,” said Angelic Graves, executive director of the Fogelman Downtown YMCA.
Renovations to the YMCA’s Downtown location will enable the organization to increase recruitment among Downtown businesses, including First Tennessee, she said.
“We also look forward to engaging First Tennessee volunteers in our financial literacy program for youths.”
Established more than 150 years ago, First Tennessee has a history of collaborating with nonprofit, community development and civic partners to meet community needs, encourage growth and support sustainability.
“First Tennessee and the Fogelman Downtown YMCA share a vision that by increasing financial and physical wellness we can create a stronger Memphis,” said Bryan Jordan, CEO of First Horizon National Corp., parent company of First Tennessee.
– Daily News staff
Memphis Tigers Basketball Signs 6-Foot-7 Wing Player
University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway has added another piece to his first recruiting class.
The Tigers announced that David Wingett, a 6-7 shooting guard/forward from Winnebago, Nebraska, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for the U of M next season. Wingett receives the final scholarship available for Hardaway’s 2018 class.
Wingett led Winnebago High School to the 2015 Class C-1 state championship and averaged 20.8 points and 4.9 rebounds during his career. He spent a post-graduate year last season at Bull City Prep Academy in Durham, North Carolina, where he averaged 25.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.
Wingett finished his career at Winnebago as the second-leading scorer in Nebraska prep history. He had more than 2,200 points. The left-handed shooter is a Native American and a member of the Winnebago Tribe.
At Bull City, Wingett was an effective shooter from beyond the arc, where he shot 47 percent.
– Don Wade
UTHSC Gets $717,765 Research Grant
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health announced a $717,765 grant Wednesday, May 9, to the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
The grant is to advance research on angiotensins and prostaglandins-adrenergic interactions. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis said the grant advances the “important work they are doing.”
“These funds enable our nation’s up-and-coming brightest minds to further expand our knowledge in the medical profession,” Cohen said in a written statement.
– Bill Dries
One Commerce Square Office Tower Up for Sale
One Commerce Square, the fourth-largest building in Memphis, has hit the market.
The 29-story high-rise office tower and four-story annex, located at 40 S. Main St., also comes with a leasehold interest in a roughly 500-space parking garage, according to real estate brokerage firm CBRE’s Deal Flow listing.
Though no asking price is listed, the Shelby County Assessor of Property appraised the Class A Downtown office tower, which tops 400,000 square feet, for $27.5 million this year.
One Commerce Square’s current owners have invested more than $5 million in capital improvements since 2010, including new roofs, elevator modernization, LED lighting in the garage, chiller replacements, and upgrades to the lobby and common areas, according to the listing.
The 63,230-square-foot annex was built in 1929 and was once the headquarters for the National Bank of Commerce, which constructed the 391,440-square-foot tower in 1972.
Currently the annex is used as an upscale event rental space known as The Columns that can host up to 800 people.
One Commerce Square is owned by Memphis Commerce Square Partners LLC, a partnership that includes Karl and Gail Schledwitz, Terry Lynch, Gary Prosterman and Worthington Hyde Partners (which includes AutoZone founder J.R. “Pitt” Hyde III, John Pontius and Robert Worthington).
The partnership bought One Commerce from U.S. Bank for $7.6 million in late 2010 and received a 20-year payment-in-lieu-of-taxes incentive from the Center City Revenue Finance Corp.
The deal was set in motion when Pinnacle Airlines Corp. inked a 13-year lease to become the anchor tenant in the 29-story office tower. But just 2 1/2 years later, the regional air carrier had moved its headquarters to Minneapolis, leaving a 170,000-square-foot vacancy in the building.
In June 2017, Wunderlich Securities Inc. announced it would be moving its corporate headquarters from East Memphis to One Commerce Square, where it will occupy about 30,000 square feet on the 16th and 18th floors.
The building is currently 71.9 percent leased, according to CBRE’s listing.
– Patrick Lantrip
County Commission Veto Override Vote Canceled
Shelby County commissioners put off a vote Wednesday, May 9, on overriding Mayor Mark Luttrell’s veto of a resolution to renew the appointment of Julian Bolton as the county’s legislative policy adviser.
The resolution commissioners passed in April included amendments that weren’t in the version the commission office sent Luttrell, meaning he vetoed a version that had not passed.
Luttrell and commissioners have clashed repeatedly on the general idea of the commission hiring its own attorney. Bolton, a former county commissioner, is an attorney.
Bolton was first appointed as an adviser in 2016.
Chairwoman Heidi Shafer said the commission will consider a new resolution at its regular Monday meeting that includes the amendments and possibly some new changes to it. If it passes, the commission would then deliver that to Luttrell.
“We want to give him a fair opportunity,” Shafer said of Luttrell and what is referred to as a “scrivener’s error.”
Shafer said the error is an “unusual situation.”
County attorney Kathryn Pascover said the earlier unamended version of the resolution “does not reflect the will of the body as voted on at the time.”
If the commission approves a revised version, Luttrell would then have 10 days to sign the resolution, veto it or allow it to take effect without his signature. If Luttrell were to veto a resolution, the commission would then have 30 days to act on any motion to override the veto. An override would take nine votes on the 13-member body.
– Bill Dries
FedEx Purchases $6B Group Annuity Contract
FedEx Corp. will purchase a group annuity contract and transfer roughly $6 billion of the company’s U.S. pension plan obligations with Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., the Memphis-based company has announced.
The transaction, which is expected to close Thursday, May 10, and is subject to certain closing conditions, will transfer responsibility for pension benefits to Metropolitan Life for approximately 41,000 FedEx retirees and beneficiaries from participating FedEx tax-qualified U.S. domestic pension plans.
This transfer will reduce FedEx’s U.S. pension plan liabilities by about $6 billion, which will be used to fund the group annuity contract.
Following the annuity purchase and transfer, the pension plans will remain well-funded, the company said.
As a result, FedEx expects to recognize a one-time non-cash pension settlement charge that will be included in the fiscal 2018 year-end mark-to-market pension accounting adjustments.
“FedEx is committed to maintaining financially secure pension benefits for our retirees and their beneficiaries,” Alan B. Graf Jr., FedEx’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in a release. “This transaction better positions FedEx to manage future pension plan costs, and retirees will receive the same pension benefit from a highly rated insurance company.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Memphis City FC to Open PDL Season Play Saturday
Memphis City FC has announced its Premier Development League schedule and roster for the 2018 season, with the first match set for Saturday, May 12, at Christian Brothers High School vs. Mississippi Brilla FC.
Memphis City FC will begin play as a Premier Development League franchise in 2018, after it was acquired by USL Memphis in April. Memphis City FC competed the previous two seasons in the National Premier Soccer League.
The PDL features 74 franchises in four conferences throughout the United States and Canada, including 18 clubs that are owned and operated by a professional club, or that hold a partnership with a professional club.
All home matches start at 7 p.m., with gates opening at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased at the gate before the match.
The venue for the remaining home matches will be announced at a later date.
The Memphis City FC roster includes seven CBU players and three University of Memphis players.
Memphis City FC is led by head coach Mark Franklin and assistant coach Diego Vieira, with goalkeepers coached by Brett Borm.
Visit usl2memphis.com/pdl for a full schedule of 2018 Memphis City FC games.
– Don Wade
AutoZone Eyes 2 Buildings For Downtown Expansion
With its 270,000-square-foot Store Support Center nearing capacity, Memphis-based auto parts retailer AutoZone has entered into an agreement to purchase two adjacent parcels on South Front Street in an effort to keep its corporate employees in a centralized location.
Located at 104 S. Front and 110 S. Front, the two 140-year-old buildings would add roughly 50,000 square feet to AutoZone’s Downtown headquarters when the deal closes later this month.
“We are going to need some additional space down the road, it was just a great opportunity to make sure that we have ownership of some property adjacent to our Store Support Center,” AutoZone spokesman Ray Pohlman said.
The company’s main headquarters is across the street at 123 S. Front.
Though Pohlman said the company does not currently have a timeframe in place or know what functions they will move into the newly acquired space, he did indicate more growth in store for AutoZone’s Downtown footprint.
“We’re growing 2 or 3 percent every year, and we’re reaching capacity at our Store Support Center,” Pohlman said. “So we’re going to need some more additional space and we want to make sure everyone stays Downtown.”
– Patrick Lantrip
Hub International Acquires Barnett Group’s Assets
Hub International Limited has acquired the assets of Memphis-based employee benefits consulting firm Barnett Corporate Insurers LLC, also known as The Barnett Group.
Hub, a global insurance brokerage headquartered in Chicago, announced the acquisition Tuesday, May 8, but did not disclose terms of the transaction.
The Barnett Group has grown over 32 years to provide employee benefits for more than 75,000 individuals.
The company’s areas of expertise include the design, implementation and administration of insurance plans and wellness programs. It has affiliations with more than 80 insurance carriers and third-party administrators, allowing the firm to offer companies a broad array of employee benefit plans.
Hub is a full-service global insurance broker that provides property and casualty, life and health, employee benefits, investment and risk management products and services. Along with its Chicago headquarters, the firm has offices across North America.
The Barnett Group will join Hub Gulf South, headed by president Steve Terry, and will continue to operate under the leadership of founder and president Ed Barnett.
“Joining Hub allows us to leverage the resources of one of the largest insurance brokers and further build on our commitment to customer service,” Barnett said in a statement. “We are extremely pleased with the opportunity for growth and to be a part of a company that shares our culture and commitment to clients’ success. The Barnett Group staff will continue to service our clients, who will receive on an ongoing basis, customized guidance and best-in-class service, as well as a more robust suite of retirement and benefit solutions.”
– Daily News staff
University of Memphis Won’t Increase Tuition
The University of Memphis is freezing tuition for the 2018-19 academic year, the school announced this week.
The Memphis board of trustees will vote on the measure at its June 6 meeting and voiced support for the recommendation from the university administration during discussions at the board’s March meeting.
The university will become the only higher education institution in the state – public or private – to keep tuition rates stable in the upcoming academic year.
In the last four academic years, average annual tuition at the University of Memphis has increased 2.1 percent compared to an average 7.4 percent annual increase in the previous 15 years.
“We have studied the challenges our students face in considerable depth and detail,” said university president David Rudd in a written statement. “The single greatest challenge is financial and we’re working diligently to help control the cost so more students can access and complete higher education.”
– Bill Dries
Italian-Themed Restaurant Opens in Memphis Airport
With is B Concourse modernization plans underway, Memphis International Airport has added a new Italian-themed restaurant to the A Concourse.
Torn Basil, which offers pizza, meatballs, salads, sandwiches and a breakfast menu, is located near gate A27 and will join Lenny’s Subs and Sam Adams Brew House in the A Concourse.
The restaurant will open daily at 5 a.m., and its closing time will vary based on the day’s final departure.
Torn Basil is operated by HMS Host, which also operates Starbucks, Maggie O’Shea’s, Moe’s, Cinnabon Baked to Go, Urban Market and Home Team Sports at MEM.
Passengers can visit flymemphis.com/dining-at-mem for more information on the food options at Memphis International Airport.
– Patrick Lantrip
New Memphis Hires New Outreach Director
New Memphis has added Ruby Powell-Dennis as its director of outreach, a role in which she’s responsible for attracting and filling New Memphis’ core programs, as well as engaging program graduates on an ongoing basis.
Powell-Dennis comes to New Memphis from Teach for America-Memphis, where she acted as managing director, regional recruitment and student leadership. In that role, she recruited leaders to join the fight to end educational inequity and also worked to connect high school students in corps members’ classrooms to community organizations that focused on college and career readiness.
“(Powell-Dennis’) passion for education and experience with recruitment make her ideal for this position,” New Memphis president and CEO Nancy Coffee said in a statement. “Her deep enthusiasm for our work, building and maintaining talent in Memphis, will be crucial in our goal to facilitate further connections.”
As director of outreach, Powell-Dennis works closely with program graduates to ensure the New Memphis experience is transformative for the individual and the city.
“I decided to join the New Memphis team after watching the work of this organization grow and evolve considerably over the last decade,” she said in a statement. “I am committed to the work happening here. I want to help elevate emerging leaders, particularly our servant leaders in education working with students and families, in meaningful ways and connect them with established leaders across sectors.”
– Daily News staff
Sessions: No Tears Over Tenn. Immigration Raid
The nation’s top law enforcement officer says he isn’t shedding tears over a raid at a Tennessee meat processing plant where 97 workers were arrested by immigration officials.
The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was speaking about employers, saying they shouldn’t be able to gain advantage by hiring workers who are in the country illegally. The comments were made at a law enforcement training conference in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which is not far from the plant that was raided April 5.
Immigration activists immediately pounced on Sessions’ comments, with one of them noting that the Southeastern Provision plant is still in operation and only the workers have paid the price.
A woman who answered the phone at Southeastern Provision said the company president was not commenting.
– The Associated Press
Walmart Policy Aimed At Curbing Opioid Abuse
Walmart is taking steps aimed at curbing opioid abuse and misuse.
The retail giant announced on Monday that Walmart and Sam’s Club will restrict initial acute opioid prescriptions to no more than a seven-day supply within the next 60 days.
It also will follow laws in states that require acute opioid prescriptions for less than seven days.
Walmart says the policy aligns with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for opioid use.
Walmart and Sam’s Club also will require e-prescriptions for controlled substances beginning Jan 1, 2020.
The company says e-prescriptions can’t be altered or copied and are less prone to errors.
Federal figures show nearly 12 million people misused opioids in 2016.
– The Associated Press
City Council to Fill Spinosa’s Seat by May 22
Memphis City Council chairman Berlin Boyd says the council will fill the Super District council seat Philip Spinosa resigned from no later than May 22.
Spinosa, who was elected to the council in 2015, resigned from his seat effective May 4 to become the senior vice president of the Greater Memphis Chamber’s Chairman’s Circle.
The council began taking applications from citizens Monday, May 7, and Boyd set an application deadline of May 17 at noon.
Applicants must submit an affidavit saying that they live in Super District 9 along with proof and a petition supporting their application with the signatures of at least 25 voters who live in the super district.
The public and council members can also nominate individuals for the vacancy.
– Bill Dries
Local Builder Honored By National Trade Publication
Griffin Elkington, a local builder and real estate broker, has been named to Professional Builder Magazine’s 2018 class of 40 Under 40 honorees.
The 15 women and 25 men of the 2018 class were selected from a national pool and have backgrounds in home sales, communications, land development, marketing, operations and purchasing.
In Memphis, Elkington leads Griffin Elkington Residential Construction and Development, a firm that specializes in new construction, remodeling, additions and infill development.
“It speaks well of the future of the industry to see the amazing talent and incredible achievements of these young homebuilding professionals,” Denise Dersin, editorial director of Professional Builder Magazine, said in a release. “And it gives us great hope for the future to see these young leaders compassionately contribute their time and energy to altruistic causes both locally and globally.”
Professional Builder Magazine is a national trade publication for the country’s homebuilding community, including builders, designers and trade partners.
– Patrick Lantrip
Tibbens President, CEO Of American Home Shield
Memphis-based ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. has named Rex Tibbens as the president and CEO of American Home Shield in advance of the spinoff of the home warranty business.
Tibbens, the former chief operating officer of Lyft, starts at AHS effective May 15. ServiceMaster, in announcing his appointment Thursday, May 3, said it expects the spin-off of American Home Shield to happen in the third quarter.
Tibbens is also a former vice president at Amazon, leading the technical and product development of Prime Now – Amazon’s one-hour delivery service.
Before Amazon, he was at Dell for 12 years, including serving as executive director of global services.
– Bill Dries