(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 25 April 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The declining dollar is a two-edged sword.

Economists say it’s making the price of gasoline, food, most imported goods and a trip overseas more expensive.

But for Wisconsin-based companies that sell products or services abroad, the shrinking value of the once-mighty greenback is proving to be a boon, analysts say.

Badger State firms benefiting from the drop include Snap-On Tools, Manpower, Sensient Technologies, Johnson Controls and Carver Yachts, a Pulaski-based company that is adding 450 positions to build 100-foot-plus luxury boats, many for foreign customers.

See the full story:

— Gov. Jim Doyle met yesterday in London with British stem cell expert Dr. Stephen Minger to discuss Wisconsin’s increasing role in the global stem cell industry.

Doyle’s office said the pair also discussed the Badger State’s deepening relationship with United Kingdom stem cell leaders, and the 2008 World Stem Cell Summit, which Madison will host in September.

See the release:

— The guv also is also urging the U.S. Department of Commerce to protect jobs in Wisconsin by stopping the importation of artificially low-priced lightweight thermal paper — used for ATM receipts and other applications.

Doyle wrote to Commerce on behalf of Appleton Papers, the largest domestic manufacturer of lightweight thermal paper. It has major operations in Wisconsin.

“These artificially low-priced imports have had a severe, adverse impact on the domestic industry and put at great risk their investments in Wisconsin,” Doyle wrote.

The U.S. Commerce Department is reviewing allegations that manufacturers in Germany and China dumped artificially low-priced lightweight thermal paper into the market and is expected to make a preliminary determination on the matter on May 6.

See the release:

— Pewaukee-based Facility Services Group Inc. has acquired the assets of Milwaukee’s Performance Painting LLC, more than doubling its current commercial/industrial painting capabilities in southeastern Wisconsin.

Performance Painting’s Milwaukee office and warehouse at 223 S. 2nd St. will remain open, but will become a Facility Services Group office. Six Performance Painting employees will be retained by the merged company. Facility Services Group acquired Performance Painting from Michael Wolters. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/4/24/#growing-pewaukee-company-acquires-milwaukee-painting-firm




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Press Releases
Farm Bureau favors bringing back October antlerless deer season
Governor Doyle Meets with Stem Cell Expert Dr. Stephen Minger
Governor Doyle Urges End to Unfair Trade Practices Hurting Wisconsin Paper Industry
Manitowoc Company Schedules First-Quarter 2008 Earnings Announcement and Conference Call
Mickey’s Teams up With Top MMA Star Tito Ortiz
Myers Internet Announces Partnership With Mortgage Market Guide
Plexus Announces Q2 Revenue of $451 Million and EPS of $0.48
Plumbing Industry Week to be Held April 27-May 3
Rethinking disaster management by focusing on development
Roche Nimblegen CEO Stan Rose to Speak on Exit Strategies for Start-Up Companies
Schneider Logistics Finalizes Integration of International Supply Chain Services
Sonic Foundry Event Services to Webcast Bersin & Associates IMPACT 2008
The Circus Comes to UW-Madison
Top 10 Reasons to Attend the Digital Healthcare Conference on May 7-8
WealthCounsel(R) Unveils New Website Portal for Estate Planning Attorneys, Financial Professionals, Consumers, and News Media
Website touts amenities for the industry’s first hotel geared for business travelers, motorcycle enthusiasts alike
With Cell as Muse, Art Fuels a Young Scientist’s Quest

For these and more releases visit http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Content=82


Doyle urges Commerce Department to stop unfair paper imports: Gov. Jim Doyle wants federal officials to block unfair imports of lightweight receipt paper. The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to make a preliminary determination next month on whether German and Chinese manufacturers dumped artificially cheap lightweight paper into the market. Doyle has sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez urging him to stop such imports. Doyle argues those imports would hurt Wisconsin’s paper makers and cost jobs. He specifically claims the imports would hurt Appleton Papers, a leading U.S. lightweight paper manufacturer, in international competition.

New jobless claims down: Wisconsin ranks No. 3 in filings tied to mass layoffs… The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance benefits dropped unexpectedly last week to a two-month low, suggesting some companies have delayed firing plans. The Labor Department reported Thursday that initial applications fell by 33,000 from the previous week to 342,000 for the week ended April 19. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had forecast a gain of 3,000. The number of people staying on benefit rolls declined to 2.934 million from 2.999 million the week before, which was close to a four-year high. Businesses are trying to assess how deep the downturn may be before they fire additional workers, and some firms are retaining employees to fill a surge in export orders.

Harley job cuts could cost $25 million: Eliminating 730 positions comes with a price tag… Harley-Davidson Inc. says it expects $20 million to $25 million in severance costs related to the elimination of 730 jobs, including several hundred positions at the company’s headquarters. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Harley said it expects to complete the job cuts and take all of the related charges in 2008. The company is cutting about 370 unionized production employees and 360 non-production jobs. The planned reductions, announced last week, represent about 6.5% of the company’s North American unionized production employees and about 10% of its North American non-production staff.

Shuttlelift crane to help rebuild collapsed bridge: Sturgeon Bay company sends equipment to Minneapolis site… A Sturgeon Bay-based company is providing one of the key pieces of equipment being used in the reconstruction of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis that collapsed in August. Shuttlelift delivered one of its SL 300 gantry cranes to the project site a week ahead of the scheduled delivery date of April 18, the company said earlier this week. “They needed a crane that could operate in the tight confines of the casting yard … there’s really no room to move,” said Kurt Minten, director of Industrial Sales at Shuttlelift. “If you had a crawler crane in there, it would be very impractical and logistically kind of a nightmare.”

Judge orders Philippines company to pay $100 million for fraud: A federal judge in Madison on Thursday ordered a Philippine company to pay back $99.9 million it swindled out of the U.S. military’s health insurance program. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ordered Health Visions Corp. to liquidate all of its assets within 10 months and give the proceeds to the U.S. government. Federal prosecutors said the company bilked the military’s Tricare program out of $99.9 million between 1998 and 2004. The program insures 9.2 million current and retired servicemen and their dependents. The company routinely inflated claims by more than 230 percent, operated a phony insurance program and billed for medical services never delivered, court records showed, and the Pentagon moved slowly to uncover the scheme.

Elm Grove files lawsuit against Michels Corp.: The village of Elm Grove filed a lawsuit Thursday against a Brownsville contractor for breach of contract for its portion of the village’s $13.1 million flood management program. Elm Grove announced in a press release that it filed suit against Michels Corp., Michels Pipeline Construction Inc. and its bonding company, Continental Casualty Co., for breach of contract and breach of duty to act in good faith. Michels officials said late Thursday they were surprised by the lawsuit and defended the company’s work on the project. “Once the tunneling project began, Michels encountered very significant changes in soil conditions,” said Brian Johnson, Michels’ executive vice president.


GREGG HOFFMANN: Contributor, WisBusiness.com

TOM STILL: President, Wisconsin Technology Council

JENNIFER SERENO: Senior manager, Wood Communications Group

STEVE JAGLER: Executive editor, Small Business Times

TOM BURZINSKI: IT executive and consultant

TECHNOLOGY (back to top)
– Zoom, zoom with converter boxes

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Aspirus part of heart study

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Papermaker gets political support

– Lenders: Let’s make a deal

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Brunswick, Mercury Marine 1Q profits drop

– OSHA investigates manufacturing death in Kimberly

LABOR (back to top)
– Valley unemployment drops

– CUNA contract caps layoffs for one year

– Teachers asked to move classrooms without overtime

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Small biz concerned by economy, but not cutting spending

– University Ave. meat market gets ready to reopen after fire

INVESTING (back to top)
– Dow rallies on economic optimism

– CNH Global posts weaker-than-expected quarterly profit; stock tumbles

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Coldwell Banker sets free career seminar

– Filing reveals landlord’s debts

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Disaster assistance offered for dairy farms

– Siting Board Reverses Crawford County Hog Farm Expansion

– Woolwich Dairy to Host Grand Opening on May 9

– Price Remain Mixed on NASS Cheese Survey

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Delta, Northwest execs defend proposed merger

– FAA ground equipment checks become less detail-oriented

RETAIL (back to top)
– Students launch plan for rooftop groceries

– Perfumania, Aerie open at Bay Park

– Owner of Arby’s is thinking Wendy’s

– Bargain hunters sitting pretty

– After 95 years, absinthe makes its debut

– Taking it to the streets, on campus

– Sendik’s Commons adds retail tenants

REGULATION (back to top)
– Bill changes urged in fight against invasive species

– U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service makes new river rules

– House passes bill to treat ballast water

– Kohl’s pays penalty in hooded sweatshirt case

TOURISM (back to top)
– Three cameras will watch Mifflin Street Block Party

– New ballgame for hot-ticket Brewers

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Developers propose wind farms on Lake Michigan

– Neenah to demolish old water reservoir

– Conference focuses on energy savings

– Wisconsin Energy, Wisconsin Electric declare quarterly dividends

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Health care company, state deny personal data was at risk

– Mercy CEO, partners honored at D.C. event

– Luxemburg Bancshares reports income for ’07

– Baylake nets $1.2M in quarter

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– UW textiles professor guides green carpet choice

– How to accelerate growth in uncertain times

– Business leader touts team effort

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– John Oncken: Ag world changes, but it’s still about people

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