(WisBusiness) FRI News Summary — 7 March 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— The wealth of home improvement store magnate John Menard Jr., Wisconsin’s richest individual, rose to $7.3 billion in 2007 from $5.2 billion the previous year, according to Forbes Magazine.

Next in line is Herbert Kohler, of bathroom fixture and golf resort fame, who’s worth $4 billion. His fortune was pegged at $4.5 billion in 2006, according to Forbes.

Following Kohler is Diane Hendricks of Afton. Her husband – building supply entrepreneur Kenneth Hendricks – died in a December fall from the roof of their Rock County home. The magazine put her net work at $3 billion, tying her with Donald Schneider of Green Bay, who made his fortune in trucking.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=120207

— The number of passengers served by Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport in January rose to 596,732, a new record for the month.

The January passenger total was up 6.85 percent over the same month a year earlier.
Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker cited an 11-percent increase in seats offered by Mitchell’s airlines this January over last as a significant factor in the passenger growth.

“And those seats were offered at a competitive price,” Walker said. Airfare statistics for the third quarter of 2007 showed that Mitchell’s average fare was $5 lower than O’Hare’s, according to U.S. Department of Transportation statistics.

— Joy Global Inc. is reporting fiscal first-quarter net income of $71 million, or 66 cents per share, up from $60 million, or 52 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The Milwaukee-based mining equipment manufacturer’s quarterly sales grew 14 percent to $640 million.

“New orders of $870 million were our second highest ever, and reflect the continued strength in our markets,” said Mike Sutherlin, president and chief executive officer of Joy Global.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/3/6/#joy-global-reports-record-quarter

— The New England Confectionery Co. has told state and local officials that it will close its Pewaukee manufacturing plant on May 30, resulting in loss of 137 jobs. Officials said it was “a difficult decision to make.”

In addition, the Tecumseh Products Co. has announced that it will end all warehouse operations in Grafton on June 30. Company officials said they will begin layoffs on May 9. Most workers are represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

— The Waukesha Chamber of Commerce (WCCC) is standing against a clause in the the proposed Great Lakes Compact that would allow a single-state veto to prohibit the sharing of water to communities beyond the continental divide.

“The Waukesha County Chamber of Commerce shares the belief that the Great Lakes are a commodity deserving of the regions’ protection in order to guarantee current and future usage,” said Patti Wallner, president of the WCCC.

“Yet current efforts to protect the Great Lakes further insert politics into the process of garnering water for communities within counties straddling the Great Lakes Basin, many which have very critical water needs.”

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/3/6/#waukesha-chamber-opposes-veto-provision-of-water-compact




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Press Releases
2008 Sales Forum to be held March 19, sponsored by Cintas Corporation
Governor Doyle: Wisconsin within One Step of Passing Historic Great Lakes Compact
New FMLA Military Provisions Raise Questions Among HR Professionals
Secretary Hayden Applauds Legislature for Passing Bill to Remove Barriers to Health Information Exchange
State Aligns Branding Initiative with Regional Efforts
Student organizations lend helping hand to HealthNet of Janesville
WBA-Backed Bill’s Belated Focus on Larger Credit Unions is Still Flawed in Intent

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


Joy Global grows in China: Company is building 2 factories to join plant that opened in ’07… Mining equipment maker Joy Global Inc. said Thursday it will have three new factories in China by the middle of next year. One of the factories opened in 2007; a second factory is scheduled to open this summer; and a third factory should be in operation in mid-2009, Mike Sutherlin, company president and chief executive officer, said in a conference call with analysts. Two of the three factories are for P&H Mining Equipment Co., a division of Joy Global. Those plants will build gears, shafts and transmission components used in P&H machines. In addition, Joy has forged relationships with Chinese companies as suppliers.

Manufacturer shuts doors with no notice to workers: Wisconsin Die Casting, a manufacturer on Milwaukee’s south side, has shut down with virtually no notice. The action left employees wondering Thursday about the fate of their jobs, while industrial customers tried to gain access to the locked-up plant and retrieve valuable tooling. “Apparently there was an issue regarding finances,” said Carl Rosen, regional president of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, which represents 65 Wisconsin Die Casting employees and another 20 on layoff. “There was some hang-up where the money wasn’t there that they need to keep operating, and it happened all of a sudden,” Rosen said.

Report: Wisconsin’s gas pumps, store scales accurate 99 percent of time: Wisconsin shoppers tend to get what they pay for at the gas pump and at the store, according to a report from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The report, released Thursday, said gas pumps and grocery store checkout scales in Wisconsin provide correct measurements more than 99 percent of the time. Retail store price scanners are correct or scan lower than the advertised price more than 98 percent of the time, according to the report, which contained the results of weights and measures testing across the state over the last year. In addition, when scales, scanners and pumps were inaccurate, the error was in the customer’s favor more than twice as often.

Retail sales remain slow but surpass expectations: Retail sales were sluggish in February, but investors saw a glimmer of light amid the negative reports: Sales were better than expected. Industrywide, sales rose 2%, beating Wall Street’s prediction of a 1.2% gain for the month, according to Retail Metrics, a Massachusetts research firm. It was the best performance since November and only the second time in six months that the industry came in ahead of expectations. Kohl’s Corp., based in Menomonee Falls, reported a decline of 3.8%, which was in line with the company’s guidance and better than the 4.3% decrease that analysts were expecting. Kohl’s shares closed down $2.05, or 4.6%, Thursday at $42.63.

Senate approves Great Lakes Compact: The state Senate passed an interstate treaty Thursday designed to keep arid states from pulling water out of the Great Lakes. But it appears doomed anyway in the Wisconsin Legislature. The 26-6 vote in the Democratic-controlled chamber sent the Great Lakes Compact to the state Assembly, where Republican leaders have raised objections to part of it. The Republicans run the Assembly, and they aren’t happy with a provision that would let one Great Lakes state block a city’s request to use lake water. The legislative session is set to end next week, too, leaving little time for revisions or compromises that could pass both houses. “This is one of those bills everybody knows is not going to pass next week,” Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, told his colleagues before they voted Thursday.


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)
– Sonic Foundry chief upbeat

– UWM looks outside Milwaukee

BIOTECH (back to top)
– UW-Madison professor fights cancer in her lab and life

– $20M lair for WARF rats

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Businesses to go H.O.G. wild in Waukesha?

– Necco to close Stark Candy plant in Pewaukee

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Oshkosh gets more work from U.S. Army

– Joy Global profits up 19 percent

– Shipyard upgrades with Travelift

LABOR (back to top)
– Racine jobless rate now up to 9.9 percent

– Weekend negotiations for Janesville teacher contracts

– School district denies paid leave in same sex marriage

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Fashion chain plans store

INVESTING (back to top)
– Universal Savings Bank being liquidated

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Research park, CUNA Mutual Group working on land swap

– Average home equity falls below 50%

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– World Championship Cheese Contest: a cheese love affair

– Cattle mistreatment investigation continues

– Price Still Rising on NASS Cheese Survey, Class III Price Falls

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– U.S. 41 project may revive roundabout controversy in Howard

– Winter gives Coast Guard time for safety inspections

– Northwest traffic ticks up in February

RETAIL (back to top)
– Kohl’s same-store sales down in February

– Bon-Ton same-store sales fall 7 percent

– Macaroni Grill to close March 24

REGULATION (back to top)
– Waukesha chamber supports amending Great Lakes compact

– Eau Claire to consider smoking ban

TOURISM (back to top)
– Effort to brand Green Bay ties in with state plans

– Freakfest price tag down for ’07

– Play ball! all year Indoor baseball/softball facility eyed in Middleton

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Senator blasts Waukesha mayor on water dealings

– Opposition chills wind farm bill

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Can drinking worm eggs treat MS?

– New clinic aims to offer comprehensive women’s health care

– FHA raises limits on loans

– Local banks to adopt name of new corporate owners within next few months

– Regents consider tuition aid plan

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Beitlich Re-Appointed to Sit on NFU Executive Panel

– Longtime Kimberly-Clark executive retiring

– Green Bay Packaging division wins award for centrifuge project

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Jacque Georgia: Mortgage rates are based on more than just Fed rate

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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–CNBC BUSINESS NEWS: http://www.cnbc.com
–ABC BUSINESS NEWS: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/business/
–GOOGLE NEWS: http://news.google.com/news/en/us/business.html

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