(WisBusiness) MON News Summary — 19 May 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— It will be 2010 before the glut of foreclosed properties works its way through the market and MGIC Investment Corp. recovers from the credit meltdown, according to Craig Culver, CEO of the Milwaukee-based company.

Speaking to Mike Gousha on his Up Front television program, Culver predicted delinquencies will peak at the end of this year. “Our business fundamentals are sound,” he said.

MGIC has been hard hit by the credit crunch and foreclosures. In February, the company reported a $1.5 billion fourth-quarter loss and a net loss of $1.67 billion in 2007. In April, Standard & Poor’s downgraded the company from AA- to A with a negative outlook, a move that affected MGIC’s status with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, government-established corporations that buy mortgage loans.

See interview: http://www.wisn.com/video/16320621/index.html

— The Lear Corp., which makes seats and interior trim for SUVs at Janesville’s GM plant, has informed state and local officials that it plans to lay off as many as 336 workers by July 14. When they are terminated, that will bring the job loss total for the Janesville motor vehicle industry to 1,200.

Lear is the third comply to announce layoffs since GM said earlier this month that it would cut one of two shifts and let 756 workers go because of slow sales of the heavy SUVs made at the Janesville plant. Those vehicles are the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and the GM Yukon and Yukon XL.

The other companies hit by the GM move are Logistics Services (LSI), 132 jobs; and Flint Special Services, 14 jobs.

— Wisconsin’s 124 nonprofit hospitals own at least $6 billion dollars worth of tax-exempt property that could be generating at least $117 million in property taxes yearly to help support local services, if they were taxed accordingly, according to a new report from the Institute for Wisconsin’s Future (IWF).

The report is titled “Hospitable Taxes: How Nonprofit Hospitals Profit From Wisconsin’s Outdated Tax System.”

The tax-exempt hospitals and medical centers are located in 100 communities statewide. Because they generally do not pay property taxes, homeowners and business owners are forced to pay the hospitals’ share for the police, fire, transit, road maintenance, schools and other basic systems of government the hospitals themselves rely upon, the report stated.

— Scott Lockard, U.S. Bank, Madison market president, James R. Imhoff, Jr., chairman/CEO. First Weber Group, Inc., and Bill Duddleston, director of the Center for Economic Education at Edgewood College will highlight “The Wisconsin Economy in a Time of Uncertainty” forum on June 3 at 7:45 a.m.

The WisBusiness.com-WisPolitics.com breakfast event at the Madison Club in downtown Madison will feature discussion of the impact of the nation’s economy on Wisconsin. With the looming presidential election and recent economic turmoil, find out how you should be safeguarding your financial security.

The event is exclusively sponsored by AARP.

Additions to the panel and other participants will be announced in coming days.

The event is open to the public. General public tickets cost $10, but tickets area only $5 for AARP members and WisPolitics & WisBusiness subscribers. The ticket price includes breakfast.

For ticket information, contact Jim Greer at 608-237-6296 and [email protected]




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Press Releases
Air Wisconsin Airlines Corporation Names New Director of Training and Development – Customer Service
Alliant Energy Corporation Utility Subsidiaries Declare Preferred Stock Dividends
Appleton Listed in Top 100 Places in US to Live
City to Accelerate Improvements for Key City Streets
Foo Fighters Ride Into Harley-Davidson’s 105th Anniversary
Governor Doyle Protects School Aid Payments, Builds Reserve Fund and Cuts Spending in Budget Repair
MCS major, IT professors to work on Google-related project
MGIC Investment Announces Quarterly Dividend of $0.025 Per Share
MGIC Investment Shareholders Re-elect Directors, Approve Goals Under 2002 Stock Incentive Plan and Bonus Plan and Ratify Independent Accountants for 2008
MGIC Promotes Gallas to Senior Vice President – Claims
Plexus to Webcast Investor Presentation at Nasdaq OMX 21st Investor Program On May 20, 2008
Sonic Foundry Announces Winners for Fourth Annual Rich Media Impact Awards at User Conference
Students raise more than $3,000 to fund clean-water wells in India

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


GM supplier in Janesville to cut 300 jobs: The job toll has now topped 1,200 for Janesville’s auto industry-related work force. Lear Corp., which makes seats and interior trim for the sport utility vehicles assembled at the Janesville General Motors plant, has told the state of Wisconsin it will cut more than 300 positions as of July 14. It is the third company to reduce jobs in connection with GM’s recent decision to eliminate one of two shifts at the Janesville plant because of sluggish sales of the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe and GM Yukon and Yukon XL SUVs. Seven-hundred-fifty-six hourly jobs at the GM plant will end. “Certainly, everytime a major employer in the community lays off employees, it’s of concern to us and to the local economy. We certainly feel for the families of those laid off,” said Jay Winzenz, director of administrative services for the city of Janesville.

Mercury Marine hopeful as parent firm struggles: Officials at Mercury Marine say the Fond du Lac company is reassessing its strengths after its parent company announced a manufacturing slowdown. Mercury Marine makes boat engines as a subsidiary of Brunswick Corp., based in Lake Forest, Ill. Last week Brunswick said it will close a production facility in its boat-building division on July 1. Shutting down the plant in Newberry, S.C., will eliminate 175 jobs. Mercury spokesman Steve Fleming says he doesn’t expect the shutdown to affect Mercury’s sales. He says the company is actively working with dealers to make sure they keep stocking Mercury engines. But Brunswick’s chief executive isn’t as optimistic.

The Manitowoc Co. raises bid for British firm: The nation’s biggest ice-machine maker upped its bid for British food equipment supplier Enodis PLC, trumping the offer by Illinois Tool Works. The Manitowoc Co., based in Manitowoc, raised its offer to $2.1 billion, or $5.79 per share. Enodis shares rose 2 percent to $5.95 in early London trading. The Manitowoc Co. opened the bidding for Enodis on April 14 at $5.09 per share. Illinois Tool Works Inc., based in Glenview, Ill., came back with a bid of 282 pence $5.52 per share May 8. Last week, Enodis reported a profit of 9.7 million pounds $19 million for the six months ending March 29, compared with 17.3 million pounds in the comparable period a year ago.

Miller CEO: Miller is committed to Milwaukee: Milwaukee won’t have to worry about a future without beer. The chief executive of Miller Brewing Co. says the nation’s second-largest brewer is committed to staying in its hometown. Tom Long made that commitment even as Miller and the nation’s third-biggest brewer, Molson Coors Brewing Co., planned to merge their U.S. operations in a deal expected to be done by midsummer. Long told The Associated Press this week that a headquarters has not yet been picked for the venture, to be called MillerCoors. He said, jokingly, that the company won’t put its offices in St. Louis. That’s the base of the nation’s biggest brewer, Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. Miller and Golden, Colo.-based Coors say their joint venture will help them better compete against the maker of Bud Light and Budweiser.

The changing agriculture economy: One by one, factors have piled up to push the national agricultural economy to a place it’s never been. Local bankers and officials agree that farmers—particularly cash croppers—will see a profit this year. But next year is anybody’s guess. “These are historic times, historic prices,” Clinton’s DeLong Co. merchandiser Tim Lang said. When farmers make money, they usually reinvest it in their operation, Executive Vice President of Farmers and Merchants Bank Craig O’Leary said. That means farm equipment sales and land sales should be good this year. But the cost of growing crops and raising cattle is at a historic high along with the commodity prices, too. That’s going to limit profits on many farms, O’Leary said.

An unalloyed success: Nucor’s corporate organization has kept it globally competitive as it shares success with workers… At the Nucor Corp. steel plant, workers are more than clock-punchers waiting for orders. In a sharp departure from most factories, employees are paid weekly bonuses based on how well their work shift performed: When the plant is busy and everyone’s pulling together, people on the shop floor earn about $24 per hour. When it’s slow or there are production problems, their pay can drop to less than $12.50 per hour. So everyone shares the wealth in the good times and the pain in the bad times, said Jerry Richie, production planner at the plant near S. 6th St. and W. Rawson Ave.


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)
– A shot in the heart

– Got your attention?

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Biotech spreads its seeds throughout state

– Froedtert clusters cancer services under one roof

– Months of planns are put to the test

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Work force secretary: Pay equity gap improving, but still exists

– Consumers get thrifty

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Miron plans $6M expansion in Menasha

LABOR (back to top)
– GM supplier to lay off 336 Janesville employees

– Job optimism abounds for new FVTC graduates

– As retirements loom, districts find hiring good administrators getting tougher all the time

– Railroad worker wins injury suit

– What is a FedEx driver?

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Financing workshop for small businesses set

– LedgeStone Vineyards gets ready to pop its cork in Greenleaf

INVESTING (back to top)
– ETFs’ focus is clean, clear

– Middleton Doll narrows loss

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Hot neighborhoods in a cold market

– La Crosse’s last best hope: Former oil tank farm a developer’s dream

– Landlord racks up over 200 violations

– Group grants new life to abandoned homes

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Ashley Huibregtse Selected as 61st Alice in Dairyland

– Genex Employees Complete On-Farm Training

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– As Memorial Day nears, gas prices keep climbing

– Doyle vetoes cut into roads, kill exemptions

RETAIL (back to top)
– Menasha plans for flea market on Main

– Brew house roasting gold

REGULATION (back to top)
– State distribution law upsets winery owners

– Will Miller Park tax ever end?

– Razing fees for big box stores get 2nd look

– Release of bid data sought

TOURISM (back to top)
– Green Bay area sees bump in tourism

– Plan to build Monroe St. hotel hits snag

– Upscale hotel proposed along John Nolen

– Harley-Davidson adds Foo Fighters to 105th lineup

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Alliant Energy commits $85 million to reduce Iowa power plant’s coal emissions

– Waukesha Water Utility would pay any Great Lakes tap fees

– Mequon nears water utility deal

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Seminar focuses on health care costs

– Cardiology Associates of Green Bay receives accreditation

– Report: ProHealth Care lags area providers in cost efficiency

– Affinity Network gets 3-year accreditation

– Wealth management good for M&I’s bottom line

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Kohl’s donates $3 million to UW-Madison

– Keller names agricultural project manager

– Ken Kluth named director of revenue cycle management at area hospitals

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Shipra Seefeldt: Family dynamics can determine business success or failure

– Mick Hager: Graduates should keep these things in mind

– David Yeghiaian: Align your strategies to increase revenues

– Tom Saler: Don’t expect a quick rebound for economy

Media Partners
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National Business Roundups ( back to top)
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