(WisBusiness) THURS News Summary — 17 April 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Battered by soaring fuel prices, Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines says it will cut flights and lay off 109 employees, including 35 pilots.

Midwest CEO Tim Hoeksema said the moves are necessary to trim costs because of what he called “staggering” fuel prices. But he said the company remains “committed to our core business routes.”

Noting that several airlines have recently declared bankruptcy, he said the Midwest cuts “will allow us to maximize revenues, reduce our cost structure, provide for sufficient cash and help us weather this storm, moving forward.”

Hoeksema said capacity reductions reflect a “common sense trimming back” of flight frequencies. The adjustment represents about a 2.5 percent reduction of the airline’s available seat miles from 2007.

See the release:

— Americans face economic challenges that call for quick and decisive action, according to presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

The Arizona senator appeared Bucyrus International in South Milwaukee during an event his campaign billed as an “economic summit.”

He advocated cutting the corporate interest rate, reauthorizing and fixing No Child Left Behind, enforcing the borders in a humane fashion while attracting and retaining highly skilled workers, eliminating dependence on foreign oil, and a summer gas tax holiday.

While promoting energy security and lamenting importing oil from “countries who don’t like us very much,” McCain also voiced his opposition to ethanol, a growing industry in Wisconsin.

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— Numbers released by the state Department of Revenue show the state collected $838.4 million in revenue in March, a gain of more than 18 percent over the same month last year. But that increase is artificially high due to late posting last year.

The DOR report showed that individual income collections jumped from about $143 million in March ’07 to nearly $282 million in March ’08, a 97 percent increase. The spike was due to the payment timing of the March ’07 collection. In ’07, March 31 fell on a weekend, so the payment was not recorded until April, leaving the March ’07 artificially low, according to the DOR memo.

“Adjusting for the late posting, individual income taxes increased 8.0 percent in March, and the year-to-date increase is 3.0 percent. Total GPR collections, after the adjustment, are 1.3 percent for March and 2.3 percent YTD,” the memo explains.

See the numbers:

— Johnson Controls, Inc. is reporting record sales and income from continuing operations for its fiscal second quarter.

The diversified Glendale-based manufacturer’s quarterly sales increased 11 percent to a record $9.4 billion from $8.5 billion in the same period last year.

The company’s diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increased to 48 cents from 44 cents a year ago. The reported earnings per share are at the top of the range forecast by the company in January.

Each of the company’s businesses increased quarterly profits by more than 25 percent compared with last year.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/4/16/#johnson-controls-reports-another-record-quarter




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Press Releases
A. O. Smith Declares Quarterly Dividend
Gander Mountain Opens New Madison-Area Store
Johnson Controls Reports Record Sales and Earnings in Q2 2008; Confirms Full-Year 2008 Outlook for Record Results
Johnson Controls-Saft and Maxwell Technologies to Collaborate
Marshall & Ilsley Corporation Reports Net Income of $0.56 Per Diluted Share for 2008 First Quarter
Midwest Airlines Outlines Plan to Address Fuel Costs
Professor Blends Ecology, History to Understand Environmental Change
Renaissance Learning, Inc. Announces First Quarter, 2008 Results
Skills Mismatch Threatens Businesses and Families in Wisconsin
State foreclosures remain high
Study Indicates Virtual Events Are an Untapped Solution to Rising Costs
The TASCON Group Announces an Online Business Solution That Reverses Company Profit Fade
Tower Tech Signs Framework Agreement With Towers and Metallic Structures
WAUSAU Declares Role as Leading Provider of Enterprise Payment Solutions

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


Harley-Davidson to cut 730 jobs, idle plants: Harley-Davidson Inc. (HOG) said this morning it plans to cut 730 jobs and idle plants this year as motorcycle sales have slowed dramatically. The Milwaukee maker of heavyweight motorcycles said first-quarter earnings fell 2.5%, and motorcycle sales dropped almost 13% in the U.S. Net income fell to $187.6 million, or 79 cents a share, from $192.3 million, or 74 cents, a year ago. Revenue increased 10.8% to $1.31 billion from $1.18 billion.

McCain touts economic plan in Milwaukee: The government must act fast to help the nation’s economy, presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain told business leaders Wednesday. Speaking one day after a major speech announcing his plan for economic reform, McCain said the action should include elimination of federal gasoline and diesel taxes for the summer driving season. “American families are facing significant challenges, some of which they’ve never faced before, including the American dream of owning their own home,” he said. “We have to act and we have to act in a bipartisan fashion.” McCain’s visit to Wisconsin was the first of any presidential candidate since the state’s primary in February.

Midwest Airlines to cut employees, flights due to rising fuel prices: Midwest Airlines plans to cut 109 employees and 2.5 percent of flights in the next few months, company officials said Wednesday. In a statement, Timothy E. Hoeksema, chairman and chief executive officer, said the Milwaukee-based airline was not immune to the impact of rising fuel prices. “The actions we’re taking today will enable us to maximize revenues, reduce our cost structure, provide for sufficient cash and help us weather this storm, moving forward,” he said. “These decisions, while difficult, are necessary to keep us strong in this turbulent time for the airline industry.” The cuts affect about 3.5 percent of employees. Company spokesman Michael Brophy said the cuts will be made in the next few months and affect all types of positions.

Air Wisconsin lands new deal: Pact with United will create 700 new jobs… Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. announced a new deal with United Airlines Wednesday that will add 700 new jobs around the country and bring stability to the 300 positions locally. Representatives for Air Wisconsin, which based at Outagamie County Regional Airport, said it secured a four-year deal to provide ramp and passenger services for United Express at Washington Dulles International Airport. Since April 1, Air Wisconsin began providing baggage loading, aircraft servicing and aircraft de-icing in addition to their existing ticket counter, check-in, gate and station operations services for more than 200 daily United Express flights at Dulles.

Badger Meter soars: Stock hits record high on strong quarter profit… The stock of Badger Meter Inc. soared 20% Wednesday to an all-time high on almost 10 times its normal volume after the Brown Deer-based maker of water metering equipment far surpassed analysts’ expectations for first-quarter earnings. Record earnings of $6 million, or 41 cents a share, were announced after the market closed Tuesday, and investors were waiting to snap up stock when trading began Wednesday morning on the American Stock Exchange. Analysts had expected earnings in the range of 31 to 32 cents a share. In the same quarter last year, Badger earned $2.6 million, or 18 cents a share. Earnings were up 134%, and per share earnings rose 128%. Sales rose 30%, from $52.7 million to $68.4 million.


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)
– Technology’s march of obsolescence

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Stratatech skin product found safe in trials

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Inflation increases in March

– Bankruptcy filings soar

– A Continental, United combination?

– McCain turns tables at economic summit

– Renaissance Learning profit up

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Earnings boost Johnson Controls shares

– Pierce wins no-bid contract

– Miller Electric parent ends quarter at a loss

LABOR (back to top)
– Midwest plans to trim 109 positions

– Local GM plant alters production

– Undocumented workers file taxes

– Union files action against Woodman’s

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Car business Benchmark Classics is family passion

– Dress Barn at Grand Avenue to close

INVESTING (back to top)
– Investors purchase Century Drill

– Kohl’s shareholders to vote on director, pay proposals

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Incoming director Chellee Siewert discusses her plans for the Metropolitan Builders Association

– Wisconsin foreclosures up 30 percent in March

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– State steps up protections against ash borer

– WFBF Pleased with Conservation Congress Hearings This Week

– New State Fair Dairy & Livestock Project Forms Now Available

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Future unclear for regional carrier Comair

– Pain at pump nears new high

– Bus change plans get backlash

RETAIL (back to top)
– Miller sales up 3.1 percent, selling pricier brews

– Military Avenue faces changes, opportunities

REGULATION (back to top)
– McCain gets lesson in free trade

– Cost of fuel leading to more gas drive-offs

TOURISM (back to top)
– Museum might cut summer hours

– “Public Enemies” filming continues downtown today

– A match made hog heaven in

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Outage affects 2,000 in Lomira

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Labor council session keys on health care

– Stewart testifies on seniors’ health

– County public health awards given

– Bellin Health in Green Bay retains certification

– Online banking = happy customers

– A big change for West Bend Mutual staff

– Funding granted to women’s business centers

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– ThedaCare finds new leader from within

– School Specialty picks new financial officer

– McCain challenges CEOs

– Pick named to lead Charles Allis/Villa Terrace

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Jay Sorensen: Latest merger will affect Midwest

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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