(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 16 April 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— Analysts say the world is well supplied with oil, though you might not know it with gasoline prices approaching $3.50 a gallon in some parts of Wisconsin.

The reason gas prices are sky high is because of Wall Street speculation and commodities market traders who have pushed the price for a barrel of oil to $114, said Ben Brockwell, a director of the Oil Price Information Service.

Brockwell, who spoke to the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers Association yesterday at Madison’s Marriott West, blamed investment banks such as Goldman Sachs and hedge fund traders for the run-up in oil prices. But he said retailers are seeing little gain from the increase.

“Their profits are getting squeezed,” he said. “They are taking a lot of heat from the public, but they are only getting a nine- or 10-cent margin on a gallon of gas, and in some cases that’s going down.”

But Brockwell said the price of oil may drop to between $78 and $88 a barrel by the end of the year. That should translate into lower prices for gasoline, though he said rising global demand for diesel will keep those costs high.

See story: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=123669

— Carver Yachts is expanding its Marquis Yacht Division plant in Pulaski and plans to open new facilities in Oconto County and Green Bay. The expansion is expected to create 450 new jobs in northeast Wisconsin.

Carver is investing $27 million in the expansion and is receiving more than $4 million in state assistance for the project – a $2.7 million loan, a $960,000 Harbor Assistance Program grant and a $600,000 training grant.

Officials said the expansion will allow Carver to produce yachts up to 100 feet in length and meet increasing customer demand for the company’s Marquis brand of yachts.

See release: See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=123671

— Wisconsin foreclosure filings continue at escalated levels, according to newly released data compiled by ForeclosuresWI.com. In March, 2,069 homes entered foreclosure, up nearly 30 percent over the same month last year.

Robert Jansen, president of ForeclosuresWI.com, said foreclosures are up 70 percent for the past three years, from from 12,311 in 2005 to 20,995 in 2007. He said he expects foreclosures to remain at escalated levels through 2008, with some experts not predicting a housing market recovery until at least 2010.

He said Dane County leads Southeastern Wisconsin in year-over-year percentage increase, up 57.8 percent from the first three months of 2007.

See release: http://www.wisbusiness.com/index.iml?Article=123671

— Marshall & Ilsley Corp. continues to take a pounding from its real estate investments, announcing today that its first quarter net income dropped 32.5 percent to $146.2 million from $216.8 million in the same period a year ago.

The Milwaukee-based parent company of M&I Bank reported quarterly per share net income of 56 cents, down from 83 cents a year earlier.

“The continued stress on M&I’s construction and development portfolio led to further elevated charge-offs and provisions. M&I posted first quarter net charge-offs of $131 million and a loan loss provision of $146 million,” the company said in statement.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/4/15/#soft-real-estate-market-continues-to-drag-on-m-i-bank




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Press Releases
Carver Yachts Expansion Creates 450 Jobs
Cinema Series Celebrates Fiskars Creative Spirit
Focus on Energy Wins Third ENERGY STAR® Sustained Excellence Award
Mediware Introduces Comprehensive Vision for Blood Center Technology
New Research Reveals Increased Interest in Energy Efficiency, But Limited Action
Organic Infant Formula Ingredients Processed With Toxic Chemical
Rocket Racing League(R) Announces First Exhibition Race, Upcoming Race Schedule, Key Partnership and Acquisition
Sonic Foundry appoints Robert M. Lipps Executive Vice President of Sales
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business Selects Mediasite for Webcasting in New State-of-the-Art Facility
Thousands of AlphaSmart Laptops to Ship to Kenya Schools in Response to National Campaign

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


Carver Boat plans $27 million expansion in Pulaski, Green Bay: Project expected to create 450 jobs… Carver Boat Corp. announced plans Tuesday for a $27 million expansion of its Marquis Yacht Division in both Pulaski and a new location in Green Bay that will be used for production of large yachts. The move is expected to create 450 jobs and includes expansion of the metalworking, fiberglass lamination, assembly and testing/customer delivery divisions. Increased international sales are one of the factors driving the company’s expansion plans, said Irwin Jacobs, chairman of Genmar Holdings Inc., Carver’s umbrella company. “Our international business… has given us the strength, the tools and business with which to be here today as successful as we are,” he said at the announcement.

Merger fogs Mitchell’s fate: Northwest-Delta deal could yield fewer, costlier flights around state… Plans by Delta Air Lines to buy Northwest Airlines eventually could bring fewer departures and higher fares for travelers flying out of Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport and other Wisconsin airports, airline industry observers said Tuesday. Northwest is the second-largest carrier at Mitchell, where it had a 13.2% market share in 2007. The combined Delta and Northwest operations would have a market share of 19.4%, with Midwest Airlines/Midwest Connect remaining dominant with a 54.2% share. Northwest’s only nonstop flights from Milwaukee are to its hubs in Minneapolis, Detroit and Memphis, Tenn., while Delta offers nonstop service to its hubs in Atlanta and Cincinnati.

Steelworkers may file complaint against Appleton Papers: The United Steelworkers in Pennsylvania said Tuesday that it plans to file an unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board against Appleton Papers regarding what the union called an illegal implementation of the terms of the company’s “last, best and final” contract offer. After the union membership rejected a contract offer last week, Appleton deemed contract negotiations at the mill at an impasse and, as a result, notified union officials and the mill’s union employees that Appleton will implement its final contract offer beginning Monday, according to an Appleton press release last week. The former contract expired in November 2007, but both sides agreed to an extension. The contract affects approximately 370 members of USW Local 10-0422 at Appleton’s Roaring Spring, Pa., facility.

State foreclosures increase in March: Rate up 36% so far this year, report says… Foreclosures are increasing in Wisconsin, but the extent of the problem is a question of perspective. More than 2,000 properties were put into foreclosure in the state last month, an increase of almost 30% from March 2007, according to data released today by ForeclosuresWI.com of Milwaukee. Those numbers come a day after a California firm reported that the state is well below the national pace of foreclosures. According to the ForeclosuresWI.com numbers, Milwaukee County led the state in foreclosures in March with 503, a 28% increase from a year earlier. The largest percentage increase was in Vernon County, where foreclosures jumped from one to seven over the period.

Barrett, Walker to join Czech trade mission: Fresh from their inaugurations for new terms in office, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker will leave on a local trade mission to the Czech Republic this weekend, city and county officials said Tuesday. The five-day trip was organized by the local law firm Reinhart, Boerner, Van Duren and will include about 60 local business leaders. The trip is aimed at expanding business opportunities for local firms in the Czech Republic, which has a booming economy, said Jerry Janzer, the law firm’s chief executive. Several local firms already have operations in the Czech Republic, including Harley-Davidson, Briggs & Stratton, Badger Meter and Rockwell International, Janzer noted.


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)
– Bright Minds Shine at UW-RF Ag Tech Contest

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Energy-saving stance just a bunch of hot air?

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Expert says oil price will fall

– Consumers confront multiple problems

– Gehl Company Reports Year-End Sales

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Pierce unveils latest PUC apparatus line

– Oak Creek’s Nordco acquires Shuttlewagon maker

LABOR (back to top)
– Low demand cited for Sub-Zero layoffs

– Soaring fuel prices particularly painful for those who are in it for the long haul

– Black apprentice ranks grow

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Monument business keeps traditions alive

– New London program assists with startups

– 2 from Door County competing in final round of business plan contest

INVESTING (back to top)
– Investors, unions bash Northwest, Delta merger

– Dow up despite inflation pressure

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– County foreclosures down in March

– Many avoid buying as housing pessimism grows

– City aid sought for apartment project

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– Farmers’ markets make a fresh start

– Area farmers are pinched by high fertilizer costs

– Wisconsin Pork Association Hosts Futurity Sale

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Impact of airline merger in Madison uncertain

– Airline merger means changes

– Metro riders rip proposed changes

– Seat swap: New motorcycle means more risk

RETAIL (back to top)
– Pulaski’s Karcz to stop selling new Ford, Mercury cars

REGULATION (back to top)
– Wolf hunt supported at statewide hearings

– Liquor license applicants to make cases to Lake Geneva

– FDA fears heparin fraud

TOURISM (back to top)
– Fans snatch up rooms for home games

– Titanic artifacts coming to Milwaukee

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Integrys Energy declares 67-cent dividend

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Amid measles scare, rubella case found Waukesha County

– Ethics analyses criticize Merck

– Baird Capital buys health care products makers

– Weak loans depress M&I’s profits

– North Milwaukee State Bank chair to retire

– U.S. Bancorp 1Q earnings dip

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Bart Starr appointed spokesman of Star Building Systems

– Ewing Named New Operations Director for Foremost Farms USA

– Magnetek CEO joins Broadwind board

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Larry Avila: If a recession is upon us, it too shall pass eventually

– Mike Ivey: Location not always what it’s cracked up to be

– Tannette Johnson-Elie: Grocer gives shoppers personal service

Media Partners
Small Business Times
Madison Magazine

National Business Roundups ( back to top)
–YAHOO FINANCE: http://finance.yahoo.com/
–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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