(WisBusiness) WED News Summary — 16 July 2008

From WisBusiness.com …

— MillerCoors LLC, the joint venture between SABMiller PLC and Molson Coors, has announced that it will locate its headquarters in downtown Chicago.

The recently combined company had said it was looking for a neutral site for MillerCoors, separate from Milwaukee, the home of Miller, and Denver, the home of Coors.

The company will bring between 300 and 400 executive and management jobs to Chicago beginning in June, 2009. The Chicago headquarters will move some jobs away from the Miller Brewing headquarters in Milwaukee.

See story: http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2008/7/15/millercoors-chooses-chicago-not-milwaukee-for-hq

— General Mills has informed state and local officials that it is moving forward with plans to shut down its Poplar plant. It will lay off the remaining 86 employees who work there by Sept. 11. Twenty-seven workers were laid off in the first phase of the closure on May 1.

— When General Motors officials said last month that they would close the Janesville Assembly plant in 2010 because of a severe downturn in SUV sales, many feared that was an optimistic date.

And while the company isn’t saying anything specific about Janesville, GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagner’s announcement that the company will cut truck production was hardly good news. He also said the company will lay off salaried workers and suspend its dividend as a way to save $15 billion.

Analysts now say the plant may close in the first half of 2009. One shift at the Janesville plant has already been eliminated and its workforce, which stood at 2,600 early this year, is being reduced by 50 percent. In addition, affiliated companies that make products for big Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes and GMC Yukons have cut hundreds of jobs in Janesville.

— McCain and Obama weighed in on GM’s announcement.

McCain senior policy adviser Nancy Pfotenhauer said in a statement the GOP nominee would work to keep America’s automobile industry strong, pointing out he has a town hall meeting planned Friday with auto workers. She said McCain’s plan for the economy includes rewarding “innovators that will strengthen the auto industry through hybrid technology and battery operated cars.”

Obama said in a statement that auto manufacturers are facing a perfect storm of record gas prices, rising steel prices, a weakening economy and a tightening credit market that has made it hard for consumers to buy new cars.

Meanwhile, workers at the manufacturing facilities are facing a perfect storm of their own in the form of “paychecks that are being stretched to meet family budgets, intensifying competition from abroad, jobs that are increasingly insecure and little support from a government that has consistently turned its back on the middle-class.”

*See the McCain statement:
*See the Obama statement:

— Banks all over the country got the jitters this week when federal regulators seized IndyMac Bancorp., a Southern California lender that was on the verge of failing.

In Wisconsin, investors are waiting for today’s release of second-quarter results from Milwaukee’s Marshall & Ilsley Corp. Last week, the company said it expects to report a second quarter net loss of $1.50 to $1.60 per share as it absorbs up to $900 million in losses in the deteriorating housing market in Florida and Arizona.

Overall, officials say M&I is strong and the state’s banks are in good shape, even though many have seen the price of their shares decline in recent months. That’s because banks have reserves large enough to get them through difficult times, said Lorrie Keating Heinemann, secretary of the Department of Financial Institutions.

Kurt Bauer, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Bankers Association, agreed and said no Wisconsin lenders are in danger of failing. He said they are in much better shape than their peers around the country

“You can’t compare what happened with IndyMac and Wisconsin banks,” he said. “They were engaged in below prime lending and the California housing market is much different than Wisconsin’s.”



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Press Releases
A. O. Smith Increases Quarterly Dividend to $.19 Per Share
Associate Dean Advises NASA on Human Challenges in Space Programs
Bilingual Employees Key to Fast Response to Natural Disasters
Delta Announces Senior Team to Lead Airline Following Closing of Delta-Northwest Merger
EPA Reaches Agreement With Hercules on Clean-Air Violations
Filing Deadlines Approaching for Disaster Unemployment Assistances
Keep it Fresh and Clean in Between
Midwest Airlines Announces Significant Reduction in Workforce
Milwaukee Mayor Barrett: Statement on announcement of new MillerCoors HQ
Renaissance Learning, Inc. Announces Second Quarter, 2008 Results
Sammy and Kurt of the BoDeans to Headline ‘The Evening Round’ Events at the U.S. Bank Championship
SBA’s Deadline for Physical Damage Disaster Loan Applications is August 13
U.S. Department of Energy Awards Flambeau River BioFuels a Grant

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


Janesville GM plant closing sooner than expected: General Motors Corp. said Tuesday it will lay off salaried workers, cut truck production, suspend its dividend and borrow $2 billion to $3 billion to weather a severe downturn in the U.S. market. GM said the moves will raise $15 billion to help cover losses and turn around its North American operations, including $10 billion from internal cost-cutting and $5 billion from selling some assets and borrowing against others. “In short, our plan is not a plan to survive. It is a plan to win,” GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said in a broadcast to employees. GM’s shares fell as much as 6 percent to a new 54-year low of $8.81, then rebounded to close at $9.84, up 46 cents, or 4.9 percent, from Monday’s close.

MillerCoors selects Chicago for headquarters: MillerCoors officials say the headquarters for their new joint venture will be located in downtown Chicago. The company chose not to settle in Milwaukee, where SABMiller PLC’s Miller Brewing Co. is based, or in Golden, Colo., the home of Molson Coors Brewing Co. MillerCoors President Tom Long said Tuesday that the company chose Chicago for its employee talent, transportation and business resources. MillerCoors began operation as a combined entity July 1, a day after the companies announced the closing transaction to combine their U.S. and Puerto Rico operations. The deal was aimed at helping them compete against Anheuser-Busch Cos., which has about half the U.S. market. Anheuser-Busch agreed this week to be acquired by Belgian-based InBev SA for $52 billion.

Cereal maker to open plant in Sussex: Company: Facility will create about 160 new jobs… A British Columbia-based manufacturer of organic breakfast cereals plans to open a 230,000-square-foot plant in Sussex that will create about 160 local jobs, the company said Monday. Nature’s Path Foods Inc. is converting a building at W227-N6088 Sussex Road that was once used by Kraft Foods to make Tombstone pizzas, the company said. The company, which spokeswoman Maria Emmer-Aanes said is the largest organic cereal maker in North America, is planning to commence operations in March. The building will be used to produce cereals, granola bars and other breakfast foods.

Middleton smoking ban OK’d, will start next March: Middleton is going smoke-free. Before a packed audience, the Middleton City Council voted 6-2 Tuesday night to ban all indoor public smoking beginning March 15, 2009. Alds. Jon DiPiazza and Hans Hilbert dissented. The move extends the city’s ban on smoking in restaurants, in place since 1996, to include all workplaces, taverns and public buildings. A public building is defined as everything from apartment building lobbies and common hallways to nursing homes to private residences being used for child care, adult day care or health care. Outdoor theaters and sports arena seating are also considered public spaces and fall under the ban. Smoking-designated hotel rooms and retail tobacco stores are excluded.

Orion sales to miss forecast: Company names CFO, COO… Orion Energy Systems Inc. said Tuesday that its sales for the fiscal year that started April 1 would be lower than it forecast earlier. The Plymouth company also announced the appointment of a chief financial officer and a chief operating officer. Orion forecast in May that it would have 50% revenue growth during the fiscal year, but it is now forecasting sales growth of 25% to 28%. Sales are expected to be $16.1 million to $16.3 million for the quarter that just ended, Orion said. Orion sells high-efficiency energy-saving lighting systems used primarily in warehouses and factories. The company attributed the weaker sales to its focus “on building its sales organization, which resulted in key personnel spending more time in the first quarter on developing the organization and less time on closing new sales.”

Derco to set up shop in Malaysia: Derco Aerospace Inc., a Milwaukee provider of spare parts and services to the aircraft industry, has joined with a Malaysian aircraft maintenance company to establish a C-130 propeller shop in the Southeast Asian country. Derco and the partner company, AIROD, have signed an agreement to create the shop at AIROD’s facility in Subang, Malaysia. Derco, in conjunction with Hamilton Sundstrand, the original equipment manufacturer, will provide all spares, tooling, technical data and training needed for the propeller shop. Derco is a unit of Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Sikorsky and Hamilton Sundstrand are owned by United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), Hartford, Conn. “Due to the size of the propeller, the logistics associated with trans-oceanic shipments have always presented challenges for the user community,” said Doug Haskins, Derco’s director of technical solutions.


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)
– Ipswitch expanding here

BIOTECH (back to top)
– Switchgrass as fuel touted for energy, cost benefits

– Park Falls mill lands biorefinery grant

– Fuel costs are a hot topic at Farm Technology Days

ECONOMY (back to top)
– Renaissance Learning posts higher earnings

– Forbes ranks Milwaukee in Top 10 cities for young professionals

MANUFACTURING (back to top)
– Oshkosh Corp. to note third-quarter earnings

– Wisconsin unlikely to recoup money given to GM

– Modine could change board elections

LABOR (back to top)
– NewPage adjusts to job cuts

– Domestic-partner benefits pushed

– Shorter workweek for Outagamie County employees studied

SMALL BUSINESS (back to top)
– Appleton coffee shop takes new identity

– New restaurant planned for Two Rivers

INVESTING (back to top)
– Alliant says floods to reduce earnings by 20 cents per share

– Stocks point lower amid fears about financials

– A.O. Smith increases dividend

REAL ESTATE (back to top)
– Progress slow at Deer Creek Inn

AGRIBUSINESS (back to top)
– It’s sweet corn season

– Costs add up quickly for farm machinery

– Farm Tech Opener Gets Good Crowd, Great Weather

– Wisconsin Oat & Wheat Production Forecast is Higher

TRANSPORTATION (back to top)
– Surburban flight: Commuting to work less attractive as gas prices soar

– FAA has clearer view of world’s busiest airport

– Higher water levels buoying port

– State sets aside nearly $150,000 for Hartford airport improvements

– Economy squeezes airport

RETAIL (back to top)
– Retail sales edge up slight 0.1 percent in June

– On economy’s margins, pawnbroker finds business is good

– Miller International to grow business in Canada

REGULATION (back to top)
– Chippewa counil doesn’t act on smoking ban

– State wants money back from GM

– Liquor license revoked at Rosie’s Bar

TOURISM (back to top)
– Rapids set to host 42nd ski tournament

– Kohler-Andrae adding 30 campsites

UTILITIES (back to top)
– Tackling your home-energy bills

– ATC line application moves to study phase

– Federal court ruling not expected to change Dairyland’s plans

– Residents pay for Kewaskum plant upgrades

HEALTH CARE (back to top)
– Nine Wisconsin congressional votes help override Medicare veto

– Health care costs forced up due to Medicaid, uninsured patients

– Associated Bank reports income drop

– Supermarket strategy pays off for small, solid bank

– State banker assures savers

– Baraboo bank’s first half profits rise

– Credit unions report fraudulent phone calls

MANAGEMENT (back to top)
– Packers name Sankey VP of marketing and sales

– School Specialty fights obesity

– Elected officals mixed about MillerCoors HQ plan

– MSOE names Tietyen to lead business center

BUSINESS COLUMNS (back to top)
– Mike Ivey: A sorry state of affairs

– Tannette Johnson-Elie: The Third Ward works for women

Media Partners
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