Archive for the ‘Manufacturing’ Category

TVA CEO takes economic development tour in Northeast Mississippi

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One of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s main missions is economic development, and the utility company’s top executive is seeing first-hand what is happening across its footprint.

“Our job is to help attract and keep bring businesses here, and I want to know why people come here,” said TVA chief executive officer Bill Johnson. “I’m interesting in seeing what we can learn and what more we can do.”

Tecumseh general manager Joe Kulovitz, left, talks to Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson during Johnson's tour of the Verona facility Wednesday.

Tecumseh general manager Joe Kulovitz, left, talks to Tennessee Valley Authority CEO Bill Johnson during Johnson’s tour of the Verona facility Wednesday.

In the past 18 months, more than 6,000 jobs have been created or retained in Northeast Mississippi, with capital investments totaling more than $1.4 billion.

While TVA isn’t directly responsible for those jobs and investment, it has played a key role in providing resources and infrastructure – namely cost-effective electricity – to help economic developers recruit and retain businesses.

Johnson tours the Valley three times a week

On Wednesday, Johnson toured the Tecumseh manufacturing facility in Verona and the Yokohama Tire site in West Point.

At Tecumseh, Johnson toured the facility with general manager Joe Kulovitz and other company officials as they showed a new expansion. Last July, Tecumseh announced it was building its advanced commercial refrigeration compressor.

The $10 million project, with $4 million coming from a low-interest loan from the Mississippi Development Authority and $600,000 in infrastructure and other improvements, could bring 150 jobs in the next five years.

Without MDA and TVA, the project would not have happened, Kulovitz told Johnson. Read the rest of this entry »

Genesis Furniture in Pontotoc closed, 63 laid off

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Genesis Furniture Co. in Pontotoc has closed, according to a notice issued by the Mississippi Department of closed4Employment Security.

The move, announced to employees April 4, affects 63 workers.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dennis Seid

April 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Furniture Brands reaches pension settlement

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Furniture Brands Wind Down Inc., the remnant of bankrupt Furniture Brands International, has reached a deal with its creditors and the  federal Pension Benefit Guaranty CorpHeritage Home Group logo

The settlement, which still needs court approval, has the PBGC reducing its claim against the company from $340 million to  $300 million.

The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Sept. 9. Most of its assets were purchased by KPS Capital Partners, which created Heritage Home Group to serve as the new parent company for Lane, Broyhill, Thomasville and other former FBI companies.

Lane, headquartered in Tupelo, employs several hundred at its Tupelo plant. It recently closed its Saltillo plant, laying off 480 people, and its Verona facility is up for auction.

In November, the PBGC said it would pay $270 million of FBI’s pension costs.

PBGC said it would pay up to the maximum of  $57,500 a year to retired Furniture Brands  employees. The company has about  19,000 current and future retirees. When it filed for Chapter 11, Furniture Brands said it owed $609 million in benefits obligations, but it was only funded about 55 percent, according to PBGC.

In addition, the creditors and PBGC have agreed on a liquidation plan, and if the proceeds are more than $20 million, minus fees and other expenses, then 20 percent of  the PBGC’s share will be made available to unsecured creditors.

A hearing will be held April 28 on the settlement.

Written by Dennis Seid

April 7, 2014 at 10:47 am

Behold Home to open in former TownHouse Furniture in Smithville

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Two furniture industry veterans, Lyle Harris and Larry Todd, have partnered to create Behold Home, a new motion furniture company.

Harris, the former president of American Furniture and Todd, a co-founder of Southern Motion, joined forces with Bo Russell, a Tupelo accountant and attorney, to form Behold Home.

Behold Home isn't manufacturing yet, but it has made some prototypes to show potential customers.

Behold Home isn’t manufacturing yet, but it has made some prototypes to show potential customers.

The company is opening in the former TownHouse Furniture plant in Smithville, which closed late last year.

Behold will employ about 40 as it plans to begin operations in June. It expects to grow to 80 employees or more within three years.

Harris, the company’s president and CEO, said Smithville “felt like home” and said choosing the city and the facility “was an easy decision.”

Behold will initially manufacture motion furniture (reclining chairs, sofas and sectionals) but plans to expand into stationary furniture down the road, Todd said.

The company aims to find a niche in the mid-priced category, and Harris is headed to High Point, N.C., to network at its furniture market this week. He said Behold will consider all markets, which of course includes Tupelo.

Behold Home bought two former TownHouse buildings, a 76,000-square foot main plant plus a 60,000-square-foot warehouse. It also has options on land for future expansion.

Read more in tomorrow’s Daily Journal.


Written by Dennis Seid

April 4, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Heritage Home Group closing another furniture plant

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Heritage Home Group, the parent company of Lane, Broyhill, Thomasville,Drexel Heritage, Henredon, Pearson, Hickory Chair, Lane Venture, Maitland-Smith and La Barge brands, is closing the Pearson plant in High Point, N.C., according to the Lenoir News-Topic. Heritage Home brands

The closure, to be completed by August, will put 86 people out of work.

Heritage Home, which took over the assets of bankrupt Furniture Brands International after it was purchased by private-equity firm KPS Capital in a bankruptcy auction last fall, also announced in January the closure of two Thomasville plants in Thomasville, N.C., resulting in 84 layoffs.

It also said in January it would close Tupelo-based Lane Furniture‘s plant in Saltillo.That move resulted in the  layoff of some 480 people on March 21.


Written by Dennis Seid

March 29, 2014 at 3:07 pm

Lane Furniture’s Verona facility up for auction

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Heritage Home Group, the umbrella company that was once Furniture Brands International, has put 17 properties up for auction, including Lane Furniture’s Verona facility. Lane logo

According to Furniture Today, Hilco Real Estate announced a June 19 deadline for the various properties, which include former manufacturing plants, warehouse and distribution centers and office and administrative buildings in North Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi.

The Verona facility was in recent years an office and distribution center for Lane. The 430,000-square-foot facility is located in the Tupelo Lee Industrial Park South.

The properties up for auction are part of the assets bought by KPS Capital Partners when it bought most of Furniture Brands last fall.


Written by Dennis Seid

March 27, 2014 at 9:47 am

FMC Technologies’ Tupelo plant sold

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FMC Technologies is selling its material handling products business, which includes what it calls its Tupelo plant (it’s actually near Saltillo), to Levine Leichtman Capital Partners FMC Technologies logo

It will rename the business Syntron Material Handling, and it will have its headquarters in Tupelo, the company said.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, is expected to be completed in the second quarter.

According to LLCP:

The material handling business, part of FMC Technologies’ Energy Infrastructure segment, has a long history of providing bulk material handling solutions to industries worldwide. The business – which is headquartered in Tupelo, Miss., and has operations in Changshu, China and Salt Lake City, Utah, and sales personnel in Germany, Mexico, Singapore and Canada – manufactures a diversified product line of conveyor and vibratory equipment used to load, transport and feed bulk materials.

FMC Technologies will retain its engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) systems business supplying material handling systems and equipment to various industries around the world. It is headquartered in Chalfont, Pennsylvania, and has a sales office in Santiago, Chile. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Dennis Seid

March 24, 2014 at 12:56 pm