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Business Briefs

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Quanex Building Products Corp.
, the parent company of TruSeal Technologies, has announced plans to permanently close its plant in Barbourville as part of a consolidation and restructuring strategy for its insulated glass spacer business. The closing, which is expected to be complete by the end of next summer, will result in the loss of more than 200 jobs.

Daicel Safety Tube Processing,
a Japanese automotive components manufacturer, is investing nearly $9 million to locate a new manufacturing facility in Beaver Dam that will produce inflator components. The company is building a 35,000-s.f. plant in the Bluegrass Crossing Business Centre that is expected to be complete by June 2012. Daicel plans to hire 25 new workers to staff the plant, bringing its total Kentucky employment to 525. Daicel already operates two other manufacturing plants in Beaver Dam that employ a total of approximately 500.

Lindsey Wilson College
has received a $400,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission to support its recently expanded nursing program. The LWC Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program has offered pre-nursing curriculum since fall 2009 and professional nursing courses since fall 2010. The first class of graduates will complete their program in May 2013. The program is projected to train 54 nurses within the first two years.

Thomas More College
has launched a new program that allows qualified students to complete a traditional four-year bachelor’s degree in three years. Annual tuition and fees for the three-year program are $15,000, with students taking 18 hours of credits in the fall and spring semesters and 12 hours in two summer terms. While the TMC3 program compresses the time frame for the degree attainment, the classes themselves are not accelerated.  Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Thomas More College Brad Bielski said the program was developed with a sensitivity to students’ finances and time constraints.

St. Elizabeth Healthcare
will launch the first emergency department-based telepsychiatry program in Northern Kentucky this winter thanks to a $100,000 Social Innovation Fund grant announced by The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. The high-tech program will enable patients experiencing mental health emergencies to receive timely, “face-to-face” professional evaluations at all five St. Elizabeth emergency departments in four Northern Kentucky counties.

Construction has begun on Flex Film’s new manufacturing plant in Elizabethtown’s T. J. Patterson Industrial Park. The facility will be the first United States location for the India-based flexible packaging company. The project will initially create 125 new jobs and a $90 million investment, ultimately doubling in scope for a total investment of at least $180 million and 250 jobs. Flex Films has indicated that the first phase of the project will be operational by the end of 2012. The second phase will begin shortly thereafter.

Erlanger-based WILD Flavors has acquired certain assets of A.M. Todd Ingredients | Flavors, a Michigan company that is a global leader in providing natural mint oils and flavors, with sales of more than $100 million. The A.M. Todd India PVT. Ltd.’s location in Asia is in one of the main worldwide geographical areas for growing mint plants and will allow for increased procurement of mint varieties. In addition to purchasing A.M. Todd’s natural mint business, WILD also acquired the company’s unique science and technologies for the development and production of organic flavors, natural ingredients and plant extracts, which will enhance WILD’s natural flavor, color, and ingredient offerings. Financial details of the acquisition were not released.

Gateway Community and Technical College
has been awarded an Advanced Technology Education grant by the National Science Foundation that will enable the college to introduce mechatronics training to Grant County High School students. Mechatronics is a multidisciplinary field that combines mechanical and electrical engineering with computer science to manage and operate complex systems. The $672,350 grant will be used to purchase a mechatronics trainer – a piece of high-tech equipment that simulates the operations of a manufacturing facility – and to develop business and entrepreneurship curriculum modules for mechatronics and other technical programs.

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has granted approval for Ellis Park to add Instant Racing machines, a pari-mutual electronic system that allows players to wager on previously run horse races. The commission also approved the track’s request to be open year-round for simulcasting, beginning Jan. 1, as well as the exclusive right to offer live Thoroughbred racing on July 4. Track officials expect to add between 65 and 86 full-time, year-round jobs as a result of the addition of Instant Racing.

Hydraulics manufacturer Propulsys is investing nearly $9.5 million to upgrade its headquarter operations in Hopkinsville, where it employs more than 200 people. Founded as White Hydraulics Inc. in 1977 and now in its second generation of family ownership, Propulsys has become a leading manufacturer of hydraulic drive products. In addition to its manufacturing plant in Hopkinsville, Propulsys operates a manufacturing plant in China and has sales and distribution offices in the United States, China and Europe.

Rev-A-Shelf LLC,
a Jeffersontown company that produces cabinet storage and organizational products, has acquired Tresco International Ltd. Co., a lighting company headquartered in North Lima, Ohio. The acquisition of Tresco’s product line marks the introduction of lighting as a new business division within Rev-A-Shelf and will allow distributors to promote a lighting product that will be shipped and supported through Rev-A-Shelf. Rev-A-Shelf was established in 1978 as a division of Jones Plastic & Engineering and currently employs approximately 250 people at its 200,000-s.f. facility in Jeffersontown. Financial details of the Tresco acquisition were not disclosed.

wrapped up its fall meet with record attendance levels and strong gains in all-sources handle that was buoyed by large average field sizes. Attendance for the 17-day meet totaled a record 250,163; the previous record was 244,145, set in the spring of 2006 for a 15-day meet. Keeneland’s November Breeding Stock Sale, held Nov. 7-17, also produced record figures, with gross receipts for the 11-day sale rising 41.4 percent over last year’s 13-day sale.  The top sale was $8.5 million, paid for recent Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic winner Royal Delta. Twenty-three horses sold for $1 million or more.

Lexmark International’s board of directors has approved initiating a regular quarterly cash dividend of 25 cents per share. “With Lexmark’s strong liquidity position and long history of solid cash generation, we feel confident that we can continue to pursue acquisitions to support the growth of the company while returning excess cash to our shareholders via the initiation of a quarterly dividend and through our share repurchase program,” said Paul Rooke, Lexmark chairman and CEO. Company officials said future declarations of dividends are subject to board of director approval and may be adjusted as business needs or market conditions change.

The Lexington Herald-Leader reports that a study commissioned by the  Fédération Équestre Internationale found that the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games resulted in a direct economic impact of $233 million and a total economic impact between $373 million and $396 million. Those figures are significantly higher than the $201 million estimated by a state study. According to FEI figures, some 507,000 people attended the 16-day event.

ACS, a Xerox Company, is adding 200 new positions at its call center in Lexington to help support growing demand from its clients. The company currently employs some 3,000 in Lexington and approximately 5,000 in Kentucky.

Churchill Downs Inc.
plans to lease office space for its corporate staff in a new building now under construction at the University of Louisville’s ShelbyHurst Office Campus. CDI’s executive management team, including Chairman and CEO Robert L. Evans, will have offices at the new location, as will the CDI corporate functions that have been centralized in Louisville over the last decade, including corporate communications, finance, human resources, information technology, investor relations, legal services and purchasing. The management and operations teams for United Tote, CDI’s totalizator company, will also locate at ShelbyHurst. Current plans call for CDI’s corporate staff to move to the new office space in March 2012.

Drexel Metals, a supplier of equipment and materials for the metal roofing industry, will locate a new facility in Louisville to provide service to the South-Central and Midwestern United States. The Pennsylvania-based company is investing approximately $3 million in the Louisville location and will create 25 new jobs. Drexel also has locations in Colorado and Florida.

Two Louisville coffee companies, Heine Brothers and VINT Coffee, have announced plans to merge, giving the combined company a total of 13 locations. “Given that our locations match up well without much geographic overlap, we thought now would be the logical time to bring these two strong businesses together to make them even stronger,” said VINT partner Chuck Schnatter. “We plan to run the two businesses independently for the foreseeable future while we do some research over the next six to 12 months to determine what our employees and customers love best about each of our cultures, values and business practices to help the partnership evolve and grow.”

Managed services company Peak 10 Inc. has opened its third enterprise-class facility in Louisville. The 11,500-s.f. addition brings Peak 10’s total footprint in Louisville to nearly 25,000 s.f. and is the company’s 20th data center facility within its 10 U.S. markets. The Louisville-based company is also adding a third enterprise-class data center facility in Nashville.

Greater Louisville Inc. – the Metro Chamber of Commerce has organized its first “Cultural Awareness Reconnaissance Tour,” with India serving as the inaugural destination. GLI is offering the tour as a way to help area businesses and citizens discover more about the potential in a country with a population of more than 1.2 billion. With U.S. investment estimated at $18 billion, India is the United States’ largest trading and investment partner. The nine-day trip will take place March 26-April 3.

MD2U Management, a company that provides in-home medical care for patients with chronic and acute illnesses, is investing $1.7 million to expand its Louisville headquarters and plans to add 50 new jobs to its existing staff of 22. “This new expanded space will allow MD2U to serve more home-bound and home-limited patients in the setting that they prefer, in their home,” said Dr. Mike Benfield, CEO of MD2U. “Making house calls to the chronically ill gives patients access to great care in a low-cost environment and often prevents costly emergency room visits and hospitalizations.”

Humana Inc. has teamed with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. to study key issues and deliver interventions to improve the management of chronic conditions such as pain, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. The companies say the collaboration will leverage Humana’s experience with making healthcare more affordable for seniors and Pfizer’s expertise in researching and developing medicines to treat chronic conditions.

Jim Justice II, owner of West Virginia’s famed Greenbrier resort, purchased all 5,529 acres of the Anderson Circle Farm in Mercer County at auction last month for $25 million. Justice comes from a family of coal miners and inherited millions that his father accrued as a coal operator and businessman. After selling his West Virginia coal holdings several years ago, he has focused more on the agriculture sector, becoming one of the largest grain operators in this region of the country. Justice told The (Danville) Advocate-Messenger that he plans to keep Anderson Circle entirely as a farming operation, raising purebred Limousin cattle and Thoroughbreds and growing “cash grains.”

Alltech, a global animal health and nutrition company headquartered in Nicholasville, is planning to increase its field staff by 30 percent over the next year as the company expands its reach in local markets. The company currently has 2,650 employees located in 128 countries.

Adcom Wire Co.
is closing its manufacturing plant in Nicholasville, where it produces drawn steel wire for mattress springs. The company, which is owned by Missouri-based Leggett & Platt Inc., has been located in Nicholasville since 1970 and currently employs 68 people. According to Leggett & Platt, the closure is to be complete by mid-December and is part of a larger plan to consolidate operations.

Dippin’ Dots Inc.
has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a result of a failure to reach an agreement with its secured lender, Regions. The company, which produces unique ice cream “beads” using liquid nitrogen, will continue to operate as usual as it works to restructure.

Shoreline Steel South, a national supplier of domestic interlocking cold-formed steel-sheet piling, is investing nearly $1.2 million to locate a 20,000-s.f. manufacturing plant in Paducah. The Paducah location gives the Michigan-based company a strategic logistical advantage for shipping products throughout the United States, allowing the company to gain customers by offering lower freight costs. Construction is expected to begin in the spring with completion anticipated by the end of 2012. The company plans to hire 13 people for the Paducah location.

US Foods is closing its plant in Paducah, resulting in the loss of some 240 jobs. The Illinois-based company is one of the city’s largest employers and ranks as one of the nation’s largest private companies, with more than $18 billion in annual revenue. The company plans to move the Paducah operations to its Memphis location, which US Foods representatives have said will reduce costs and increase efficiency.

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents has authorized the sale of up to $21.6 million in bonds to plan and construct a new student residence hall facility. The 83,000-s.f. suite-style housing facility is expected to be complete by fall 2013.

GR Spring & Stamping, an automotive parts supplier, is investing $1.7 million to add 30,000-s.f. to its Richmond plant. The Michigan-based company currently has a work force of 103 in Richmond and plans to add 25 additional positions over the next several years.

Outdoor furniture manufacturer Brown Jordan International plans to locate a new distribution center in Simpsonville, creating 12 new jobs. The nearly $4 million investment entails the purchase of an existing 84,000-s.f. facility that will handle direct-to-customer sales, replacement parts fulfillment and returns.

The former Somerset Refinery plant has been sold at auction to an undisclosed buyer, according to a report by The Commonwealth Journal.  The refinery, which originally began operating back in the 1920s, was purchased in 2008 by property developer Michael Grunberg for $2.2 million after filing for bankruptcy, but ultimately ended up closing its doors in February 2010. According to the auction agent, there were five bidders from several states, including New York, Ohio, Washington and Tennessee.

Kentucky employers will see a reduction in their annual assessment for workers’?compensation insurance premiums beginning Jan. 1, 2012. In a decision approved by Kentucky’s Workers’ Compensation Funding Commission Board of Directors, the rate for all employers in Kentucky will be reduced from 6.5 percent to 6.28 percent.  It is the first rate reduction since 2006 and the lowest rate since the funding commission was established in 1978.

Kentucky’s newest interstate highway – Interstate 69 – was officially unveiled in late October. I-69 will eventually run from the Ohio River at Henderson to the Tennessee border at Fulton, but the initial, designated segment is 55 miles long, running from around Eddyville to Nortonville. It includes 38 miles of the Wendell Ford/Western Kentucky Parkway, which will be upgraded to federal interstate standards in several areas, and 17 miles of I-24, which will bear dual signs for both interstate routes.