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Foreign investors group buys Racine shopping center
July 21, 2014 04:26 PM
Racine Shopping Centre LLC, an affiliate of a Singapore-based investment group, recently purchased the 135,827-square-foot Racine Centre shopping center at Green Bay Road and Washington Avenue in Racine for $9.28 million, according to a news release.

The deal was brokered by Patrick Gallagher and Matson Holbrook of Siegel-Gallagher, who represented the buyer, and Dan Rosenfeld of Mid-America Real Estate Group, who represented the seller, an affiliate of Regency Centers.

Racine Centre is 92.6 percent occupied. Its tenants include Piggly Wiggly, Xperience Fitness, Dollar Tree and Party City.

This is the second major retail property acquisition in southeastern Wisconsin by the Singapore-based investment group in less than two years. The group also bought the four-building, 104,526-square-foot Meadowbrook Marketplace shopping center at 601-921 Meadowbrook Road in Waukesha in late 2012 for $10.3 million.​

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Cover story: Milwaukee seeks a path forward for cultural & entertainment assets
July 21, 2014 12:13 PM
Most other major American cities have found ways to build NBA arenas to keep or attract teams in recent years.

The question of the moment in Milwaukee is: Can Milwaukee learn from these other cities and find a viable path forward to get a new arena built and keep the Milwaukee Bucks in town? Furthermore, will the public be willing to help finance the preservation of the region's cultural and entertainment assets?

Read about how Cleveland, Oklahoma City and Denver found the resources to build new or remodel their existing arenas, and how Milwaukee could do the same, in the cover story of the new issue of BizTimes Milwaukee magazine.

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Roadrunner acquires Indiana transportation firm
July 21, 2014 12:16 PM
Cudahy-based Roadrunner Transportation Systems Inc. has acquired Integrated Services, ISI Logistics and ISI Logistics South for $13 million.

Kokomo, Ind.-based ISI is a regional logistics company that offers warehousing and transportation services mainly to the automotive industry. It had 2013 revenues of about $21 million, and is expected to be accretive to Roadrunner’s 2014 earnings.

Roadrunner, a leading asset-light transportation and logistics service provider, recently expanded its credit facility from $368 million to $550 million through 2019 and used it to fund the transaction.

“In addition to adding capability to service customers in the Midwest, ISI brings a strong reputation for quality. ISI’s team, led by Mike Taylor, has done an excellent job building relationships with its customers through high service levels and creative solutions. We look forward to working with ISI’s team as we collectively pursue the growth opportunities available to the business.”

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ManpowerGroup revenue up 5.6 percent
July 21, 2014 12:18 PM
Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup today reported second quarter net earnings of $109.8 million, or $1.35 per share, up from $68.2 million, or 87 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2013.

Revenues for the quarter were $5.3 billion, up 5.6 percent from $5 billion in the same period a year ago.

The company attributed the increase partially to a $20 million second quarter 2013 restructuring charge, mostly due to office consolidations and severance costs. In addition, favorable foreign currencies contributed 3 cents per share.

The “Other Southern Europe” operating unit profit was up 379.2 percent year-over-year. Right Management, the workforce consulting arm, was up 72.3 percent from the second quarter of 2013.

"In the second quarter, we saw our revenue growth improve in a number of major operations, including the U.S., U.K. and Italy,” said Jonas Prising, chief executive officer of ManpowerGroup. “This, combined with our continued focus on efficiency and productivity, has resulted in good operational leverage and healthy earnings growth."

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Fire forces closure of Conference Center at Miller Park
July 21, 2014 12:20 PM
An overnight fire at Miller Park has resulted in water damages to several areas, including the Miller Park Conference Center meeting rooms on the Club and Terrace levels, which will be closed until further notice.

The fire started in the kitchen area of the Fridays restaurant inside the park. Fridays, the escalators and elevators in the left field area and the left field Loge concession stand also were damaged will be closed until further notice.

Most of the operations and fan accommodations will be in operation for tonight’s 7:10 p.m. game against the Cincinnati Reds.

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Milwaukee Biz Blog: Wisconsin is ready for e-fairness
July 21, 2014 12:23 PM
Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature should be commended for their work to enact pro-growth policies at the state level that will engender true economic expansion in the Badger State.

Read more in today’s Milwaukee Biz Blog by economist Art Laffer.

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Gitomer: The ultimate response to ‘I want to think about it’
July 21, 2014 12:22 PM
When a customer says “I want to think about it” or “I need some time to think it over” it's one of the most frustrating expressions a salesperson can hear.

Read more about how to deal with it in a new Small Biz Strategies blog by Jeffrey Gitomer.

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Morning Headlines: Walker campaign criticizes Burke and Trek’s outsourcing
July 21, 2014 12:25 PM
Trek Bicycle Corp., which makes bikes for everyone from children on training wheels to competitors in the Tour de France, has found itself in the middle of an entirely different kind of race — the one for Wisconsin governor.

Read more in today’s Wisconsin Morning Headlines.

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Manufacturing Weekly: Kapco purchases Grafton building for expansion
July 21, 2014 12:24 PM
Grafton-based Kapco Inc. recently purchased a building at 983 Badger Circle in Grafton, and has applied to the city to start production operations there.

Read more in today’s Manufacturing Weekly.

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Badger Meter records best quarter ever
July 18, 2014 04:33 PM
Brown Deer-based Badger Meter Inc. today reported its best quarter in company history.

The company recorded net sales of $95.7 million, the most ever in any quarter.
Badger Meter also reported net earnings of $4.8 million, the best second quarter in company history, and a 40.3 percent increase over the $6.3 million net earnings for the second quarter of 2013.

The company’s diluted earnings per share rose to a record 61 cents, up 38.6 percent from 44 cents in the same period a year earlier.
“Our strong second quarter performance was driven by higher sales of municipal water products. Sales of residential municipal water products were up substantially and commercial water product sales also increased. These increases more than offset a slight decline in industrial product sales for the quarter,” said Richard Meeusen, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Badger Meter.
Meeusen said the company is seeing significant increases in sales of two municipal water products that were introduced in 2013. Sales of ORION SE two-way fixed network meter reading systems and the new polymer version of the company’s E-Series line of ultrasonic meters for residential and commercial applications continue to ramp up as they gain acceptance in the market.
“In the municipal water industry, the process from product launch to customer adoption takes some time. As a result, we are also encouraged by the response to our newest product, the BEACON Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) system, which was introduced in January. Badger Meter was the first major water meter company to release a cost-effective cellular-based metering solution to the market. There is considerable interest in starter kits that enable utilities to test BEACON AMA prior to purchasing a complete system and the feedback from utility managers at the recent American Water Works Association (AWWA) annual conference was very positive,” Meeusen said.
“Looking ahead, with two strong quarters behind us, we are cautiously optimistic about the second half of the year,” Meeusen said.

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UMB unveils new space, new leaders
July 18, 2014 12:07 PM
UMB Fund Services announced that chief executive officer John Zader has retired. Tony Fischer has been promoted to president and Maureen Quill has been promoted to chief operating officer to fill the role.

Fischer previously served as executive vice president of business development. He has 31 years of fund industry experience, and joined UMBFS in 2008. He will provide overall organizational leadership, strategic development, fiscal management and business development. Fischer will report to Peter deSilva, chairman of UMBFS and president and chief operating officer of parent company UMB Financial Corp.

Quill previously served as executive vice president of fund services. She joined UMBFS in 1996 and has almost 30 years of fund industry experience. Quill is responsible for providing leadership, oversight, technology and resources to guide the smooth and efficient performance of the firm’s operational areas. She will report to Fischer.

“I have every confidence in Tony and Maureen and their ability to lead UMB Fund Services into the future as an integral part of UMB Financial Corp.,” deSilva said. “Both bring exceptional industry experience and commitment to delivering an excellent customer experience.”

UMB recently moved from its 76,000-square-foot space at 803 W. Michigan St. in downtown Milwaukee to an 88,000-square-foot space in the Schlitz Park office complex, at 235 W. Galena St. in Milwaukee.

It has 240 employees in the office and plans to add another 100 over the next four to five. About 8,000 square feet of extra space is available for expansion in the space, and has not yet been finished, Quill said.

UMB Fund Services has grown 50 percent over the past five years, Quill said. The Milwaukee office had 165 employees five years ago, and now has 240.

UMBFS has designed its new space in a modern style to appeal to its mostly young staff. Recent college graduates are ideal hires, Quill said.

“(The space is) very innovative, it’s very modern, it’s very forward thinking, and that’s how we sell our business,” she said. “Our goal is to bring them in and give them a career, not just a job.”

The company also has 125 employees at its Ogden, UT facility, 30 at its Chadds Ford, Penn. location and 14 at its Kansas City office.
UMBFS is also open to making acquisitions as it actively grows the business, Quill said.

“This is an exciting time at UMB Fund Services as we continue to grow our product offerings and services, as well as our workforce,” Fischer said. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to help lead our continued growth and success.”

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West Bend shopping center sold for $19 million
July 18, 2014 12:10 PM
An affiliate of Inland Real Estate Income Trust, a real estate investment trust sponsored by Oak Brook, Ill.-based Inland Real Estate Investment Corp., recently purchased a four-building shopping center, anchored by a Pick ‘n Save store, in West Bend for $19.1 million, according to state records.

The retail property, located northeast of Paradise Drive and South Main Street, consists of four buildings on a nine acre site: a 68,223-square-foot Pick ‘n Save store, a 7,200-square-foot multi-tenant building with Aspen Dental, Cherry Berry and Sport Clips, a 3,909-square-foot PNC Bank building and a vacant 6,108-square-foot building, formerly occupied by Checker Auto Parts.

The property was sold by South Main Center Inc., an affiliate of Madison-based Ascendant Holdings Real Estate LLC, a commercial real estate investment company.

The property has an assessed value of $12.7 million, according to West Bend records.

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Johnson Controls earnings down on restructuring charges
July 18, 2014 12:13 PM
Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. today reported fiscal third quarter net income of $196 million, or 26 cents per share, down significantly from $572 million, or 80 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2013.

Net sales were $10.8 billion, up from $10.5 billion in the same period a year ago.

The global industrial firm attributed the earnings dip to restructuring and non-recurring items including: 3Q 2014 pre-tax restructuring charges of $162 million related to the sale of the headliner and sun visor portion of its Automotive Interiors business, 3Q 2014 pre-tax losses of $140 million from divested businesses and other transaction-related costs, 3Q2013 non-recurring tax benefits of $140 million and 3Q2013 pre-tax restructuring charges of $143 million.

"Our performance was consistent with the expectations we disclosed in our second quarter earnings call, with strong overall performance by our automotive and power businesses and margin improvement in Building Efficiency," said Alex Molinaroli, chairman and chief executive officer. "The overall non-residential HVAC markets remain challenged, but we are starting to see some increased demand in certain vertical markets. While orders are still lower than last year, the institutional building sector started showing some improvement as we exited the quarter."

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Associated Banc-Corp earnings decline
July 18, 2014 12:15 PM
Green Bay-based Associated Banc-Corp reported second quarter net income of $46.4 million, or 28 cents per share, down from $47.9 million, or 28 cents per share, in the second quarter of 2013.

Net interest income was $168.7 million, up from $160.2 million in the same period a year ago. Average loans were up 3 percent, to $16.6 billion.

Total deposits were $17.3 billion, down from $17.5 billion in the second quarter of 2013. Total assets were $25.7 million, down from $25.8 million in the same period a year ago.

But net mortgage banking income was down 72 percent year-over-year, and net capital markets income was down 58.6 percent.

"We are pleased to report another quarter of solid results,” said Philip Flynn, president and chief executive officer. “Our 2014 results continue to be driven by robust loan growth, particularly in our commercial businesses. We remain focused on expense management and improving operational efficiency. We will continue to be opportunistic in the ways we deploy capital while remaining consistent with our commitment to build long-term shareholder value at Associated."

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Gener8tor names new class
July 18, 2014 12:17 PM
Five new startups have secured spots in the 2014 class at Milwaukee startup accelerator gener8tor. They were chosen from more than 450 applications for the program, which recruits, mentors and trains entrepreneurs leading high-tech business ventures from around the world.

The fifth gener8tor program will include: Project Foundry, a Milwaukee-based company that developed a web-based platform to help students and teachers manage and expedite authentic personalized learning; Beekeeper, a Madison-based company that has developed a software platform to help companies use their data to make smarter decisions; Modern Movement, a Madison-based firm creating the next generation of balance training products; Stock Mfg. Co., a Chicago-based clothing brand that uses traditional craftsmanship with an innovative sales model; and HITLIST, a Provo, UT company that has developed a SaaS application to increase engagement in online ads.

The 12-week program begins today. The accelerator provides an initial $20,000 cash investment and each company will receive another $50,000 in follow-on investment from gener8tor and investment partners Angels on the Water and Wisconsin Investment Partners.

Since the first class in June 2012, the 23 companies graduating from the program have raised almost $25 million in financing and created more than 150 jobs.

“The Milwaukee 2014 program brings a diverse mix of companies from Wisconsin and across the country,” said Troy Vosseller, co-founder of gener8tor. “We’re excited for these five great companies to join the Milwaukee and gener8tor startup communities.”

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