Friday, February 23, 2018

Local Business

Briefcase 1/28/18

Skin care company moves its operation to Prescott

PRESCOTT — A skin care and grooming products manufacturer has relocated from two plants in Minnesota to a single facility in Pierce County.

Diversified Manufacturing Corp. formally opened its new facility on Friday in the Eagle Ridge Business Park in Prescott, according to a news release from Gov. Scott Walker.

“The State of Wisconsin, with its persuasive and attractive incentive programs, made it an easy choice to set up shop in Prescott,” Ram Motilall, president of Diversified Manufacturing, said in the news release.

He noted “substantial financial help” from the city and state allowed the company to build a 150,000-square-foot facility on land that is large enough to allow for future growth. That help included $520,000 in state income tax credits over the next three years through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.

The building includes a production facility, a laboratory, about 30 offices and a child-care center for employees.

The building is expected to employ about 150 people within the next three years.

CCF Bank earnings grow from tax cut, merger

ALTOONA — Citizens Community Bancorp, parent company of Citizens Community Federal Bank, reported earnings were $1.34 million higher in the most recent quarter when compared to a year ago.

The 2018 fiscal first quarter results reflect a decrease in the bank’s tax rate due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by Congress last month and gains from the completed acquisition of Wells Federal Bank, according to a news release on the earnings report.

Commercial and agricultural loans also continued growing while indirect lending balances declined, the release stated.

Core earnings rose by 140 percent in the quarter that ended on Dec. 31. The company had $1.8 million in core earnings —30 cents per diluted share — compared to about $700,000 — 14 cents per share — in the same quarter a year ago.

The company’s board of directors also approved increasing the annual cash dividend by 25 percent. Shareholders of common stock will get a 20-cent per share dividend on March 8.

Low milk prices worry County Bancorp for ‘18

MANITOWOC — County Bancorp, parent company of Investors Community Bank, reported a slight decline in net income in 2017 when compared to the previous year.

The company, which has a lending office in Eau Claire, posted $10.4 million net income last year, compared to $10.7 million for 2016.

Factoring into the decline was a writedown of real estate owned and revaluation of its deferred tax asset as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved in December, a news release stated.

Timothy J. Schneider, president of County Bancorp and CEO of the bank, did have a cautionary note in the news release about stress on the agricultural market due to low milk prices.

“The Chicago Mercantile Exchange milk price futures are also indicating a lower milk price for most of 2018,” he said. “We continue to be diligent in monitoring our agricultural relationships and work closely with our borrowers to help them manage through these more challenging times.”

Marten’s net income surges on tax cut

MONDOVI — Trucking company Marten Transport reported a spike in net income in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, due mostly to tax cut legislation approved last month.

The company posted net income of $65.1 million for its fourth quarter — compared to $8.3 million a year before.

Of the recent net income, $56.5 million came from a deferred income taxes benefit tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Without that, the net income was $8.6 million, which was a 3.7 percent improvement on the fourth quarter of 2016.

The company’s year-end net income of $90.3 million also was well above the $33.5 million from 2016 due to the tax cut.

Excluding the deferred income taxes benefit, the company’s 2017 net income of $33.8 million was still up 1.1 percent over 2016.

Huebsch Services leader retires after 42 years 

Mary Steinke, general manager of Eau Claire-based Huebsch Services, retired Friday after more than four decades with the family-owned commercial laundry company.

“She started with us as a part-time production employee 42 years ago and finished her career as general manager,” Jim Vaudreuil, president and CEO, noted in a news release.

Steinke will continue as a consultant and adviser to the company.

Huebsch hired Aaron Kasper at the end of December to join the company’s leadership team as operations manager, and he spent this month learning about the business from Steinke.

Kasper’s background is in restaurant management, most recently serving as general manager of the Olive Garden in Eau Claire.

Huebsch specializes in sales and service of floor matting, work uniforms and hygiene products for businesses in west central Wisconsin and the Twin Cities metro area.

Arcadia print house gets good workplace award

ARCADIA — An Arcadia printing business was among 37 companies recognized by trade group Printing Industries of America for creating an outstanding workplace for employees.

Supreme Graphics was among those to get a Best Workplace in the Americas designation, which is determined by a panel of human relations professionals who judged nominees against benchmark categories.

Companies were evaluated on communication, workplace culture, employee resources, benefits, work environment and safety, according to a news release.

Other Wisconsin printing companies recognized were Inland Packaging’s La Crosse and Neenah facilities, Ripon Printers in Ripon, Tailored Label Products of Menomonee Falls, Worzalla of Stevens Point and American Packaging Corp.’s location in Columbus.

Workplace injury rate rises in 2016 in state

MADISON — Reportable workplace injuries and illnesses rose in 2016 in Wisconsin while they declined nationwide.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were 82,700 nonfatal injuries and illnesses reported by Wisconsin employers in 2016, according to a news release from The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene at UW-Madison. That’s an increase from 78,800 in 2015.

The rate of those reportable incidents rose from 3.6 per 100 full-time workers in 2015 to 3.8 in 2016. Nationally, the rate declined from 3.3 to 3.2 cases per 100 workers between those years.

Commonly reported injuries include sprains, muscle strains, tears, pain, fractures, cuts and bruises.

Short Takes

• APG Media of Wisconsin hired Brian Maki on Jan. 2 to serve as director of print and digital advertising for the Leader-Telegram and The Country Today.

Maki’s career in advertising stretches back to 1990, and his previous employers include the Eau Claire Press Co., WEAU TV-13, Tradin’ Post Buyer’s Guide, the Chippewa Herald, Dunn County News, Big Buck Shopper, Chippewa Valley Business Report and Volume One.

• UW-Eau Claire’s College of Business reaffirmed its accreditation recently with the world’s largest and oldest accrediting group for business education. This is the 37th straight year the college has gotten accreditation with the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

• ALTOONA — Business and financial planning firm Woita & Associates, 903 S. Hillcrest Parkway, hired financial adviser Charles Zwiefelhofer to serve individual and business clients. Zwiefelhofer has more than a dozen years of experience in financial advising in the Chippewa Valley.

From staff reports


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