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Akron attorney Kopp named head of Ohio State Bar Association

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 29, 2016

Akron attorney Ronald S. Kopp, administrative partner at Roetzel & Andress LPA, is the new president of the Ohio State Bar Association. Kopp takes office on July 1.
Kopp has a bachelor’s degree from Miami University and his law degree from The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law. He joined Roetzel in 1979, where he has spent his entire career. He focuses his practice on business litigation and corporate disputes.
He is former president of the Akron Bar Association and is a founding member of the Akron Bar Foundation. He has served on a number of Ohio State Bar Association committees.
Kopp is chairman of the Leadership Akron Board of Trustees. He is the secretary of the John S. Knight Memorial Journalism Fund and the Welty Family Foundation. He also has been a trustee for United Disability Services, the Summit County Historical Society and the Akron General Medical Center Foundation. He is a past president of Fairlawn Country Club.
 

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Schaeffler to spend $60 million to expand Wooster plant, add 250 jobs

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 29, 2016

Germany-based Schaeffler will spend $60 million to expand its Wooster transmission component manufacturing plant, where it already is the city’s largest employer.
The investment will add 250 jobs to the facility’s current 1,767 employees.
Schaeffler will add 91,000 square feet by 2017, including manufacturing space and office space.
The Wooster plant designs and makes transmission system components, primarily torque converters, for original equipment vehicle manufacturers around the world.
“We are thrilled to have Schaeffler expanding in our community,” Wooster Mayor Bob Breneman said in a statement. “Schaeffler is the largest employer in our city’s history, and has been an excellent corporate partner for our community.”
 

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Ohio Attorney General sues company that tricked customers

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: April 29, 2016

The Ohio Attorney General has sued a company that defrauded consumers into thinking their computers were infected.

 

Here's the details:

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today announced a lawsuit against a telemarketer accused of tricking consumers into thinking their computers were infected with a virus in order to take their money. Dozens of consumers across Ohio are believed to have been affected.

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A. Schulman Inc. opens new China factory

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 28, 2016

Fairlawn polymer company A. Schulman Inc. has opened a new factory in China to make color masterbatch materials.
The factory, in the Changshu High Tech Industrial Park, will make color additives used for packaging, automotive, agricultural, sports, leisure and home customers in China and elsewhere in the Asia Pacific region. A. Schulman makes plastic compounds, powders and resins.
The factory will be A. Schulman’s second wholly owned plant in China.
“Today’s opening signals a new chapter in our steadily growing presence in China and the surrounding region,” Derek Bristow, A. Schulman’s senior vice president and general manager - Asia Pacific, said in a statement.

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TimkenSteel beats 1st quarter expectations, shares rise

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 28, 2016

TimkenSteel had a better-than expected first quarter even as it lost money in large part because of low oil prices and cheap imported steel competition.
The Canton steelmaker reported losing $13.6 million, or 31 cents per share, on revenue of $217.9 million. That compares with a profit of $6.9 million, or 15 cents per share, on revenue of $388.7 million a year ago.
Results beat analyst expectations.
Shares of TimkenSteel rose 15 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $13.07 as of 12:31 p.m.
“Our employees helped us achieve better-than-expected results in the quarter. They continue to reduce costs and capture new sales,” Tim Timken, chairman, chief executive officer and president said in a statement. “Our performance also benefited from conditions in several of our markets, with industrial showing positive movement and automotive demand remaining strong. We continue to face a challenging year, though, with energy markets still weak and imports pressuring price in spot markets. Everyone at TimkenSteel remains focused on the priorities that enable us to compete in this environment and emerge a stronger company.”

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Diebold shares fall on 1st quarter results, lower expectations

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 28, 2016

Diebold shares fell in early trading Thursday after the Green ATM maker’s first quarter results came in below analyst expectations and the company lowered its full-year earnings outlook.
Diebold reported earning $168.2 million, or $2.56 a share, on revenue of $509.6 million for the quarter. Net income reflected the February sale of Diebold’s security business to Securitas AB and a hedging strategy used as part of its upcoming purchase of German ATM maker Wincor Nixdorf. Diebold a year ago reported a loss of $2.8 million, or 4 cents per share, on higher revenue of $574.8 million.
Revenue was hurt by currency fluctuations as well as lower product revenue in China, Brazil and North America, the company said.
First quarter adjusted earnings and revenue fell short of analyst expectations.
Shares were down $1.44, or 5.2 percent, to $26.34 as of 12:17 p.m.
During our first quarter, we delivered on several positive strategic developments. However, our operating results fell short of our expectations due to lower hardware volume, particularly in emerging markets,” Andy W. Mattes, Diebold president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Services revenue in our financial self-service business, however, increased approximately 5 percent in constant currency during the quarter, reflecting our continued emphasis on growing this higher-value business.”
Diebold’s first quarter results validate the company’s strategy to become a “services-led, software enabled company”, Mattes said.
Diebold said it now expects to earn 70 to 95 cents a share for the year, down from previous guidance of $1.15 to $1.35 a share. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to range from $1.45 to $1.60 a share, lower than previous guidance of $1.55 to $1.70 a share.
Revenue is expected to range from a drop of 2 percent to flat, compared to previous guidance of staying flat, the company said.
 

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Myers Industries elects new board chairman; 2 new directors join

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 27, 2016

F. Jack Liebau Jr. is the newly elected board chairman of Akron-based plastics and rubber manufacturer and tool distributor Myers Industries Inc.
Liebau, former partner and portfolio manager for Primecap Management Company, has been a Myers director since 2015.
Also elected to the Myers board are: Daniel R. Lee, President and CEO of Full House Resorts, Inc. and Jane Scaccetti, CEO and founding partner of Drucker & Scaccetti, an accounting and tax advisory firm. They succeed Robert B. Heisler Jr. and Phillip T. Blazek on the Myers board.
“It is an honor to be named chairman of the Myers’ board, and on behalf of the company I would like to thank outgoing board members Yank Heisler and Phil Blazek for their valuable service,” Liebau said in a statement. “I look forward to working with the Myers’ board and management as we develop our enterprise strategy and execute on our growth initiatives, with our goal of increasing long-term shareholder value.”

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Timken shows 1st quarter profit compared to loss a year ago

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 27, 2016

Bearings maker Timken Co. reported fewer sales but a profit for its first quarter compared to a loss a year ago.
Shares for the Jackson Township manufacturer fell in early Wednesday afternoon trading. Shares were down 98 cents, or 2.7 percent, to $35.52 as of 1:06 p.m. Earnings and revenue results came in higher than analyst expectations.
Timken reported net income of $62.9 million, or 78 cents per share, on revenue of $684 million for the quarter ending March 31. That compares to a loss of $135.2 million, or $1.54 a share, on revenue of $722.5 million in the first quarter of 2015.
Adjusted net income of $36.9 million or 46 cents per share was down from $44.2 million or 50 cents per share for the first quarter of 2015.
Not including the impact of currency, sales fell 2.5 percent primarily due to market weakness in most sectors. Timken sales were helped by growth in the automotive market and by acquisitions and divestitures.
“During the quarter, we executed well and delivered first-quarter results in line with our expectations even though market conditions globally remain weak, particularly in commodity-related sectors,” Richard G. Kyle, Timken president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we expect continued challenging market conditions in 2016. However, we are reaffirming our full-year earnings outlook, confident in our ability to win new business and deliver on our cost-reduction initiatives.”
Timken expects 2016 revenue to be down about 5 percent from 2015, in part because of currency declines. Earnings per share are expected to range from $1.65 to $1.75. Adjusted earnings per share are expected to be $1.90 to $2.
 

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Goodyear shares fall in early trading on first quarter results

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 27, 2016

Goodyear shares fell as the company’s first quarter revenue and income were down from a year ago, global tire sales rose and segment operating income hit a record.
The Akron tire maker also reaffirmed its financial outlook for the year.
Shares dropped in early trading Wednesday – shares were down $3, or 9.2 percent, to $29.78, as of 11:27 a.m. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s adjusted earnings beat analyst estimates by a penny but revenue was $220 million below expectations.
Revenue and earnings were hurt in large part by Goodyear’s deconsolidation of its Venezuala operations at the end of 2015 and a strong U.S. dollar.
Goodyear reported net income of $184 million, or 68 cents per share, on revenue of $3.7 billion for the quarter ending March 31. That compares to net income of $224 million, or 82 cents per share, on revenue of slightly more than $4 billion a year ago.
When adjusted for one-time factors, Goodyear said it earned 72 cents per share on net income of $195 million, up from an adjusted 54 cents per share and $148 million in net income for the first quarter of 2015.
Goodyear sold 41.5 million tires globally, up 2 percent from a year ago, largely because of growth in its Asia Pacific markets.
Goodyear reported record segment operating income of $419 million.
“We are very pleased with our strong first quarter results,” Rich Kramer, chairman, chief executive officer and president, said in a statement.
Kramer noted in a conference call with industry analysts that Goodyear is improving the profitability of its original equipment tire sales to vehicle manufacturers, while consumer tire sales were flat.
This was the first quarter when sales and earnings reflected Goodyear’s combination of its North American and Latin American units into a single Americas unit. The new Americas unit sold 18 million tires compared to 19.2 a year ago. Segment operating income was $260 million, up 5 percent from $248 million in 2015.
“We had a very strong first quarter in the Americas,” Kramer said.
The Americas results included the deconsolidation of Venezuela operations and the sale of Goodyear’s Dunlop Tires North America business.
Goodyear said earnings in its Asia Pacific segment rose 18 percent, while earnings in its Europe, Middle East and Africa segment were up 10 percent from a year ago.

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Akron accounting firm BCG & Co. to be purchased by Sikich

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 26, 2016

Akron accounting and wealth management firm BCG & Co. is getting a new owner to go along with its new headquarters that just broke ground off White Pond Drive.

Illinois-based Sikich is purchasing BCG.

BCG and Sikich formally announced the deal, which is expected to close by June 1, early Tuesday evening. BCG was still in the process of notifying its clients late Tuesday afternoon.
BCG, founded in 1986, will remain in Akron under the name Sikich and will move into the new 34,500-square-foot building later this year at White Pond Office Park. BCG is made up of Brockman, Coats, Gedelian & Co., BCG Systems Inc. and BCG Wealth Advisors LLC.
This will be the third Akron-area accounting firm to be purchased by a much larger business in recent history.
Akron firm Bruner Cox on June 1 will merge with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
Also, Bath Township-based accounting firm SS&G was purchased in early 2015 by global accounting firm BDO.
BCG & Co., which has annual revenue of more than $18 million, is the largest ever corporate acquisition for Sikich. Sikich, founded in 1982, has more than 650 employees and is listed among then nation’s 35 largest public accounting firms.
BCG & Co. staff will continue to work out of the firm’s offices in Akron and Atlanta, Sikich said in a news release.
“We are excited to establish a presence in Akron and Atlanta with a firm that holds a proven record of success and broad-based expertise,” Sikich Chief Executive Officer Jm Sikich said in a statement. “The BCG & Co. team will be a valuable addition to Sikich and our clients. They will help build our talent base and bolster our service offerings and knowledge in key industries as we work together to grow as a firm and increase our presence in northeast Ohio.”
BCG & Co.’s technology office in Atlanta will continue to operate under Sikich.
“We are excited to join the Sikich team,” David Brockman, co-founder and managing partner of BCG & Co., said in a statement. “Sikich is a growing national firm that operates at the forefront of technology. Culture fit was our biggest priority in making this move, and Sikich offers valuable resources that will provide new opportunities for our employees and increased value for our clients. The move will also enable us to continue to enhance our offerings and help clients solve complex problems by integrating expertise from a wide mix of disciplines.”
Sikich’s in 2015 acquired Altico Advisors, a technology firm near Boston, and the Wisconsin-based audit, accounting and tax practice of Jannsen + Co.

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J.M. Smucker of Orrville touts its promotions featuring Olympic athletes

By Katie Byard Published: April 26, 2016

The J.M. Smucker Co. [NYSE: SJM], the Orrville-headquartered food company, said Tuesday it will feature seven Team USA athletes, including U.S. Olympic champions and current U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls,. training to represent the United States at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this summer.
Here are the athletes:
Conor Dwyer, swimming, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and five-time World Champion. He won gold as part of the 4x200 meter free relay team in 2012 and also has won nine World Championship medals.
Allyson Felix, track and field, four-time Olympic gold medalist who will be training to compete in a fourth Olympic Games. Felix won silver medals in the 200 meters in both 2004 and 2008 and won gold medals in the 4x400 meter relay in 2008 and in the 200 meters, the 4x100 meter relay, and the 4x400 meter relay in 2012.
Ali Krieger, soccer, a star midfielder and defender, Krieger played a key role in the team’s 2015 Women’s World Cup Championship as part of a defense that held opponents scoreless for a record 540 minutes during the tournament. She is also captain of the Washington Spirit of the National Women’s Soccer League and is looking forward to competing in her first Olympic Games.
Shawn Johnson, gymnastics, four-time Olympic gold medalist in the Beijing 2008 Games, including gold in the balance beam and three silver medals for the women’s gymnastics team competition, individual all-around competition, and floor exercise. Johnson will be on-site in Rio serving as a correspondent.
Aly Raisman, gymnastics. She was the most decorated American gymnast at the London 2012 Games. As team captain, Raisman helped lead the U.S. women’s team to the gold medal in the team competition and went on to become the first American gymnast to win gold in the individual floor exercise while also winning bronze on balance beam.
April Ross, beach volleyball. She began her beach volleyball career in 2006, finding near instant international success. Ross and her volleyball partner reached the gold medal round at the London 2012 Games, winning the silver medal.
Melissa Stockwell, paratriathlete. She is a three-time World Champion in Paratriathlon, a sport making its debut in Rio. After a severe leg injury in the Iraq War and a medical retirement from the Army with a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star Medal, Stockwell turned her lifelong passion for athletics into a dream to compete in the Paralympics. She competed in the 2008 Paralympics as part of the U.S. women’s swim team and carried the American flag during the Closing Ceremony.
Smucker is an official sponsor of the 2016 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams. Smucker also is the presenting sponsor of the USOC’s official Team USA App, which features exclusive Team USA content including the latest news, features, photos, and videos on Team USA. The Team USA App can be downloaded at TeamUSA.org/MobileApp.
 

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FirstMerit first-quarter earnings beat analysts' expectations

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: April 26, 2016

Akron-based FirstMerit Corp. reported first-quarter profits of $54.1 million or 31 cents per share.

The bank also said its planned merger with Huntington Bancshares was on schedule, with merger-related costs of $5.5 million, or $3.5 million or 34 cents per share after tax.

A year ago for the same period, the bank reported profits of $57.1 million or 33 per share.

"Our results in the first quarter of 2016 reflect strong performance throughout the organization.   We successfully achieved solid loan growth, continued to provide high levels of customer service and remain focused on expense management," said Paul G. Greig, chairman, president and CEO, FirstMerit Corporation.

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Fairlawn's Risk International in line for tax credit; gets money from state if it creates jobs

By Katie Byard Published: April 25, 2016

Corporate risk management company Risk International Inc. of Fairlawn plans to create 18 full-time equivalent jobs, generating $1.3 million in new annual payroll, as a result of the company’s planned expansion.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority on Monday approved a Job Creation Tax Credit —with an estimated value of $100,145 — shoudl it go in Fairlawn.

A “Scope of Work” document, provided by Ohio’s Development Services Agency, argues that the tax credit is incentive for Risk International to grow employment Ohio as opposed to North Carolina.
The document says, “Risk International has been progressively moving some employees from its Ohio office to its North Carolina office over the past year. The company is now at a critical point in its decision making process of whether to invest in future growth in Ohio or North Carolina.”
The credit would be paid over a period of six years — if the company creates the 18 jobs in Fairlawn. The company must prove through reporting to the state’s Development Services Agency that it has created the jobs. Additionally, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority requires the company to maintain operations in Ohio for at least nine years.
Currently, Risk International’s annual payroll at its Fairlawn operations is $3.99 million.
Ohio Job Creation Tax Credits are measured as a percentage of the state income tax withholdings for all new employees hired under the tax credit program.
In addition to Fairlawn, Risk International has locations in Columbus, Cleveland, Charlotte, N.C., and London, England, and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or kbyard@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her @KatieByardABJ on www.facebook.com/KatieByardABJ.

 

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Oklahoma energy company to lay off 87 at Canton offices

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 22, 2016

It appears that continued low oil prices will lead to the loss of 87 jobs in Canton.
Performance Technologies LLC, an Oklahoma company that works in the energy field, has filed paperwork saying it will lay off as many as 87 people at its Canton offices starting June 17. A small maintenance crew will be retained, the company said.
The company provides what it calls pressure-pumping services to stimulate wells largely for the oil and natural gas fracking industry in Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio.
The company said the decision to close most of its operations at 1575 Trump Ave. NE was “due to the continued industry downturn.”
“While we are fervently pursuing work, it is unclear when we will be able to secure it,” the company wrote in a letter to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Oil prices have plunged in large part because OPEC nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, decided to keep well production high even as the price for a barrel of oil fell from highs over $100 and collapsed in 2015 to a 10-year low below $30 in January. Prices have since rebounded to more than $40 a barrel.
The low oil prices have economically damaged many U.S. fracking industry companies, causing them to throttle back on production.

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Craft cocktails come to Akron, plus great places to quaff under sun or stars (podcast)

By Amanda Garrett Published: April 22, 2016
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Food columnist Katie Byard talks to reporter Amanda Garrett about two new craft cocktail bars that have opened within blocks of each other -- the Northside Speakeasy near Luigi's and Chop and Swizzle,in an old fire station behind St. V's church off of West Market Street.

Northside has secret entrances and make-your-own Manhattan kits. Chop and Swizzle brings the smoke and the fire.

They also talk about where they plan to drink now that springtime has sprung -- Katie has ideas from Kent and Green to downtown Akron and Kenmore. Amanda still has a crush on Mustard Seed at Highland Square.

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Shareholders vote in Diebold directors

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 21, 2016

Shareholders of Green-based ATM maker Diebold Inc. elected the following people to the board of directors at the company's annual meeting:
• Patrick W. Allender, retired executive vice president, chief financial officer and secretary, Danaher Corp., Washington, D.C.
• Phillip R. Cox, president and chief executive officer, Cox Financial Corp., Cincinnati
• Richard L. Crandall, managing partner, Aspen Venture LLC, Aspen, Colo.
• Gale S. Fitzgerald, retired president and director, TranSpend, Inc., Bernardsville, N.J.
• Gary G. Greenfield, partner, Court Square Capital Partners, New York
• Andy W. Mattes, president and chief executive officer, Diebold
• Robert S. Prather, Jr., managing director, Heartland Media, Atlanta
• Rajesh K. Soin, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Soin International LLC, Beavercreek, Ohio
• Henry D.G. Wallace, non-executive chairman of the board, Diebold
• Alan J. Weber, chief executive officer, Weber Group LLC, Greenwich, Conn.

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Diebold to pay second quarter dividend

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 21, 2016

Green ATM-maker Diebold Inc. will pay a second-quarter dividend of 28.75 cents per share on June 10 to shareholders of record as of May 20.

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Davey Tree of Kent subsidiary buys Connecticut company

By Katie Byard Published: April 18, 2016

A subsidiary of Davey Tree Expert Co. in Kent has acquired Total Tree Care Inc. in Connecticut.
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Total Tree Care, founded in 1957, serves residential clients in Connecticut. The six employees from Total Tree Care who are joining Davey will be based out of the Hamden, Conn., office of Davey subsidiary The Care of Trees.
Davey, one of the largest employee-owned ventures in the country, has acquired more than a dozen companies since 2013.

 

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Parker Hannifin looking to close Akron factory where 75 work

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 18, 2016

Parker Hannifin Corp. is looking to close its Akron factory that does machining and assembles pneumatic cylinders. The facility has 75 employees, most of whom are represented by the United Auto Workers union.
Work would be transferred to other Parker facilities, the company said in a press release.
The Akron plant, at 1000 Home Ave., operates at a loss despite efforts to improve profitability there, Parker said in its release. The Pneumatic division is part of Parker’s Automation Group.
“The company is currently meeting with the union to discuss its proposal and no final decisions have been made,” the company said. “The closure plan would affect approximately 58 union employees represented by the United Auto Workers Local 294 and approximately, 17 office employees. The plans calls for a two-phase shut down over the next five months.”
Parker Hannifin said its plan would reduce fixed costs to better manage profitability and help the division remain globally competitive.
“The plan in no way reflects the effort and dedication of our associates at this location who have worked hard over the years to make this operation viable,” Parker said. “We are prepared to offer outplacement assistance and severance packages to affected employees, pending discussions with bargaining unit representatives.”

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Goodyear "lean" book author to get national award

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 15, 2016

Goodyear’s Norbert Majerus will be given the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award for his book, “Lean-Driven Innovation: Powering Product Development at The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.”
Majerus is Goodyear’s lean champion in research and development.
Majerus will receive the award at the five-day, 28th International Shingo Conference, April 25 through 29, in Washington, DC.
“Receipt of the Shingo Research and Professional Publication Award signifies an author’s significant contribution to advancing the body of knowledge regarding enterprise excellence,” Ken Snyder, executive director of the Shingo Institute, said in a statement.
In describing the lean principles that Goodyear validated during its R&D transformation, the book presents a roadmap for how readers can leverage lean to successfully transform innovation processes in their own companies, the institute said.
As part of the award process, authors invite accomplished professionals and trained examiners from the Shingo Institute to thoroughly review their publications. Shingo examiners select recipients based on a rigorous set of standards.

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Committee for Economic Development honors Goodyear CEO Kramer

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 15, 2016

Richard J. Kramer, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. was honored with The Leadership in the Nation’s Interest Award by the Committee for Economic Development this week in Washington, D.C.
The award was given Wednesday at the organization’s spring policy conference.
The award recognizes a corporate executive who leads his or her company with integrity and purpose, and champions policies for the common good.
The Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board is a non-profit, non-partisan, business-led public policy organization. Kramer is on the committee’s health care reform subcommittee.

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Citizens Bank awards $110,000 to seven nonprofits to aid in financial literacy

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: April 15, 2016

Citizens Bank has awarded seven Ohio nonprofit organizations a total of $110,000 as part of its Citizens Helping Citizens Manage Money financial literacy initiative.

It is part of the bank's overall $1.3 million in donations to 77 nonprofits and volunteer outreach by more than 400 trained Citizens colleagues.

Nonprofit organizations from across the bank’s 11-state footprint were chosen in a competitive application process based on their track record of success providing financial education programs, clear and measurable goals for the program and a demonstration to incorporate sustainability in their program plans.

Ohio funding recipients include:

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Diebold reaches another milestone in $1.8 billion Wincor Nixdorf purchase

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 15, 2016

Diebold Inc. has reached 69.9 percent in its tender offer for Wincor Nixdorf shares as part of its proposed $1.8 billion purchase of the German ATM maker.
No further Wincor Nixdorf shares can be tendered in the takeover offer, said Green-based ATM maker Diebold.
Diebold’s takeover offer has exceeded the minimum acceptance rate of 67.6 percent of Wincor Nixdorf shares.
Diebold said that 22,876,760 Wincor Nixdorf shares had been tendered. Diebold also held voting proxies for 241,324 Wincor Nixdorf shares.
Diebold’s buyout of Wincor Nixdorf will close this summer, subject to regulatory approval.

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Tiny houses and big dreams: Mary Beth Breckenridge talks downsizing (podcast)

By Ohio.com Published: April 15, 2016

Mary Beth Breckenridge, the Beacon's how-to guru, garden geek and home-design junkie finally has her house just the way she wants it. But there's something appealing about letting it go for something simpler.

Reporter Amanda Garrett would love to ditch her colonial for something much smaller, too. But is a tiny house just too...tiny?

What do people do with their golf clubs or hockey gear? How do they cook Thanksgiving dinner? We re-think living simpler in the 21st century.

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Costco in Boston Heights to open June 22; memberships available now at temporary site in Macedonia

By Katie Byard Published: April 14, 2016

Warehouse store giant Costco will open its long-anticipated store in Boston Heights on June 22.

Costco quietly opened a temporary location Wednesday at the Macedonia Commons shopping center where people can sign up for memberships, according to a Costco spokeswoman.

The Boston Heights location, totaling 154,000 square feet, will be the fourth Costco in Northeast Ohio; it anchors a mixed-use  development being built at the former site of the Boston Heights Country Club.

The development, called the Marketplace, is in a prime spot: near the interchange connecting Interstate 80 (the Ohio Turnpike) and state Route 8.

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Cleveland Fed says economy in Ohio and neighboring states expands

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 13, 2016

Despite weak manufacturing results, the economy in Ohio and the other parts of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Fourth District expanded modestly over the last six weeks, the latest Beige Book report released Wednesday shows.
In the Cleveland Fed’s district:
• Manufacturing output showed slight weakening.
• Housing improved, with higher sales and higher prices.
• Nonresidential construction showed favorable results.
• Consumer spending at retail outlets and restaurants increased from a year ago. Motor vehicle sales rose.
• Demand for credit by commercial and retail customers was unchanged.
• Regional natural gas output remained at historic highs.
• Payrolls modestly contracted. Staffing firms reported increased job openings and placements were primarily in healthcare and technology. One staffing firm noted that most openings were for part-time jobs.

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Northeast Ohio new vehicle sales rise in March

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 13, 2016

New vehicle sales in March for Northeast Ohio were up nearly 5 percent from a year ago, largely because of a continued trend in higher light truck and SUV sales.
The Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association reported that sales totaled 22,085 vehicles last month, up 4.9 percent from 21,048 a year ago in a 21-county area. Since Jan. 1, sales are up 7.4 percent from the same period a year ago.
Summit County new vehicle sales totaled 2,085 in March, up 8.5 percent from 1,921 in March 2015, according to the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association. Sales in the county since Jan. 1 are up 6.5 percent from the same period a year ago.
Ford was the broader region’s best-selling brand in March with 3,629 sales. Chevrolet was second with 3,562 sales, followed by Honda at 1,823 and then Toyota with 1,787.

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Summer gasoline prices to be lowest in 12 years, U.S. says

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 13, 2016

The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecasts that U.S. drivers will pay an average of $2.04 per gallon this summer for regular gasoline, according to EIA's Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook.

The forecast price for summer 2016 (which runs from April through September) is 59 cents/gal lower than the average price last summer, and it would be the lowest average summer price since 2004.

Monthly average gasoline prices are expected to increase to $2.08/gal in June, then fall to $1.93/gal in September.

Read the full report here

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Goodyear declares dividend

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 12, 2016

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. declared a quarterly dividend of 7 cents per share payable June 1 to shareholders of record on May 2.

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Goodyear shareholders re-elect directors, approve proxy access measure

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 12, 2016

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. shareholders re-elected 13 directors to the company’s board to one-year terms; appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the accounting firm for 2016; approved a shareholder proposal on proxy access; and approved the compensation of the company’s named executive officers.
The Akron tire maker’s annual shareholders’ meeting was Monday.
“I am very pleased to report that our company delivered record levels of performance in 2015 and I believe we are well positioned to grow profitably in the future,” Richard J. Kramer, chairman, chief executive officer and president said in prepared remarks. “ ... We expect our positive momentum to continue in 2016.”
Goodyear ranked 30th among all S&P 500 companies for total shareholder return over the three-year period that ended on Dec. 31.

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Akron may tear down old Firestone HQ, relocate race tire factory

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 12, 2016

Akron wants “new ideas and new vision” for the aging, massive former Firestone headquarters and factory, including possibly relocating Bridgestone’s IndyCar race tire facility — and even tearing down the iconic building.

The city on Monday said it wants to find a new developer for the city-owned property at 1200 Firestone Parkway. The 750,000-square-foot building, now largely empty, is more than 100 years old.

The city said redevelopment of the site will serve as a catalyst for the Firestone Park area. It also raised the possibility that the building could be demolished.

“We mainly want to see some new ideas, new concepts come through,” said James Hardy, chief of staff to Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “We just want to see opportunities for a broad array of developers to come in. … We wanted to open it up to new ideas and new vision.”

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Wadsworth-based Soprema to buy Michigan adhesives, coatings maker

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 11, 2016

Wadsworth-based Soprema Inc. is buying adhesives, coatings and sealants maker Chem Link.
Michigan-based Chem Link will become a Soprema subsidiary. Terms were not disclosed. Soprema is a commercial roofing, water proofing, wall protection and civil engineering company.
The acquisition “accelerates access to more technology, products and innovation for both existing and new complementary markets,” Soprema said in a news release.
 

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Firestone new title sponsor of Duck Club at Canal Park ballfield in Akron

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 11, 2016

Iconic Akron brand Firestone is the new title sponsor of The Duck Club at Canal Park, home to the Akron RubberDucks AA baseball team affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The name for the event space will be called The Duck Club by Firestone.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, which owns the Firestone brand, said it has a five-year agreement that runs through 2020 for the title sponsorship with the RubberDucks.
The agreement includes ballpark signage, website and ticket recognition, an outfield wall billboard, and sponsorship of the fireworks show on July 15. The theme that night will be a tribute to The Eagles.
The Duck Club is part of $7 million privately invested into Canal Park since 2012 and is used for social events, celebrations, and business gatherings. The space features a catering menu, state-of-the-art audio and video technology, and great views of the ball field.
“We are thrilled to have iconic brands like Bridgestone/Firestone as part of the pageantry of Canal Park and specifically as the presenting sponsor of The Duck Club by Firestone. The rubber industry is a major part of the city’s roots and heritage, and we are proud to partner with Firestone to offer a world-class event space for our community at Canal Park,” RubberDucks General Manager Jim Pfander said in a statement.

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A. Schulman seeks $31 million tied to Lucent, Citadel purchase

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 7, 2016

A. Schulman Inc. is seeking $31 million from the sellers of Citadel Plastic Holdings related to losses it has incurred from Citadel’s Lucent Polymers properties.
Schulman said its investigation shows Lucent falsified test results on documents provided to customers and other parties pertaining to the physical properties of Lucent products. A. Schulman purchased Citadel last year for $800 million.
The Fairlawn polymer company this week said since Jan. 1 it has incurred related costs of $7 million tied to Lucent.
“We have reviewed our legal position in connection with the purchase agreement of Citadel and we believe that the sellers are responsible to compensate A. Schulman for the Lucent losses that we have and may incur,” Bernie Rzepka, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
“ ... We intend to take full advantage of our contractual rights to pursue remedy,” Rzepka said. “The company has provided a written claim notice to this effect to the sellers and to the escrow agent with respect to the $31 million indemnity escrow established. Further, we believe that appropriate compensation of this matter exceeds the escrow amount. The company has engaged Skadden Arps as special litigation counsel for this matter.”
 

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National Interstate forms committee to consider company sale

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 7, 2016

Richfield-based specialty insurer National Interstate Corp. has created a special committee to consider the March 7 proposal from its majority shareholder, American Financial Group, Inc., to buy all of the company for $30 a share. Total estimated cost would be $293 million.
Great American Insurance Co., a subsidiary of American Financial Group, owns about 51 percent of National Interstate stock.
The committee members include National Interstate founder and director Alan R. Spachman and other company directors Norman L. Rosenthal; I. John Cholnoky; Patrick J. Denzer; and Donald W. Schwegman.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP was hired as the independent legal advisor to the special committee.
 

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Smucker executive retires, two promotions from within

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: April 6, 2016

Orrville-based food company J. M. Smucker has announced the retirement of a senior vice president.

Dennis J. Armstrong, senior vice president of supply chain logistics and operations support, will be retiring on Sept 30 after 37 years with the company.

He will be replaced by James R. Day as senior vice president, operations and Robert D. Ferguson, senior vice presient, supply chain, effective May 1.

Here's the remainder of Smucker's press release:

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Omnova Solutions 1st quarter improves over year ago

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 6, 2016

Shares of Omnova Solutions Inc. rose sharply in early trading Wednesday after the Beachwood polymer company reported lower revenue but better-than-expected adjusted first quarter earnings.
Omnova Solutions lost $1.1 million, or 3 cents per share, on revenue of $175.3 million for its first quarter ending Feb. 29. That compares to a loss of $3.2 million, or 7 cents per share, on revenue of $206.9 million a year ago.
Adjusted net income was $1.9 million, or 4 cents per share, the former Fairlawn company said.
Shares were up 55 cents, or 10.2 percent, to $5.94 as of 11:57 a.m.
The first quarter historically is the company’s slowest. Omnova makes emulsion polymers, specialty chemicals, and what it calls functional and decorative surface products.
“We are very pleased with the start to fiscal 2016,” Kevin McMullen, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We are beginning to see a number of the expected improvements from our aggressive 2015 repositioning of the Performance Chemicals business.”
The company said it expects positive momentum for the remainder of fiscal 2016, with significant growth in adjusted earnings per share.

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RPM International reports 3rd quarter profit, record revenue

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 6, 2016

RPM International Inc. reported a third quarter profit and record sales following a loss a year ago, and reaffirmed its earnings guidance for fiscal 2016.
The Medina-based adhesives, coatings and related product holding company reported net income of $18.6 million, or 14 cents per share, on revenue of $988.6 million for the quarter ending Feb. 29. That compares to a loss of $57.4 million, or 44 cents per share, on revenue of $946.4 million a year ago.
Shares of RPM were up 26 cents to $48.15 as of 11:29 a.m. Earnings and revenue were below analyst expectations.
“We were pleased with RPM’s performance during our seasonally slow third quarter, considering the headwinds posed by foreign currency translation, which reduced sales by 4.2 percent in the quarter, along with declining economies in a number of the international markets we serve,” Frank C. Sullivan, RPM chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We continue our search for strong acquisition candidates to enhance our product offerings and broaden our geographic presence, as well as investing in our future through internal growth initiatives.”
RPM still expects fiscal 2016 full-year results of $2.50 per share, Sullivan said.

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A. Schulman reports small 2nd quarter loss

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 5, 2016

Fairlawn polymer company A. Schulman reported a small second quarter loss even as revenue rose.
A. Schulman on Tuesday reported losing $283,000, or a penny a share, on revenue of $591.8 million for the quarter ending Feb. 29. That compares to a loss of $888,000, or 3 cents per share, on revenue of $542.3 million a year ago.
Adjusted earnings per share were 31 cents, compared to adjusted earnings of 39 cents a year ago.
A. Schulman released its quarterly results after the stock market closed.
“Without question, we are disappointed with our fiscal second-quarter adjusted earnings results and reduced outlook for fiscal 2016,” Bernard Rzepka, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “As the quarter progressed, we experienced lower volumes across our legacy businesses and our recent Citadel acquisition. While the deepest contractions have been in the oil & gas markets, there also has been a slowdown in some of our other markets in both Europe and North America.”
The company did show improved operating margins in almost all of its business units, Rzepka said.

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State OKs $800,000 loan for Stemco R&D facility in Fairlawn

By Jim Mackinnon Published: April 5, 2016

The state has approved an $800,000 low-interest loan to help pay for construction of Stemco Kaiser Inc.’s new research and development center in Fairlawn.
Construction has already started on the nearly $5.7 million, 20-000-square-foot air springs development facility in Fairlawn Corporate Park off Ridgewood.
Stemco is receiving the $800,000 research and development investment loan through the state Development Services Agency. The loan, at 2 percent interest, is expected to be paid back in 10 years.
Stemco, a division of EnPro Industries, has committed to 11 new jobs while retaining 14 other jobs at the site.
 

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Dominion SCO price for April will be $1.85/mcf

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: April 4, 2016

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