Five workers sustained minor injuries Tuesday at Noranda Aluminum Holding's large manufacturing complex in Southeast Missouri when an explosion destroyed an area that manufactures material for use in construction and automotive assembly. The blast took place early in the afternoon and reportedly knocked out most of the wall of the cast house, where molten aluminum is cast into shapes.
In an email to the Southeast Missourian, Noranda spokesman Mark Christian said local emergency personnel as well as Noranda's on-site emergency response team responded to the explosion. Injuries appeared to be limited to dust irritation, smoke inhalation and noncritical abrasions, he said. All affected employees were released from medical care, with many returning to work Tuesday, Christian wrote.
Shares of Noranda (Ticker: NOR) fell more than 7 percent Tuesday to about 47 cents, adding to a slide that has seen them lose 85 percent of their value over the past three months. The company and its competitors have been struggling with low end prices for their products and Noranda execs two weeks ago said they had put on hold plans to ramp up production in Missouri. The company's board in June voted to explore strategic alternatives.
SEE ALSO: A Reuters story that includes a trader's comments about the possible price impact of the blast
Comfort shoe maker Mephisto has hired a familiar face to be the next leader for its U.S. operations, which are headquartered in Cool Springs. Effective Saturday, Michael Crosno is back in the job he also held until 2010. He replaces Rusty Hall, who recently moved to rival Abeo Footwear to be president of its wholesale division. For the past five years, Crosno had been with Munro & Co.
Footwear News has more info here.
New York Stock Exchange officials have told Noranda Aluminum Holding executives that the slide in the company's share price to below $1 has put it in the listing standards doghouse. The Noranda team now has six months to get their stock back above $1 on a regular basis. To that end, they will host on Aug. 24 a special shareholders' vote on a 1-for-7 reverse split. Noranda shares (Ticker: NOR) rose more than 6 percent Tuesday to 56.5 cents.
Brian Martin at FIG Partners has lowered his rating on shares of Pinnacle Financial Partners to 'market perform' from 'market outperform' following the bank holding company's Q2 profit report. Before the report, Martin's price target was $53, just a bit above where Pinnacle (Ticker: PNFP) is changing hands today. Over at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, analysts have trimmed their price target for Nashville-based Pinnacle to $62 from $63 but maintained his 'buy' rating.
Macquarie analyst Vikas Dwivedi has launched coverage of several refining stocks with positive ratings, saying the sector will benefit from tight capacity and solid financials. Among the companies getting 'outperform' ratings is Brentwood-based Delek US Holdings. Mid-morning Tuesday, Delek (Ticker: DK) was trading at about $36.50. So far this year, they're up 34 percent.
Louisiana-Pacific executives have put in place plans to begin selling a number of their products in the six Middle Eastern countries that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council. The Nashville-based company is particularly focused on marketing its concrete form beams.
The board of Delek Logistics Partners has again voted to hike the company's quarterly dividend. Shareholders of record on Aug. 6 will receive 55 cents per limited partner unit, up from 53 cents. That amount is 16 percent higher than the payout of a year ago. Based on Monday's Delek Logistics closing price of $38.35 (Ticker: DKL), the new payout would lift the venture's yield to more than 5.7 percent.
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corp. President and CEO Kip Smith on Thursday sent a message about his outlook for the battered shares of the Franklin-based company. Smith forked over nearly $100,000 to buy 196,000 shares of Noranda, which has lost more than 80 percent of its value (Ticker: NOR) so far this year as prices for its final products have fallen and its board has said it will evaluate its strategic options. The move boosted his stake in the company by more than a quarter.
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