Noranda Aluminum is asking Missouri regulators to lower the price it pays for electricity by about 20 percent, a move Noranda says will enable it to keep operating its massive complex in the southeast part of the state. The Franklin-based company has long been at loggerheads with utility Ameren.
“Since the rate relief requested in this Complaint will allow the smelter to remain viable, and the alternative would cause a significant negative economic impact to the State of Missouri in the form of lost taxes, lost gross domestic product, and higher unemployment benefit payments, the requested rate relief is in the public interest,” the complaint reads.
Noranda has the backing of the United Steelworkers Union and several industry groups, but Ameren is backing a group criticizing the company for seeking special treatment. Not surprisingly, investors like the sound of lower input costs and have pushed Noranda shares (Ticker: NOR) up 8 percent this morning.
SEE ALSO: The company's official statement on the request
Noranda Aluminum Holding plans to spend about $45 million to expand its smelter complex in New Madrid, Mo., by 80,000 square feet. The Franklin-based company's project also encompasses some new equipment and is expected to create 29 jobs. Noranda cranked out 575 million pounds of product last year, 13 percent of all primary aluminum made in the United States.
Representatives of the board of North Kansas City Hospital say they have had preliminary talks with a group representing HCA Holdings but city officials say the hospital is not and has not been for sale. There's plenty of local political intrigue at play — the hospital board sued the city last year — but from Nashville, the message is much more clear: The for-profit hospital sector's largest player (Ticker: HCA) is hungry for more deals. Early this year, it acquired a large physician group in Kansas City.
A judge has ordered HCA Holdings to pay more than $160 million to a Kansas City foundation created after the local hospital giant acquired a network of facilities in that city in 2003. At issue in a lawsuit was whether HCA lived up to its commitments to spend $450 million on capital projects over five years. The foundation said the company has over the years shifted its attention away from its urban Kansas City facility and emphasized its more affluent suburban sites. HCA officials said Thursday they will appeal the judgment.
The New York Times has its own take, which includes a heads up that other for-profit hospital operators — including just about every other locally based company — could find themselves under similar scrutiny.
Freeman Webb Investments has acquired Villages of Wyncrest, an 840-unit apartment complex in St. Louis County, Mo.
Freeman Webb raised approximately $57 million in equity for the investment. The company, the portfolio for which has grown 65 percent since the recession began in the late 2000s, acquired the property on an all-cash and unleveraged basis. Kenneth Aston with St.Louis-based Hendricks & Partners brokered the transaction.
The Villages of Wyncrest is located at the intersection of the St. Louis-area Tri-Cities of Clayton, Ladue and University City.
“Villages of Wyncrest has an ideal location between two affluent and flourishing cities — Clayton and Ladue — and is a gateway to University City,” Bill Freeman, chairman of Freeman Webb, said in a release. “It is hard to find over 50 acres of land with 840 apartment units in a thriving urban environment like this. We were able to purchase this property on an unleveraged basis, which is uncommon in the multifamily industry. Villages of Wyncrest is a significant addition to our growing portfolio.”
Freeman Webb is the largest private Nashville-based owner/manager of apartments, with a portfolio of more than 16,000 multifamily units located across the region.
Rehabilitation hospital developer Centerre Healthcare has partnered with a Springfield, Mo., health system to build a $27 million facility there. The project, which would have 60 beds and be about three times the size of the facility it's designed to replace, needs approval from state regulators.
The limitations of the current facility were mentioned in its most recent accreditation survey, which recommended that Mercy make improvements. Mercy only admitted about 430 rehab patients during the last fiscal year because of those problems.
HCA executives are in talks with their counterparts at Ascension Health — the parent of the Saint Thomas Health system in Middle Tennessee — to take over two hospitals in Kansas City. If completed, the acquisition would take Nashville-based HCA's market share in the KC area to more than 26 percent.
“Capital is very short in the hospital market in the Kansas City area,” said Tom Bowser, retired CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. “HCA is about the only one in position to make an acquisition like this pay off.”
The United Steelworkers members at Noranda Aluminum's big plant in Southeast Missouri on Friday ratified a new five-year contract. Chairman and CEO Kip Smith says the deal "achieves Noranda’s goals of rewarding employees for their hard work, making the plant a safer place, and accomplishing changes that are needed for Noranda to be sustainable for the future."