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Electrolux groundbreaking Oct. 5

Electrolux is breaking ground on its new Memphis plant Wednesday, Oct. 5.

The ceremony, scheduled for 10 a.m. at Frank C. Pidgeon Industrial Park, formally kicks off construction of the Swedish appliance maker’s nearly $200 million Memphis factory, which is expected to create more than 1,200 new jobs and support more than 2,200 secondary jobs in the form of suppliers and other related work.

Electrolux’s announcement at the end of 2010 kicked off a run of multinational corporate wins Memphis has landed, including manufacturing facilities announced here by companies like Mitsubishi Electric Power Products Inc. and Canadian paper maker Kruger.

Allen Stanford and the Michael Scott defense

Remember disgraced Texas financier Allen Stanford, the namesake of the financial company that once operated in Memphis?

If you do, you’ve got a leg up on Stanford. The latest crazy twist in his legal case: the man says he’s forgotten events before his arrest in 2009.

From a story in Friday’s Wall Street Journal:

“R. Allen Stanford, who has gone through a carousel of defense lawyers, an addiction to medication and a jailhouse beating, is now complaining of another malady, a person familiar with the matter says: amnesia.

The former Texas financier says he cannot remember events prior to his arrest in June 2009, the person said.”

Rhymin’ Simon Coming to Mud Island

Paul Simon’s official Website shows him playing a show in Memphis Sat., Oct. 29, at Mud Island.

Wonder if he’ll take requests – like replacing “Kodachrome” with the word AutoZone…..

Following NYC meetings, TN officials take a victory lap

A group of Tennessee officials including Gov. Bill Haslam, finance commissioner Mark Emkes, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and others have wrapped up two days of meetings with the three major credit rating agencies in New York City.

Haslam characterized the discussions with representatives of Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service as positive and said Tennessee officials would learn in about a month whether the state’s bond ratings will change.

But Tennessee officials could not resist taking a preliminary victory lap following the meetings.

“I would venture to say we run state government perhaps a lot better than others run the federal government,” Emkes told reporters on a conference call Wednesday morning.

Haslam said the Tennessee contingent didn’t come away from the meetings being asked to do anything by the agencies – in other words, there was no homework, which was characterized as a good thing.

“There’s a great appreciation for, quite frankly, the structure of Tennessee’s government as it relates to financial decisions,” Haslam said.

On his Facebook page Wednesday, Ramsey said Tennessee is in an outstanding fiscal position despite his belief that “the national economy is in a tailspin.”

“Few states could even dream of making the impressive case we did these past two days,” Ramsey wrote.

An excerpt from Ramsey’s note:

“The best evidence of our strength? People are moving here. They want our quality of life, our job creating environment and our low taxes. Our population growth and in-migration statistics are well above the national average. Families and businesses from around the nation are attracted by our low regulation and our newly reform-minded education system.

Our manufacturing sector remains remarkably strong and well ahead of the nation at large. Our private sector employment is rising and our state’s unemployment, while not at the rate we would like to see, has fallen at a rate faster than the nation’s.

Not only did we boast of our low taxes and our pro-business climate, we made clear our state government’s fiscal house is in order. If this recession continues or if the federal government ends up pulling the rug out from underneath us, we will have the structure in place to withstand the hit — far better and for far longer than many other states.

For instance, Tennessee’s unemployment trust fund stands at $381 million and we are one of only six states that have no outstanding obligation to the federal government. Our fund is in position to grow and protect us against a prolonged recession.

While other states are treading water, we were able to tell the rating agency analysts that the budget we passed this past spring contains $1.1 billion less in federal funding than the previous year and restored $70.4 million to our rainy day fund. Our budget is balanced on a current and reoccurring basis. Perhaps most important is the fact that our budget passed unanimously. Even Tennessee Democrats conceded that our conservative budgeting practices are best.

Our sales tax growth rate is up almost 50% over last year and August marked the 13th consecutive month in which total tax collections surpassed our budgeted estimates. Tennessee’s economy and tax revenue maintains low volatility relative to other AAA rated states.”

Analyst: First Horizon exposure in FHFA lawsuit is less than $125M, worst-case

Wunderlich Securities Inc. bank analyst Kevin Reynolds published a research report Monday related to the lawsuit against First Horizon National Corp. that was filed Sept. 2.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency sued 17 banks, including Memphis-based First Horizon, which is the parent company of First Tennessee Bank. The suit against FHN was over $883 million in residential mortgage-backed securities issued to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in connection with five First Horizon-sponsored and First Horizon-underwritten securitizations.

But only $379 million of that amount is still outstanding, Reynolds noted.

“At present, the outstanding remaining balance on these MBS is just $379 million, of which $300 million is performing and $79 million is 90 days or more past due,” Reynolds wrote.

“In our opinion, the worst-case scenario for FHN in this lawsuit is a ‘cost’ of less than $125 million, which includes both the $34 million in cumulative losses to Fannie and Freddie thus far plus a write-down of the $79 million in nonperforming balances, if the company had to repurchase the remaining balance of these five tranches.”

Dansette

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