Wisconsin Business Briefs: Spectrum Brands making a profit againWisconsin Business
-- The Madison company that makes Ray-o-Vac batteries and Black-and-Decker tools is making a profit again.
MADISON - The Madison company that makes Ray-o-Vac batteries and Black-and-Decker tools is making a profit again.
Spectrum Brands reports a net income of five-and-a-half million dollars from July-through-September, the final quarter of its fiscal year. The company lost almost 34-million dollars at the same time a year ago. Earnings totaled 10-cents a share in the last quarter, compared to a loss of 65-cents a share the previous year. Spectrum also reported record sales for its recently-completed fiscal year. Product sales totaled almost 833-million-dollars for the year ending September 30th. That’s up from last year’s sales of $827-million. For the entire fiscal year, Spectrum Brands said it made almost $49-million dollars, or 91-cents a share. It lost 75-million the previous year, of 1.47-per-share. CEO Dave Lumley said the numbers reflect the strength of its replacement products and brands – and consumers appreciate Spectrum’s strategy of offering the same performance from its products at lower prices.
Employers in southeast Wisconsin have their smallest health insurance bills in 15 years. That’s according to an annual survey by the benefit consulting firm of Mercer. It said the average employer in Metro Milwaukee paid $11,867-dollars per employee on health benefits this year. That’s a four-and-a-half percent increase from 2011 – and the Milwaukee increase is slightly above the national jump of four-point-one percent. Rob Grant of Mercer says it’s clear that employees are paying more of the tab. He said plans with high deductibles are getting more common – and some companies are seeing benefits from employee wellness programs. Milwaukee area employers told Mercer that they expect to increase their health benefit costs by about three-point-nine percent next year – and if they couldn’t pass more costs onto workers, the increase would be seven-percent. Mercer’s Milwaukee survey included about 2,800 public-and-private employers with 10 people or more.
A foundry in southern Wisconsin has been cited by the federal government for breaking safety rules. Nine citations with fines of $56,000 dollars have been handed out against Grede Holdings, based in suburban Detroit. The Occupational Safety-and-Health Administration inspected the company’s iron foundry in Berlin in May – and it found safety violations that included missing features on equipment, and standing water near electrical equipment. The plant makes sand castings, and it specializes in gray iron. Grede has 15 days to either pay the recommended fine, challenge the citations, or seek a settlement conference with OSHA.
A maker of natural foods is moving its headquarters from Chicago, to just across the Illinois border into Wisconsin. The Good Foods Group bought a vacant building in the Kenosha County village of Pleasant Prairie. Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff says the firm will bring in 70 jobs at first – and more in the future when it expands. At last word, the building had a selling price of three-point-eight million dollars. The Good Foods Group makes pre-packaged natural foods. They include salads-and-dips that are free of preservatives.