Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Lt. Gov. Applauds Launch of Bioscience Commercialization Center

/PRNewswire/ -- Lt. Governor Casey Cagle today (June 14) joined Georgia Bio, the Georgia Research Alliance, the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Innovation Crescent business community in announcing the launch of the Georgia Bioscience Commercialization Center (GBCC), which will act as a start-up catalyst and resource center for bioscience entrepreneurs in Georgia.

"The Georgia Bioscience Commercialization Center is a first of its kind initiative in Georgia, drawing on the expertise of proven CEOs and senior executives to assist entrepreneurs in growing their potential business and producing jobs," Lt. Gov. Cagle said. "It will serve as an engine for economic growth supporting development of high-paying, 21st century jobs that will stay in Georgia and enhance our state's leadership in bioscience. This innovative mentoring program, as well as the tax credit for investing in early stage entrepreneurial endeavors we just passed this session, means entrepreneurs have a real chance for success in Georgia."

Seed funding for the GBCC was provided by Georgia Bio (GaBio) and the Georgia Research Alliance (GRA). The GBCC will be headquartered in the GaBio offices at 1180 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 4150, Atlanta, Ga, 30308.

UCB, Inc., a global biopharmaceutical company based in Brussels with U.S. headquarters in Smyrna, served as backdrop for the GBCC launch. UCB President Greg Duncan, a member of the GaBio Board of Directors, said, "The GBCC will help Georgia build that critical mass of companies that is essential in sustaining industry growth and making Georgia an attractive destination for international companies such as UCB."

Laurence Downey, M.D., former President and CEO of Solvay Pharmaceuticals, and Robert Derricotte, President of Medical Marketing Insights LLC, led development of the GBCC and will serve as the primary contacts for the commercialization center.

Dr. Downey, a member of the GaBio Board, said, "The key element of the center's operation is the faculty of experienced bioscience executives who will offer guidance to start-up firms, free-of-charge. These experts are volunteering their time to advance the growth of Georgia's bioscience industry by assisting start-up companies that want to locate in Georgia and by helping scientists at our universities translate their discoveries into new bioscience products. The GBCC is a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs."

The GBCC website (www.GeorgiaBCC.com) also will contain useful "how-to" information, plus links to service providers, event notices, technology transfer opportunities and other resources.

Bryan White, Chairman and Co-founder of apothe-Linx, Inc., is one of the first entrepreneurs to engage the GBCC faculty. "I would not have been able to get my company off the ground without the help of the GBCC experts," White said. "I was amazed at the breadth of the faculty's experience. The GBCC fills an immediate need in Georgia to help entrepreneurs deal with the complexities of starting a company and of advancing their product development."

In addition to GaBio and GRA, other GBCC partners are the Georgia Department of Economic Development, Metro Atlanta Chamber and other members of the Innovation Crescent Regional Partnership, which includes the Athens-Clarke County Economic Development Foundation; Atlanta Development Authority; Barrow County Chamber of Commerce; Cobb County Office of Economic Development; DeKalb Private Hospital Authority; Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce; Gwinnett County Chamber of Commerce; and the Oconee County Development Authority.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

Walmart CEO Mike Duke Outlines Strategies for Building the 'Next Generation Walmart'

PRNewswire -- Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. President and CEO Mike Duke laid out four strategies for building the Next Generation Walmart at the company's annual shareholders meeting today. He said Walmart is poised to deliver on Sam Walton's vision of giving "the world an opportunity to see what it's like to save and have a better life." The strategies are:

1. Become a truly global company;
2. Understand the business challenges that retailers will face and solve
them;
3. Play an even bigger leadership role on social issues that matter to our
customers;
4. Keep our culture strong everywhere.



"Our results demonstrate the underlying strength of our business and our strategies of growth, leverage and returns," said Duke. "But as proud as we are of our recent performance, future success is never guaranteed. I want all of you to be able to say that at this moment Walmart committed to being a truly global company and began building the Next Generation Walmart."

In order to be a more global company, Duke discussed the need to serve customers as a local store, share best practices and leverage Walmart's global supply chain. He also stressed the importance of talent: "Just over the next five years, we'll create 500,000 jobs around the world. We need to recruit the best talent and identify the best talent in our ranks. Then we need to develop leaders and help them become global citizens."

Duke highlighted the global challenges that retail will face over the next 20 years, including the impact of technology on shopping habits and, in particular, on pricing. "Retail will soon enter an era of price transparency. And what kind of retailer wins in a time of price transparency? You got it, the price leader," Duke said. "We need to really churn the productivity loop and deliver on our Every Day Low Price business model everywhere. Walmart must widen the gap here. We will win on price leadership, and we will win big."

Duke also committed the company to continued leadership on social issues, saying, "Over the last few years, we've built a model for making a big difference on big issues. We are well into this journey now. No one can doubt our sincerity. No one can question our credibility. But as Sam Walton knew, leadership leads to higher expectations. And you know what? That's fine by me. So we must raise the bar. We must continue to meet the social obligations and expectations ahead. Walmart will never look back."

With the company's plans for future growth, Duke sees Walmart's culture as a competitive advantage and one that needs to stay strong globally. "Our culture is who we are. It isn't just words written on a wall at the Home Office or stapled to the bulletin board in the back room of a store. It makes us special. It sets us apart from the competition. And it appeals to people everywhere. So wherever we go and whatever changes we may make, we must keep our culture strong," said Duke. "I truly believe the retailer that respects individuals, that puts customers first, that strives for excellence, that is trusted will win the future."

Earlier today, the company announced that its Board of Directors approved a new repurchase program that authorizes the company to repurchase $15 billion of its shares. This program replaces the previous $15 billion program, which was announced June 5, 2009, and had approximately $4.7 billion of remaining authorization. Under the program, repurchased shares are constructively retired and returned to unissued status.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Georgia-Pacific Reaches Agreement to Purchase Alabama River and Alabama Pine Pulp Mills

/PRNewswire/ -- Parsons & Whittemore and Georgia-Pacific have reached a definitive agreement for subsidiaries of Georgia-Pacific to purchase Parsons & Whittemore's Alabama River and Alabama Pine pulp mills in Perdue Hill, Ala. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This acquisition includes the assets of the pulp mills, Alabama River Woodlands, the tall oil plant, the biodiesel plant, the chip mills at Elba and Jacksons Gap, Ala., and a pulpwood yard at Demopolis, Ala. All employees of these operations will be offered employment with Georgia-Pacific. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Both companies are committed to working toward a seamless transition of the business for suppliers and customers.

"With the help of literally thousands of people over the past 35 years, we have built a world-class business, with pulp mills that rank among the highest in quality, productivity, safety and environmental responsibility," said George Landegger, Parsons & Whittemore chairman and CEO. "Sincere thanks goes out to our employees for their diligent and dedicated efforts, and to all those in the local communities, such as landowners, wood suppliers and public officials, who had faith in us and who have assisted us greatly.

Landegger added, "I am proud of the relationships that we have developed in the Monroe County area and will continue to be active in local economic and social development. The sale to Georgia-Pacific represents a very good fit within the industry, and the pulp mills can look forward with confidence to a secure and successful future."

"Georgia-Pacific is committed to strategic growth of our businesses, both organically as well as through acquisition and innovation," said Jim Hannan, Georgia-Pacific CEO and president. "The employees and assets of Alabama River and Alabama Pine will be fully integrated into our GP Cellulose business unit. We believe this investment will add long-term value to our company, our cellulose business and the communities where we operate."

"We are excited to integrate the talented employees and high quality assets of Alabama River and Alabama Pine into our GP Cellulose business," said Pat Boushka, GP Cellulose president. "We look forward to serving the existing customers of these businesses and the completion next year of the current fluff conversion project so that we can continue to grow with our global fluff customers."

GP Cellulose is a non-integrated supplier of market and fluff pulp to global markets, with state-of-the-art pulp mills in Brunswick, Ga., and New Augusta, Miss. Commercial offices are located in Atlanta; Hong Kong; Montevideo, Uruguay; Shanghai, China; and Zug, Switzerland. GP Cellulose's Brunswick and Leaf River mills produce an array of pulp grades, which are delivered to every region of the world for a wide variety of end uses and converting technologies.

BMO Capital Markets acted as financial advisor to Parsons & Whittemore in the transaction.

Parsons & Whittemore, a privately held company based in Rye Brook, N.Y., was founded in 1853 and acquired by Karl F. Landegger in 1944. Throughout its history, the company has been recognized as a leading turnkey engineer/builder of pulp and paper mills, having completed some 60 projects in 28 countries. Alabama River Pulp is one of the largest pulp mills in North America and a leading global supplier of hardwood and softwood pulp.

Headquartered at Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of building products, tissue, packaging, paper, cellulose and related chemicals. The company employs more than 40,000 people at approximately 300 locations in North America, South America and Europe. Georgia-Pacific creates long-term value by using resources efficiently to provide innovative products and solutions that meet the needs of customers and society, while operating in a manner that is environmentally and socially responsible and economically sound. For more information, visit www.gp.com.

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