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MERGE. Dairy Farmers of America announced Feb. 16 it will merge with Michigan-based Independent Cooperative Milk Producers Association effective March 1. Though all ICMPA members have not yet returned consent agreements authorizing the merger they have until Feb. 28 to do so association officials said a substantial majority had already done so. "The final tally is not yet in. However, at this time, I'm very pleased to report that our dairy farm families have responded positively to the merger, said Bob Naerebout, president of ICMPA. The cooperative operates in Michigan and parts of northern Ohio and Indiana. It markets more than 900 million pounds of milk each year from 730 dairy farmers. DFA markets and processes more than 38 billion pounds of milk for 22,000 dairy farmer members. The merger will result in the addition of a new region for DFA, its seventh operational area. The new region will cover Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and parts of Pennsylvania, Kentucky and West Virginia. Its headquarters will be in Cleveland.

MUELLER. According to Reuters, Paul Mueller Co. reported Feb. 16 a fourth-quarter loss of 32 cents per share. For the 12 months of 1998, the Springfield company reported a profit of $2.68 per share on sales of $89.7 million. The fourth quarter had sales of $22.4 million. Reuters said the fourth-quarter per-share loss included an unfavorable inventory adjustment of $284,000 and large health care claims of $328,000.

HAMMONS. John Q. Hammons Hotels Inc. announced Feb. 15 fourth-quarter earnings before interest expense, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $24.4 million for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 1. Net income for the quarter was $1.25 million on total revenue of $82.7 million. For the year the company had a net loss of $661,000 on total revenue of $326.1 million. The fourth-quarter results include the Dec. 31 sale of the Holiday Inn Fresno Centre Plaza Hotel for $16.6 million, which was recorded as a gain of $8 million. Earnings for the fourth quarter were 20 cents per basic and diluted share, up from the 9 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 1997. For the year, the company had a 10-cent loss per basic and diluted share in 1998, down from earnings of 38 cents per share in 1997. Excluding the gain on the sale of the Fresno property, the fourth-quarter loss per share was 17 cents.

FREE CASH. The second annual product show of the Construction Specifications Institute, Southwest Missouri chapter, is set for 4-8 p.m. March 11 at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2340 W. Grand. About 40 exhibitors will display products, and door prizes will be handed out throughout the show, including a drawing for $200. As enticing as that is, perhaps this note is more so: complimentary beer while the supply lasts.

LET'S GET SMALL. Small business, that is. The Small Business Council of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 1999 W. Curtis Strube Small Business of the Year Award. Nominees must have 50 or fewer employees and are judged on staying power, business or management philosophy, response to adversity, innovative products or services, and community-oriented contributions. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 26. The Small Business of the Year Luncheon will take place 12-1:30 p.m. May 27 at the Clarion Hotel, 3333 S. Glenstone.

SLICE OF NICE. Camp Fire Boys and Girls are in the midst of their annual candy sale at local businesses in Springfield and the surrounding area. They will be selling eight varieties of Camp Fire candy. The candy sale continues through Feb. 28. Sales support a variety of Camp Fire programs, including the self-reliance, outdoor/environmental education, community outreach and Read to Lead literacy programs. [[In-content Ad]]

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