The Closing Bell: Ford earnings shine, thanks to Super Duty; UPS faces headwinds; development recap; Bourbon+ hits newsstands; and more

Welcome to The Closing Bell. This is your last stop for biz scoops and big news before the weekend — a roundup of stories that can’t wait till Monday.

Louisville-made Super Duty revs up Ford revenue

Ford Super Duty enthusiast Nate Berges gets an up-close look at the assembly line in the Kentucky Truck Plant. | Courtesy of Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. shares spiked nearly 10 percent Thursday after the automaker reported better-than-expected profit thanks in part to consumers shelling out big bucks for the Louisville-made Super Duty truck.

Ford reported third-quarter earnings per share of 29 cents, one penny better than expected, according to CNBC.

Ford said in its earnings report that revenue, at $37.6 billion, rose $1.1 billion from the third quarter of last year. The company said its market share for the F-Series increased and the Super Duty produced a record transaction price, as most buyers of the work truck opt for higher-end models.

Super Duty pricing starts at just over $33,000, but the average transaction price in September was $59,100, Ford said at the beginning of the month.

The Super Duty is made exclusively at Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville.

CEO Jim Hackett said that results show that Ford’s business “remains very strong in key areas.”

The company also said, however, that its overall market share declined in all markets, primarily because of declining car sales.

Shares traded near $9 mid-afternoon Thursday, up nearly 10 percent from Wednesday’s close, but still down about 28 percent for the year. —Boris Ladwig

UPS faces fuel, currency, trade headwinds

UPS planes at Worldport in Louisville | Photo by Boris Ladwig

UPS said that its third-quarter net profit rose nearly 20 percent from a year ago, but concerns over fuel prices, currency fluctuations and trade disputes worried investors, sending the stock down 5.5 after its report.

Third-quarter revenue, at $17.4 billion, rose 8.4 percent compared to the third quarter of last year, but operating expenses grew 9.4 percent, which lowered operating profit by 4.7 percent, the company said in an earnings statement.

CEO David Abney said in a call with investors that “Concerns over unresolved trade issues between China and the U.S .as well as Brexit continue to be a focus for our customers” and that UPS was helping them adjust their supply chains.

CFO Richard Peretz said that while “changing trade policies” resulted in “somewhat slower export growth,” the company’s results were buffeted even more by currency fluctuations, especially in emerging markets, and rising fuel prices.

UPS reported quarterly net income of $1.5 billion, up 19.8 percent over the third quarter of 2017, but that’s primarily because of a lower tax bill: UPS in the third quarter paid $381 million in income taxes. That’s down $297 million, or 43.8 percent, from a year ago.

UPS is Louisville’s largest employer, though it recently has struggled to come up with new labor agreements. Both the mechanics and package handlers in October rejected contract proposals.

Abney also said that the company also is continuing to incur expenses to upgrade its network. The logistics giant is undergoing a shift as single-item deliveries to residential consumers are gaining importance thanks to the growing e-commerce sector, which requires different capabilities than bulk deliveries to business customers.

Abney said the company is “opening a record amount of new highly automated capacity” across its U.S. network. —Boris Ladwig

Development recap: Indoor soccer facility, conservation subdivision, Distillery Commons

Courtesy of Segrest Group Keller Williams Realty Louisville

Development is happening all over Louisville, from big multimillion-dollar projects to smaller ones costing in the thousands or lower hundreds of thousands, but each has an impact in some way on the surrounding neighborhood. Here are just a few of the new projects happening or proposed around the city:

  • Restaurant El Oaxaco and a retail building, located at 3606 1/2 Klondike Lane, could be demolished to make room for a new indoor soccer facility in Klondike. According to documents filed with Metro Planning & Design Services, the facility, called Soccer Field Las Flores, is proposed by the property owner Raul Magallanes. Soccer Field Las Flores would be one story and 9,075 square feet, with a mezzanine. The property would have six parking spaces, as well as 23 in a shared lot.
  • While there’s been much talk about conservation subdivisions, particularly in the area around Floyds Fork, conservation subdivisions are popping up elsewhere as well. Prodigy Homes just broke ground on Oak Pointe, a 35-acre conservation subdivision with green space, an established lake and walking trails surrounded by preserved land and woods at 1608 Dawn Drive in Shively. The house offerings, with a base price of $231,000 to $348,000, will range from 1,400 square feet to 1,987 square feet. Lots and houses are being sold by the Segrest Group at Keller Williams Louisville.
  • Plans are moving forward for the second MozzaPi restaurant at Distillery Commons, at the corner of Payne Street and Lexington Road in Irish Hill. Insider spoke to MozzaPi owner Tom Edwards back in June about his expansion plans, and he noted at the time that the restaurant likely wouldn’t open for more than a year. He recently filed an application with the city, asking for permission to add 985 square feet to the 500 Building at Distillery Commons for the restaurant, getting the ball rolling.

These are just a few new developments in the works. Let Insider know about development in your neighborhood by emailing [email protected]. —Caitlin Bowling

New initiative hopes for kindergarten readiness

Mayor Greg Fischer and NCFL President Sharon Darling watch students spell words. | Courtesy of NCFL

A new initiative hopes to boost kindergarten readiness in Jefferson County through increasing the vocabularies of the area’s youngest learners.

Funded by a $250,000 PNC Foundation grant, Say & Play with Words will target at-risk children to shrink vocabulary gaps and prepare them for kindergarten, the supporting organizations announced this week.

National Center for Families Learning, Lift a Life Foundation and Metro United Way’s Ready for K Alliance are among the organizations collaborating in the initiative.

“Half of the children in this community are at an academic disadvantage before they even step foot in kindergarten,” Metro United Way President and CEO Theresa Reno-Weber said in a news release. “And unfortunately, once they start behind, they often stay behind.”

Low-income children are exposed to 30 million fewer words than those in high-income families by the age of 4, the release said. The initiative hopes to combat that by providing free tips and activities to help parents boost their kids’ vocabularies.

Say & Play says they’ll meet families where they are at, including helping local businesses host “Kids’ Spaces” with activity sheets.

“Parents are their children’s first and most important teachers,” NCFL President and Founder Sharon Darling said in the release. “By arming them with the right tools, families are strengthened, and we are able to break the generational cycle of poverty.”Olivia Krauth

Bourbon+ magazine hits newsstands and also launches an Amazon Prime series

There’s a new way to keep up to date on all the people, places and things that make up Kentucky bourbon in the form of a quarterly national magazine that’s located right here in Louisville.

Bourbon+ magazine hit national newsstands this week and also is launching an Amazing Prime series called “Bourbon Up with Fred Minnick.”

Bourbon author and expert Minnick serves as the magazine’s editor in chief, and the magazine features some of the top writers and contributors in the field, including managing editor Carla Carlton, master taster/experience maker Peggy Noe Stevens, bourbon writer Chuck Cowdery, author Susan Reigler and many more.

During a news conference announcing the launch on Tuesday, Minnick said he aims to tell the stories of the bourbon industry — an industry that was left for dead in the ’80s but has returned to full glory.

“Bourbon+ digs deep into the people, culture, science and entertainment of bourbon,” said Minnick. “It explores the culture of American whiskey and will hopefully help make bourbon the No. 1 spirit in the world.”

Bourbon+ will come out four times a year and be available at local newsstands, bookstores and liquor stores for $9.99.

“Bourbon Up” will debut on Amazon Prime on Monday, Nov. 12, and will feature Minnick in a talk show-style format with various players in bourbon and the people who drink it. —Sara Havens

Kentucky-shot ‘Bullitt County’ picked up for national distribution, screens at AMC Stonybrook starting Friday

At this point, the reunion trip has turned a bit south. Napoleon Ryan, Mike C. Nelson and David McCracken star in indie film “Bullitt County.” | Courtesy of Mr. Pictures

Earlier this year, Insider told you about “Bullitt County,” an independent thriller shot in Kentucky and Indiana.

Our film guru Ken Hardin wrote, “Writer/Director David McCracken delivers an ambitious flick that’s really more character study than grindhouse horror, and the result is an enjoyable watch, particularly when you consider that ‘Bullitt County’ is a passion project funded largely through Kickstarter, local generosity and sweat equity.”

The film returns to Louisville this week with some good news. Not only has it won six Best Picture awards from various film festivals nationwide, it’s been picked up for theatrical distribution by AMC Theatres. So along with screening at AMC Stonybrook 20 starting Friday, Oct. 26, it’ll also be shown in theaters across the country, including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago.

Check out the trailer online. —Sara Havens

In Brief

Abbey Road on the River will be held at the Big Four Station Park in Jeffersonville for five more years, organizers said Thursday. According to Southern Indiana Tourism, the Beatles festival has a $1.3 million economic impact.

Big Four Bridge was named a winner in the inaugural TripSavvy Editors’ Choice Awards in the “2018 Free Attractions category.” From a pool of over 60,000, only 2 percent of attractions passed TripSavvy’s editors’ rigorous testing and standards.

Stock Yards Bancorp reported record third-quarter net income of $13.9 million, up 18.6 percent from a year earlier.

Republic Bancorp reported third-quarter income before taxes rose 17 percent, but net income rose 63 percent, to $17.4 million, primarily because of a lower income tax bill. Income tax expenses fell 67 percent, from $5.7 million a year ago, to $1.8 million in the third quarter.

Limestone Bancorp said it generated net income of $2.4 million in the third quarter, up 36 percent from the third quarter of 2017, as net interest income rose 12.5 percent and non-interest income rose 14 percent, while expenses fell slightly.