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Entries in Montana business (7)


FVCC secures major grant to train software engineers

(KALISPELL)- Flathead Valley Community College, which already has a reputation for specialized training for professions like nursing and technical trades, will be able to do more for engineering in the future, after the school is awarded a $46-million software licensing grant. 

The news was announced Friday in advance of the upcoming Montana Economic Summit. The deal was worked out between FVCC, and German-based Siemen PLM Software with the help of Senator Max Baucus. 

The Daily Interlake reports the grant will support FVCC's plans to train engineers and scientists as part of a new advanced manufacturing program. The software is part of a new approach that will allow companies to develop new products all the way from the conception of a product to the final manufacturing stages, instead of having to outsource some parts of the development process. The school hopes to train students on the workflow that's being used by many of the biggest firms around the world, in addition to laying the ground work for having a benefit to Montana business as well. 




Vann's sale back in court for possible approval 

(MISSOULA)- Attorneys working on the proposed sale of Vann’s to a Texas company are scheduled to be in federal court Friday afternoon to see if the deal meets with a judge’s approval. 

The Montana-based appliance and electronics store is working to survive in the face of a federal bankruptcy filed late last summer. At first the case was filed as a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which would have allowed for reorganization of the company’s millions of dollars in debt while staying in business. However, the proceeding was converted to a Chapter 7 case as debtors press to get the finances worked out before the important holiday sales season, or force liquidation. 

Earlier this week, McMagic Partners stepped into the picture with an offer to buy Vann’s stores and operations across Montana for $4.5-million. Part of the deal would see McMagic offering current Vann’s employees positions with the new company. 

Both parties had until Thursday afternoon to firm up the deal. Now, the court-appointed trustee handling the case is ready to go back into a Missoula courtroom to get approval of the sale to McMagic, and setting up a framework to satisfy outstanding claims. Under terms of that order, the trustee would continue to monitor the sale as the deal goes through. 

That hearing is set for 2 p.m. 


Vann's could have new buyer if court approves

(MISSOULA)- If the U.S. Bankruptcy Court approves, Vann's chain of Montana stories could have a new owner as soon as next Monday. 

Vann's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy late last summer, hoping to re-organize its business in face of market pressures that have pushed the chain to the verge of liquidation and closure. The case was converted to a Chapter 7 proceeding last week, satisfying major creditors who've been concerned Vann's has the resources to make it through the critical holiday sales season.

Now, KPAX TV is reporting a Texas company, McMagic Partners LP is offering to buy Vann's operation for $4.5-million. As part of the purchase agreement, Vann's would pay McMagic Partners $250,000 to settle outstanding customer issues and cover merchandise returns. McMagic would offer current employees a job with the new operation. 

The deal has to meet all legal deadlines by Thursday afternoon. 


Vann's to close, layoff employees

KPAX TV photo by Dennis Bragg(MISSOULA)- The CEO of Vann's appliance stores says the continued slide in sales, and an erosion of creditor confidence is what foreced the decision to close the Montana-based store in a few weeks.

Vann's filed for bankruptcy in August, hoping to re-organize its debts in an effort to rebound in the competitive appliance and home electronics business.

But CEO Jerry McConnell tells KPAX TV slumping sales headed into the holiday season undermined the confidence of the company's creditors, and are forcing Vann's to take more immediate action. Yesterday the company sent a letter to employees notifying them of layoffs in November. That impacts about 150-employees at stores in Missoula, Kalispell, Billings, Hamilton and other markets across the state.

McConnell says Vann's is considering its next move to either sell to someone else or liquidate. 

Vann's had filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding. But this week GE Commercial, one of the major creditors, asked the court to convert the case to Chapter 7, which would involve liquidation with a court-appointed trustee. In court documents, GE Commercial said it was concerned about the company's negative cash flow headed into the important holiday season. A hearing on that request is set for next week in Missoula. 


Rule change could boost cross-border business for MT

(KALISPELL)- A change in Canadian duty rates could be an economic boost for Kalispell, Whitefish, Great Falls and other Montana cities that benefit from cross-border shopping. 

The new changes make a four-fold increase in amount of goods Canadian shoppers can bring back from the U.S. if they're south of the border for 24-hours. The old limit was $50 but that's been increased to $200. Limits on goods for a 48-hour stay have jumped from $400 to $800. 

The Daily Interlake reports that's being seen as a big boost to Canadian shopping along Montana's northern border. 

University of Lethbridge economist Donna Townley believes the changes will add "rocket fuel" to the amount of commerce between Montana, Alberta and British Columbia. And she believes businesses can benefit by getting involved in programs like NXGEN's Canada Certified program. The program developed by the Whitefish business makes it easier for American businesses to handle their Canadian customers business with Canadian currency and receipts at the point of sale. 

Read more about NXGEN Payment Services here.