Missouri Minute: BJC to furlough workers; experts fear second COVID-19 wave

Good morning, MBA readers,

Despite the recent economic downturn, there are still deals happening around the state. After much wrangling, Kansas City’s Dairy Farmers of America has finally closed its takeover of one of the largest producers of dairy products in the U.S. Also in the Kansas City area, life sciences firm Orbis Biosciences sold to a pharmaceutical firm on the East Coast. And, with an eye toward facilitating connections that could result in deals down the road, the annual InvestMidwest Venture Capital Forum has partnered with another big investment event and moved online this year.

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US to borrow record $3 trillion in second quarter
The Treasury Department announced Monday that it plans to borrow nearly $3 trillion this quarter — a record for any quarter — as the government scrambles to alleviate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. (Reuters)

As Missouri reopens, experts fear second COVID-19 wave
Health experts in Missouri say this week’s statewide reopening will likely lead to a second wave that could vary in intensity, from a smaller, shorter outbreak to a new peak of the virus. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

BJC HealthCare to furlough workers, cut other costs
The St. Louis-based hospital system said Monday it would furlough an undisclosed number of employees for eight weeks and cut other expenses. To make up for lost revenue from canceled elective procedures, BJC will also suspend 401(k) and 401(b) employer matches for the rest of the year, delay annual raises, reduce existing raises for senior executives and cut hours for some employees. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Page can’t say for certain when St. Louis County will reopen
St. Louis County Executive Sam Page said in a news conference Monday that his administration is still hoping to lift the lockdown by mid-May, adding that he is not ready to commit to a specific date for reopening businesses. Page said he is working with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson on a timeline and guidance for businesses by the middle of this week. (KSDK)

Despite downturn, Emerson forecasts boost to medical, life sciences units
The Ferguson-based industrial conglomerate expects overall revenue to slide between 9% and 11% in the next fiscal year, padded somewhat by projected growth of 40% and 10% in its medical and life sciences businesses, respectively. Together, the two units are projected to make $544 million in sales, up from $457 million the previous fiscal year. (St. Louis Business Journal)

DFA closes on $433 million dairy deal
Kansas City-based Dairy Farmers of America has completed its $433 million acquisition of Dean Foods after the conclusion of an antitrust review by the U.S. Department of Justice. Dean Foods, one of the largest dairy producers in the U.S., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Cerner loses market share for first time in a decade
The North Kansas City-based health care IT company had a 26% share of the U.S. market for medical records last year, down 0.2% from the previous year, marking the first time the company lost ground since 2010, according to a new study. (HealthLeaders)

St. Louis-area bus center to shutter, eliminating 127 jobs
Cincinnati-based First Bus is closing a bus center in House Springs when its contract with the Northwest School District ends June 30, laying off 127 people in the process. The company said it hopes to place employees at other locations if possible by May 31. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC-area life sciences firm sells to new Jersey company
Lenexa, Kansas-based Orbis Biosciences has sold to New Jersey’s Adare Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed sum. Orbis, which develops new methods for delivering drugs, will remain in the Kansas City area. (Kansas City Business Journal)

J.Crew files for bankruptcy
The national fashion retailer, which has at least six stores in Missouri, filed for bankruptcy protection Monday, citing a debt restructuring agreement with its lenders. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Grocery chain sets sights on big-box space near Cerner campus
The Kansas City Plan Commission is set to decide Tuesday whether to approve the demolition of a vacant 50,000-square-foot portion of a former Kmart near Cerner’s Innovations Campus, potentially paving the way for a Price Chopper to take its place. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“Most venture capital firms and investors are having to double down and support the companies that they’ve already invested in. And so some of the attention, as well as some additional capital, might be deployed into existing investments for those VCs.”

That’s Phyllis Ellison, InvestMidwest executive director, addressing the difficult environment for early-stage companies that are looking to raise capital right now. Among the challenges those companies must overcome is the lack of face-to-face interaction with investors that typically occurs at pitch competitions, networking events or coffee meetings. In an effort to help startups and investors overcome that lack of in-person exposure, InvestMidwest is moving online this year. The annual Midwestern investment conference, which typically takes place in Kansas City or St. Louis, joined forces with the Midwest Growth Capital Symposium, an investing conference held each year in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The combined event, called the Midwest Venture Showcase, will provide about 70 startups the opportunity to engage with investors.

Hello, my name is


The startup, founded by University of Missouri sophomore Drew Patel, is developing software designed to improve package delivery in emerging economies. Pollinate, which plans to launch in Nairobi, Kenya, aims to create a unified tracking system that allows anyone in the supply chain to know where a package is at any time. Patel has won $75,000 — including $25,000 from a University of Missouri System student pitch competition and $50,000 from a hackathon — to help fund his company. “What we’re planning to do is use quite a bit of that money to do the pilot in Kenya and see how it goes,” Patel said.

Go figure


That’s how many Paycheck Protection Program loans Missouri business owners have received since the program opened in early April, totaling around $1.7 billion, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Illinois business owners have been approved for 89,735 loans worth around $6.58 billion. Business owners in Kansas have been approved for 18,470 loans totaling around $800 million. California business owners have received the highest number of loans so far, at 320,156 for a combined $33.2 billion.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning.


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