The ‘key’ to success: innovation
Northfield, Ohio-based Hy-Ko Products Company reported a record-setting 12-month period in which it received eight patents for innovation in key duplication technologies. And the momentum continues as the company has 11 additional patents pending.
“Since entering the key duplication business, one of our primary goals consistently has been to develop state-of-the-art technologies that improve the key duplication process in the retail environment,” said Michael Bass, president, Hy-Ko Products Company. “We continue to enhance our products to offer the most reliable and easy-to-use systems in the marketplace. Our recent patent approvals are evidence that these concepts are truly one-of-a-kind.”
Four of the patents received by Hy-Ko are for innovations to its KID key identification and duplication system, which uses sophisticated optical technology to identify keys and reduce miscuts. A fifth patent is for technology used in the Vision Box key identification and cut verification tool, which uses a mirror system to scan keys. Pertaining to technology used in both the KID and Vision Box tools, a sixth patent covers a key identification system which improves accuracy by using the shape of the bittings (cuts) in a key to select the right key blank.
In addition, a patent was obtained for imaging and decoding sidewinder keys, which are high security automotive keys typically featuring transponder chips, as well as an eighth patent for technology on the Promatic-100 machine, the only key cutting machine with three-in-one operation and a chip vacuuming system.
One of Hy-Ko’s pending patents is for its new AutoX Tool, which allows retailers to easily perform On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) programming for most major vehicles. Offering the most advanced key duplication technology, AutoX is used for some newer cars with more advanced security systems which must be programmed in the vehicle itself.
“Our team at Hy-Ko already had set the bar extremely high in terms of key duplication innovation – creating several industry firsts, from fully automated key duplication systems to online retail key cutting machines,” explained Bass. “But now, we’ve set the bar even higher, and will continue to strive to provide our retail partners with the best systems in the industry, bar-none.”
Unemployment holds steady
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 228,000 in November, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, according to the latest jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Within construction, employment among specialty trade contractors increased by 23,000 in November and by 132,000 over the year.
Another area of growth was retail industry employment. Jobs in the sector increased by an unusually high 12,900 jobs in November over October, the National Retail Federation said. The number excludes automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants.
Overall, the economy added 228,000 jobs, the Labor Department said.
“This was one of the strongest gains we’ve seen all year,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “You expect employment to be up during the holiday season and retailers are expecting strong holiday sales with related job growth, but overall growth in the economy has to be recognized here as well. We’re also seeing new jobs in other sectors of the economy, particularly industrial, and that means more demand for retail goods and a need for more retail workers.”
The November increase compares with a monthly loss of 10,300 jobs in October, although that figure came after a monthly increase of 10,600 jobs in September. The three-month moving average in November showed an increase of 4,400 jobs.
The employment-population ratio, at 60.1%, changed little in November and has shown little movement, on net, since early this year.
See the full report here.
Jeld-Wen prices senior note offering
Jeld-Wen reported that it is offering $400 million of 4.625% senior notes due 2025 and $400 million of 4.875% notes due 2027.
Net proceeds will be used to partially repay existing term loan debt, the company said. The Charlotte, N.C.-based window and door manufacturer also said that it will reprice its existing term loan credit agreement and asset-based revolving credit agreement.
Following repayment of approximately $787 million of outstanding term loan indebtedness with net proceeds of the notes, the company said the amended $440 million term loan facility will mature on December 2024, extended from July 2022. The loan will also bear interest at a reduced rate, according to Jeld-Wen.
The amended $300 million revolving credit facility will mature December 2022, extended from October 2019, and will also bear interest at a reduced rate, Jeld-Wen said.
Lost month, Jeld-Wen reported third quarter 2017 net revenues increased 6.3% to $991.4 million, compared to $932.5 million for the same period last year.