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Briefs

Franklin to close plant in Germany

Franklin Electric Co. Inc. is closing its Wittlich, Germany, factory as it moves production to its Brno, Czech Republic, facility, officials announced Tuesday. But the company’s European water systems headquarters and distribution center will remain in Wittlich.

The Fort Wayne manufacturer designs and makes submersible motors and pumping systems used to move water and fuel. Customers include homeowners, municipalities and companies in commercial, agricultural and other industries worldwide.

Franklin Electric officials expect that realignments and asset write-offs in the European business will result in between $13.2 million and $14 million in pre-tax charges against third-quarter earnings.

Spam maker Hormel buying Muscle Milk

The maker of Spam is bulking up on its protein with Muscle Milk.

Hormel Foods is paying $450 million to acquire CytoSport, which owns Muscle Milk sports nutrition drinks, bars and powders. The move builds on Hormel’s push to expand beyond packaged meats, which include Dinty Moore stews and its namesake chili, with different kinds of protein. Last year, the company also added Skippy peanut butter to its lineup.

Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger said people are increasingly looking for portable, easy-to-eat products packed with protein. It’s why the company recently introduced Rev snack wraps that contain meat and cheese, and Skippy Singles, which are single-portion packs of peanut butter.

As for Muscle Milk, Ettinger said in a phone interview that the brand’s customers tend to be younger and have expanded beyond serious athletes over the years. He noted that the drink is advertised on college campuses, for instance, and that students often drink it as a replacement for breakfast or a mid-afternoon snack.

Ousted CEO increases stake in clothing chain

The battle for control of clothing chain American Apparel is heating up.

Ousted American Apparel CEO Dov Charney has increased his stake in the clothing chain to nearly 43 percent as he fights to keep control of the company he founded in 1998.

Charney was able to increase his stake through a partnership with financial firm Standard General, which is loaning him the money. But the board is scrambling to make its own moves to keep him out.

Legal experts say the dispute will likely end up in the courts at a tough time for the Los Angeles company, which has lost money since 2010.

Quiznos emerges from bankruptcy

Quiznos said Tuesday that it has emerged from bankruptcy after restructuring its finances.

The toasted sandwich chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March and reduced its debt by more than $400 million.

CEO Stuart Mathis said it plans to increase sales by reinforcing its image as a place for a “fresh, high-quality and great-tasting alternative to traditional fast food offerings.”

The Denver company owns and operates only seven of the nearly 2,100 Quiznos restaurants around the country. The rest are owned and operated by franchisees and weren’t part of the bankruptcy proceedings. Quiznos provides franchise owners with training, store designs and marketing support.

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