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Coming up at 6PM: SE Texas family violence victims will continue to have a safe place to escape to.  Plus -- for Beaumont residents near Orange and Royal their newest neighbor is a giant sinkhole.

MeadWestvaco, Rock-Tenn join to form $16B packaging behemoth


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Rock-Tenn and MeadWestvaco will join forces to create a $16 billion global packaging company, driving down its own costs and possibly gaining the scale to better dictate prices.

The new company, which had not been named as of Monday, will have combined sales of $15.7 billion and its board will include eight directors from Rock-Tenn and six directors from MeadWestvaco. 

Within three years, the deal is expected to result in annual cost savings of $300 million, though officials did not say if the savings would include job cuts at any of its locations around the world.

Over the last several years, MeadWestvaco has gone from a mill-centric paper supplier to a global packaging maker for brands like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart. 

This month, the company announced plans to spin off its specialty chemicals business and the sale of its European-based tobacco folding carton business - both which will move forward as planned. In late 2013, MeadWestvaco sold its U.S. forestland holdings.

Under the terms of the deal that's expected to close in the second quarter, MeadWestvaco Corp. stockholders will receive 0.78 shares of the combined company for each share they own. Rock-Tenn shareholders will be allowed to choose either 1 share of the combined company or a specific cash amount for each Rock-Tenn Co. share held.

Rock-Tenn CEO Steven Voorhees will become CEO and John Luke, Jr., chairman and CEO of MeadWestvaco, will become non-executive chairman. The company will have its principal executive offices in Richmond, Virginia, where MeadWestvaco is based. It will have operating offices in Norcross, Georgia, where Rock-Tenn is based.

The boards of both companies approved the deal, but it still requires a nod from shareholders, as well as antitrust regulators.

In a conference call with investors, the executives said the combination "makes tremendous sense" because of the companies' complementary products and markets.

Rock-Tenn has 27,000 employees with locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Chile and Argentina. MeadWestvaco has 15,000 workers at 125 locations throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia.

After hitting all-time highs late last week, shares of both companies rose higher in morning trading Monday as their quarterly earnings beat Wall Street expectations along with the announced merger.

Rock-Tenn posted first-quarter net income of $125.1 million and revenue of $2.51 billion. MeadWestvaco earned $53 million and recorded revenue of $1.37 billion for its fourth quarter.

For the year, MeadWestvaco reported profit of $263 million, or $1.53 per share. Revenue was reported as $5.63 billion.


AP Business Writer Michelle Chapman in New York contributed to this report.


Michael Felberbaum can be reached at .

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Happening Now: Large sinkhole swallows part of Beaumont street
A large sinkhole has swallowed part of the street near Orange and Royal in Beaumont.  Residents by the hole say they noticed it this morning and have been watching it grow bigger throughout the morning.  They are waiting for a city crew to come.  KFDM has a crew on the way to the site.

Motorcycle driver hurt in crash

PORT ARTHUR - A crash involving a motorcycle and pickup truck left the motorcyclist in serious condition.

According to DPS,  at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday there was a two vehicle crash that occurred in front of Jefferson City on Highway 347 in Jefferson county.  The crash involved a pickup truck and a motorcycle.  

The driver of a 2011 Harley Davidson motorcycle was traveling southbound in the center lane on Highway 347.  The driver of a 2015 Chevrolet pickup truck was northbound on Highway 347. 

The driver of the pickup truck attempted to make a left turn in front of the motorcycle.  The motorcycle was then struck by the pickup truck.  

The driver of the Harley motorcycle, 55-year-old Ricky Collita of Port Arthur, was transported to St. Mary hospital in Port Arthur with serious injuries. 

The driver of the Chevrolet pickup truck, 32-year-old Jesus Monge of Kansas, was not injured in the crash.  

Monge was issued a traffic citation for Failure to Yield the Right of Way-Turning Left.

Man killed in auto-pedestrian accident north of Buna

JASPER COUNTY - The Texas Department of Public Safety is investigating a fatal auto-pedestrian accident several miles north of Buna.

DPS Trooper Stephanie Davis says they received the call at about 10 p.m. Monday January 26 reporting an auto-pedestrian crash on US 96 five  miles north of Buna in Jasper County.  The crash killed a 35 year old Kountze man.  

According to troopers, the driver of a 2006 Ford passenger vehicle was traveling southbound in the outside lane on US 96.  A pedestrian was walking southbound on US-96 in the outside traffic lane.  The pedestrian was struck from behind by the Ford.  

The driver of the Ford, 68-year-old June Maricle of Buna, was not injured in the crash.  The pedestrian, 35-year-old Chad Wayne Drake of Kountze, was pronounced dead at the scene by Judge Mike Smith.  

Troopers are still investigating this fatal crash.  

Crash on I-10 near Ford Park

BEAUMONT - Beaumont Police are investigating a crash on I-10 near Ford Park.

Police say their preliminary investigation shows a driver was traveling the wrong way on I-10 and was involved in a collision early Tuesday morning.

Officers tell KFDM News one person suffered serious injuries.

Pinehurst Police Officer receives minor injuries when vehicle crashes during chase

PINEHURST - From the Pinehurst Police Department

On Tuesday, 1/27/2015 at approximately 1:14 a.m. Officer Leonard Roff of the Pinehurst Police Department observed a suspicious vehicle in the 1900 block of Strickland Drive. 

The driver of the vehicle committed a traffic offense by making an illegal left turn in front of Officer Roff's police vehicle. Officer Roff attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The driver of the vehicle refused to pull over and a vehicle pursuit ensued.

Officer Roff began to purse the vehicle, a silver 2012 Silver Honda 4 door registered in Port Arthur. The vehicle traveled South on MLK Jr. Drive before turning West on Tulane Road. Officer Roff pursued the vehicle onto Old Highway 90 to Interstate 10. They traveled North on FM 1136 and then West on Highway 12. A Texas Department of Public Safety trooper joined the pursuit as they approached the City of Vidor. 

The pursuit continued westbound onto Interstate 10 in Vidor and into Beaumont. As the pursuit neared Ford Park, Officer Roff was forced to exit the interstate due to an accident already being investigated by the Beaumont Police Department. 

As he traveled west on the Interstate 10 access road he failed to negotiate a curve near the South Major Drive overpass at Interstate 10 and left the roadway. 

His vehicle, a 2011 Dodge Ram Pickup truck, struck a road sign and a small grove of trees. Officer Roff suffered minor cuts and bruises due to the impact and broken glass. He was transported by ambulance to Memorial Herman Baptist Hospital in Beaumont where he was treated and released. The vehicle sustained major damage and is believed to be a total loss.

Other police units pursued the vehicle into Harris County but they were unable to successfully stop the vehicle. At this time the suspect is still at large but a tentative identification has been made.

Incidentally, the 2012 Silver Honda is believed to be the same vehicle that was involved in a pursuit approximately 45 minutes earlier in Port Arthur following a report of aggravated assault involving an assault rifle.

ATM fraud scheme uncovered along I-10 from Baton Rouge to New Orleans

BATON ROUGE  -- Louisiana State Police said Monday that a major compromise of ATMs along the I-10 corridor from Baton Rouge to New Orleans is being investigated by local state and federal authorities including the Secret Service, according to reports from and websites.

Reports say the investigation is focused on “skimmer” which were placed on dozens of ATMs at Whitney Banks.  Those devices capture card and PIN numbers during an ATM transaction and that information can be used to gain access to bank accounts.

The unauthorized activity at several ATMS was detected by the bank Saturday.  The bank contacted law enforcement agencies and examined all of all its ATMs, removing illegal devices, according to a press release form Whitney Bank.

According to about 7,100 Whitney customers in Louisiana have been affected by the fraud scheme. said other institutions have been impacted as well.

The scheme affects institutions in "certain states" along the Interstate-10 corridor, according to statement from Whitney Bank.

This link is to an FBI page on how ATM skimmers work.

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