NewsFlash header graphic
Here is today's summary of economic development news, presented by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. 
in this issue:
Alabama Honda plant plans $94 million expansion - Birmingham News
Golden Dragon copper tube plant to create 300 jobs in Thomasville - Press Register
Bayou La Batre seafood waste processing plant touted as job creator - Press Register
EADS finalizes deal for Vector Aerospace, with facilities in Andalusia and Huntsville - Press Register
BP Oil spill's biggest impact was on Baldwin County economy, not environment - Press Register


Alabama Honda plant plans $94 million expansion

Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 5:30 AM

By Dawn Kent -- The Birmingham News The Birmingham News


Honda is expanding its Alabama auto factory, with plans to invest $94 million and create 20 new jobs at the facility in Lincoln.


The Talladega County Commission on Monday night approved tax abatements for the project, which is expected to be complete by mid-2012.


Although Honda did not pinpoint the reason behind the expansion, sales of the Odyssey minivan and Pilot SUV, both built in Lincoln, have been rising amid an overall recovery in the global auto industry.


The Japanese automaker, which now employs more than 4,000 people at the $1.5 billion plant, also did not specify much about the project itself, but said the work will include installing new equipment.


The project will increase production capacity and improve the flexibility of vehicle and engine manufacturing, said Mark Morrison, a spokesman for the Lincoln plant.


Since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, automakers based there have been scrambling to secure the supply line for parts made in that country.


On Friday, Honda said it expects production schedules to be interrupted across its North American operations, including the Alabama plant, due to a lack of critical parts. The company has not said how much production time will be lost in Lincoln.




Birmingham News 


Golden Dragon copper tube plant to create 300 jobs in Thomasville 

Published: Monday, March 28, 2011, 2:10 PM Updated: Monday, March 28, 2011, 7:05 PM

By Jeff Amy, Press-Register Press-Register



THOMASVILLE, Ala. -- Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube Group will create 300 more jobs in this Clarke County town when it builds a $100 million plant to make copper pipes and tubes for air conditioning, autos and other applications.


The company became the first Chinese company recruited to build a new plant in Alabama, state officials said, when it made its announcement this morning.


"This is the first, but it will not be the last Chinese company that comes to Alabama," said Gov. Robert Bentley, speaking in a ceremony at the Thomasville Civic Center.


The event started an hour late because misty conditions forced Bentley and Golden Dragon Chairman Li Changjie to travel by car instead of helicopter.


"Though the gods sent us clouds today, however in our hearts there is sunshine," said Li, speaking through a translator. "We agree together that we have a great investment environment here," Li said.


Golden Dragon is based in Xinxiang, China. Founded in 1987, the company says it is the world's largest maker of specialized copper tube, with sales close to $4 billion a year. It says it makes more than 15 percent of all copper tube used in air conditioning and refrigeration worldwide.


Company officials said they're not sure yet when construction or production will start, although they said they want to move as quickly as possible. Bentley's office said construction would start in May and last 15 to 18 months.




Press Register 


Bayou La Batre seafood waste processing plant touted as job creator

Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 7:00 AM



Officials on Monday unveiled a $5 million-plus shrimp and crab waste processing plant in Bayou La Batre that's expected to turn more than 5,000 tons of waste each year into fertilizer and animal feed.


Production was scheduled to begin Monday afternoon, White-Spunner Construction project manager Seth Smith said after a morning ribbon-cutting ceremony.


White-Spunner broke ground on the 13,000-square-foot Little River Road facility last year.


The site, a few miles north of the Mississippi Sound, is a former dredge spoil disposal area, and will also be managed as a bird and wildlife sanctuary, according to officials with the Gulf Coast Agriculture and Seafood Cooperative, which spearheaded plans for the plant.




Press Register



EADS finalizes deal for Vector Aerospace, with facilities in Andalusia and Huntsville


Published: Monday, March 28, 2011, 5:56 PM Updated: Monday, March 28, 2011, 7:02 PM
By George Talbot Press-Register
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co. said today that its Eurocopter subsidiary completed the purchase of Vector Aerospace Corp. in a $638 million deal that includes the Canadian company's helicopter repair plant in Covington County.

EADS, the parent company of Airbus, said the deal would strengthen its presence in the North American market. Toronto-based Vector is a leading helicopter maintenance, repair and overhaul firm with operations in Britain, Canada, South Africa and the U.S.

In Alabama, the company employs about 150 at its helicopter maintenance plant in Andalusia. Vector also operates a business development office in Huntsville, where the U.S. Army's helicopter program is based at Redstone Arsenal.

EADS said the cash purchase represented $13.29 per share of Vector's stock, a 15 percent premium on its Friday closing price and an 80 percent premium on its closing price on Dec. 2, the last trading day before the company announced it was seeking offers from investors.

EADS said Vector could be a catalyst for the growth of its aviation support and services businesses, particularly in the high-end military and civilian helicopter markets.

Louis Gallois, chief executive officer of EADS, said the deal was a significant milestone for the European company. It follows a major disappointment for EADS on Feb. 24, when it lost a potential $35 billion contract to build refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force to rival Boeing Co.

The tanker deal could have brought a $600 million aircraft assembly plant to Mobile.

"This is the most significant acquisition ever made by EADS since it was created," Gallois told Reuters news service shortly after the Vector deal was announced today.






Press Register 






BP Oil spill's biggest impact was on Baldwin County economy, not environment

Published: Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 8:54 AM

By Guy Busby Press-Register Press-Register


SPANISH FORT, Alabama -- In almost a year since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, environmental damage on the Alabama Gulf Coast has been less than many feared, George Crozier said last week.


The biggest impact has been social and economic, hitting businesses and mental health worse than beach sands, Crozier, the director of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, said during the annual meeting of the Baldwin County Environmental Advisory Board on Friday.


"The reality is incredible resiliency by the natural system, but our economy ... how many of you have contacts or people who have lost their business, who are fighting with (Ken) Feinberg over trying to get their claims," Crozier said. "We have a legitimate socio-economic calamity."


Crozier said the Alabama Gulf Coast and Florida panhandle did not suffer major environmental impacts. The worst damage was to the coast of eastern Louisiana. Most of the oil that washed up on beaches from Dauphin Island to Orange Beach had broken down and lost some of the toxic elements, such as benzene toluene and ethylene. The thick tar and asphalt substance that remained, however, created a mess that soiled the sand and drove away tourists, he said.


"It looks like the stuff from the Exxon Valdez, but it's not," Crozier said. "It's the tars and asphalts that are left after the weathering process."


Crozier said residents and experts will have to watch the environment for many years to see how much oil is left in the Gulf and what the results of those remaining substances will be.



One upcoming impact could be a drop in some fish populations as a result of larvae dying in the spill. He said plankton studies taken last summer showed a decline in overall numbers from samples taken in 2009.



Press Register

Please feel free to forward along to someone who can use it by clicking on the "I'd like to forward this to a contact" link below the green bar.
Note also, that you can now make changes to your e-mail address and contact information through the link at the bottom. 
As always, if you have news or suggestions, please forward them along to me.
Enjoy the day,  
Wendy Wallace Johnson
Partners Thank You
Join Our Mailing List