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Here is today's summary of economic development news, a free service of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama, representing Alabama's private sector investment in economic development.  If you enjoy NewsFlash, thank an EDPA Partner


in this issue:
MBDA Inc. buys Northrop Grumman's Viper Strike munitions business in Huntsville - Huntsville Times
Econ. dev officials push through down economy; renewed focus on retail - Cullman Times
Chemical Industry Growth Slows in 2011 as Economy Sputters - Industry Week
Q1 2012 Alabama Business Confidence Index Survey Open through December 15 - Release (CBER)
AlabamaGermany Partnership Elects Officers - Release (AGP)





MBDA Inc. buys Northrop Grumman's Viper Strike munitions business in Huntsville

Published: Monday, December 12, 2011, 4:56 PM     Updated: Monday, December 12, 2011, 5:16 PM


HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- MBDA Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of European missile manufacturer MBDA, has purchased Northrop Grumman's Viper Strike munitions business in Huntsville, and the company plans to grow further here.


"We're been fortunate to find this opportunity, and extremely fortunate it's in Huntsville," said Jerry Agee, the chair, CEO and president of MBDA Inc., after a ribbon-cutting ceremony this afternoon. MBDA has acquired "a good business with wonderful employees" and "a happy customer."

The 35 employees at the 33,000-square-foot facility at 330 Wynn Drive in Cummings Research Park will remain with MBDA, said Douglas Denneny, a vice president at MBDA Inc.

"Our goal is to grow the business here," Denneny said.

A 50,000 square-foot facility leased at Redstone Arsenal will provide space to manufacture, assemble, integrate and test explosive devices, Agee said.

The Viper Strike business unit facilities in Research Park and at the arsenal will allow MBDA to design, build and assemble complete precision-guided weapons in one location and bring in new business to the MBDA Huntsville facilities, according to the company.

Terms of the agreement aren't being disclosed.

"This is a great community," Agee said, and there's a strong base of support from customers and local leaders.



Huntsville Times 





Econ. dev officials push through down economy; renewed focus on retail 

By Trent Moore

The Cullman Times The Cullman Times Mon Dec 12, 2011, 07:15 AM CST

CULLMAN - Recession or not, 2011 was not a bad year for Cullman's economy. A $109 million expansion with Topre America was announced, and companies ranging from Royal Technologies to Alabama Cullman Yutaka Technologies were among about a dozen working on minor or major projects to create or retain jobs.

But, success like that does not come easy - especially for the economic development officials tasked with recruiting and keeping business in the area.

With the nation in the midst of a multi-year recession, competition has only gotten tougher among states and communities trying to attract industries. Cullman Economic Development Agency Assistant Director Dale Greer said one major change he has noticed in recent years is a paradigm shift from luring new business to supporting existing businesses.

"That's a big thing we've seen, with the state and regional partners focusing on existing industries and trying to work with them," he said. "Luckily, that has always been one of our strengths. Now, you're seeing more groups statewide start to look at those things, because as much as 80 percent of your growth comes from existing industry."

Political changeover can also have an effect on economic development projects, and officials have spent the better part of the year becoming acquainted with new Gov. Robert Bentley and his economic team.

"Considering the fact that you're coming off a two-term governor (Bob Riley), with an Alabama Development Office director who had been in place for the better part of seven years, it creates a feeling out process between everyone," he said. "It's not a bad thing, but you do have to build those new relationships there." 



Cullman Times



Chemical Industry Growth Slows in 2011 as Economy Sputters
 Global economic uncertainty to impact volume gains through 2012; shale gas seen as potential 'game changer.'

By Jonathan Katz

Dec. 13, 2011


The chemical industry faces more moderate production increases in 2012 after a strong post-recession recovery, the American Chemistry Council reported in its year-end report Dec. 12.


Europe's debt crisis, high unemployment in the United States and other economic factors slowed global chemical industry output 3.5% in 2011. That was down from 10% volume gains in 2010.


U.S. chemical output is expected to increase 3.8% in 2011 before slowing to 1.6% next year and rising again to 2.1% in 2013.


Despite the slowdown, ACC economists say they don't believe the United States is headed for another recession and that chemical industry growth will pick up in 2013. But the European debt situation along with other economic factors could pose significant risks for continued recovery.


Asia and other emerging markets will continue to lead the world in volume gains, with China and India showing the most significant increases, ACC reports.


Chemical manufacturers in emerging markets are expected to show 5.4% production increases in 2011, 6.2% in 2012 and 7.5% in 2013.


Declines in manufacturing output also have impacted recovery in the chemical industry. The manufacturing sector is the largest consumer of chemicals. Increasing demand from the oil and gas industry was offset by weakness in other industries, such as the housing sector, textiles and paper and declining foreign demand.  





Industry Week







Q1 2012 Alabama Business Confidence Index Survey Open through December 15


There's still time to take the Alabama Business Confidence Index (ABCI) survey before it closes at the end of the day on Thursday, December 15. All business executives are invited to go to http://cber.cba.ua.edu/abci and weigh in with their opinions about prospects for the economy and their industry in the first quarter of 2012. It takes just a few minutes to answer the six survey questions online.


ABCI is a project of The University of Alabama's Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER). Responses are confidential and are used only to calculate the indexes of business confidence. But every opinion is important to having a broad-based assessment of business prospects for the first quarter of 2012.  


ABCI results newsletters for the state and the Birmingham-Hoover, Huntsville, Mobile, and Montgomery metros are available at http://cber.cba.ua.edu/abci.


AlabamaGermany Partnership Elects Officers


The Alabama-Germany Partnership elected the following officers for 2012:

  • Chairman: Gerhard Graf, MetLife Financial Group of the South
  • Vice Chair: Bryan Winter, Lewis Smyth & Winter
  • Vice President: Mark Sheppard, Alabama State Port Authority
  • Vice President: Warren McCullars, Alabama Gas Co.
  • Vice President: Dr. Tom Fox, University of Alabama
  • Vice President: Dr. Anne-Katrin Gramberg, Auburn University
  • Vice President: Lamar Smith, Smith & Assoc.
  • Secretary: Judy Benson, CRH North America
  • Treasurer: Jim Robertson, Rödl Warren Averett 
  • Past Chair: Arndt Siepmann, City of Auburn

AGP was formed in 1998 to develop and support relationships and friendships between organizations and individuals in Alabama and Germany.



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Wendy Wallace Johnson
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