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.
TK CEO says Americas operation needs to be running at full speed
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 5:26 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 5:48 PM
By Dan Murtaugh, Press-Register Press-Register
Despite continued losses by ThyssenKrupp AG's Steel Americas division, the company's chief told investors Tuesday that he will wait until the operation is running at full speed before making a decision on its future.
That is probably a year and a half away, Chief Executive Officer Heinrich Hiesinger said.
Steel Americas includes a carbon steel plant in Brazil and a carbon steel processing facility in Mobile.
The division has been a heavy drag on the Essen-based company's bottom line, running an operating loss of $3.1 billion euros ($4.1 billion) last year and 288 million euros ($377 million) in the first quarter of this year.
That loss, detailed as the company released first-quarter results on Tuesday, contributed to a company-wide loss of 33 million euros ($43 million). ThyssenKrupp had profit of 261 million euros in the same time period last year.
Hiesinger told analysts in a conference call that the company won't decide on the future of the Americas division until both plants are running at full speed. That should happen about 18 months after the coking plant at the Brazilian mill is complete, a milestone now scheduled for April, he said.
Honeywell eyeing Mobile for $20 million expansion
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 4:31 PM Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 5:43 PM
UOP, which employs about 370 people in a Chickasaw plant that produces molecular sieves used to absorb gases and liquids, is one of two finalist sites within Honeywell for the facility, according to Jerry Cowart, UOP's finance and accounting manager.
The other is a plant in Shanghai. Cowart on Tuesday asked the Mobile Industrial Development Board to approve tax abatements to make Mobile more attractive when Honeywell decides, probably next week.
The board unanimously approved abatements that will total $1.9 million over 10 years.
AEgis Technologies awarded contract worth possible $31 million
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 3:00 PM
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- The AEgis Technologies Group was awarded a contract worth upward to $31 million to upgrade helicopter simulators at Fort Campbell, Ky., the company announced. The contract is for two MH-47/MH-60 combat mission simulators .
"The LUE contract is a milestone win for AEgis as the award demonstrates our ability to win full and open competitions to provide large, complex simulator solutions for the warfighter," said AEgis President/CEO Steve Hill. "Our team at AEgis is thrilled with our partnership with PM SOF Training Systems and their customer. We are fully committed to deliver on this critically important program."
AEgis Technologies, which is based in Huntsville's Cummings Research Park, is a privately held small business that provides advanced technology and expert consulting services to industries throughout the world. AEgis specializes in modeling & simulation and micro/nanoscale technology development
According to the company, the Army will use the combat mission simulators to train pilots on tasks ranging from emergency procedures and instrument flight training to more complex mission training and multi-ship exercises.
HudsonAlpha cancer researcher awarded grant
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 10:40 AM
By Yvonne T. Betowt, The Huntsville Times The Huntsville Times
HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- Dr. Jason Gertz of the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has been awarded a new research grant from the American Cancer Society.
The grant, which is for $102,000 over a two-year period, will be for Gertz's study, "Genomic Consequences of Environmental Estrogen Exposure in Cancer Cells."
Currently, the American Cancer Society is funding eight grants for more than $3.9 million in cancer research and training in Alabama.
Since it's founding in 1946, the American Cancer Society's extramural research grants program has devoted about $4 billion to cancer research and has funded 46 researches who have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.
The program emphasizes investigator-initiated, peer-reviewed proposals, and has supported groundbreaking research that has led to important discoveries for a better understanding of cancer and cancer treatment.
Grant applications are ranked on the basis of merit by one of several discipline-specific Peer Review committees, each which includes 12 to 25 external scientific advisors or expert peers from around the nation. The Council for Extramural Grants, a committee of senior scientists, recommends funding based on the relative merit of the applications, the amount of available funds, and the Society's objectives.
Birmingham Business Alliance to visit lawmakers in Montgomery
Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 7:27 AM Updated: Tuesday, February 14, 2012, 9:42 AM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- The Birmingham Business Alliance said 50 of its members will travel Wednesday to Montgomery so members can meet with lawmakers.
The Birmingham area's largest business group said its members will discuss legislation the group hopes to see passed during the session that began last week. Those making the trip include small business owners and employees of large businesses in the region, said Myla Choy, the BBA's senior vice president of regional development and public policy.
"It's a good cross-section of our investor base," she said.
The BBA's top legislative priority this year is finding a solution to Jefferson County's financial crisis, Choy said. Other important issues include revising the state's immigration law and supporting a charter school system.
Attendees on Wednesday will lunch with Alabama Development Office Director Greg Canfield and meet with the ADO's international trade divisiondirector, Hilda Lockhart.
Poarch Creeks continue economic expansion
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012, 3:16 PM Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012, 3:55 PM
ATMORE, Alabama -- With the $240 million gamble on Wind Creek Casino paying off nicely, Poarch Creek Indians are set to spend $29 million on an entertainment development and a health and independent living center on their reservation, according to Tribal Treasurer Robert McGhee.
And that's not nearly all.
Work continues on a travel center along Interstate 65 and a subdivision in northwest Florida for some of the 3,000 members of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians.
The tribe announced plans in late January to partner with Innisfree Hotels to build a $24 million Hyatt Place Hotel near the Pensacola Airport. It also announced a horse-racing track in Gretna, Fla., last year.
"We came up with a master plan a few years ago," said McGhee, 42, who also works as the tribe's governmental relations adviser. "The tribe has priorities, and we decided that those are a health facility with an assisted-living complex and an entertainment district."
They were to meet last month with architects designing a movie theater with 4 to 8 screens and a bowling alley. "We are excited about that," he said recently.
Waiting in the wings, McGhee said, are plans already developed to expand the casino, adding another hotel tower and golf course, and another long-discussed plan to build a school.
Could Airbus be preparing to announce it will assemble passenger jet in Alabama?
Published: Monday, February 13, 2012, 2:41 PM Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012, 2:52 PM
By The Birmingham News The Birmingham News
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Speculation is building in aviation industry circles that Airbus soon will begin making an airliner in the United States -- with Alabama the favored site for the factory.
The Seattle Times reports that the talk at a major supplier conference days ago was that Airbus could announce as early as this summer that it intends to build A320 commercial jets in the U.S.
The European areospace company already operates an engineering center in Mobile and said previously that it was considering assembling cargo jets in the Alabama city. Of course, EADS, the Airbus parent, had planned to assemble refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force in Mobile had the contract not gone to Boeing.
One reason for the move to assemble passenger plans in the U.S.? The company won't seem like a foreign enterprise the next time a big U.S. defense contract comes up for bid, according to the Times.
House passes key economic development legislation
By BOB JOHNSON Associated Press
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama House has passed a bill that was a key component of a package of legislation supported by Republican legislative leaders and by Gov. Robert Bentley to lure new jobs to Alabama and to retain existing jobs.
The House voted 69-14 for a measure by Republican Rep. Barry Mask of Wetumpka to allow businesses to in some cases use employees' income tax withholdings for expansion or to move to a new location. The Alabama Education Association opposed the bill saying it would take money earmarked for schools.
The House also passed a measure by former U.S. Marine Republican Rep. Duwayne Bridges of Valley to double the incentive offered to companies for hiring a veteran. The tax break expands from $1,000 to $2,000 under Bridges' bill.
Alabama China Partnership Symposium March 14, 15, 16
Join 300 senior executives, business leaders, government officials and community leaders from Alabama and China in a two-day symposium to discuss issues, learn from one another, network and set the agenda for the next phase of the Alabama China relationship and business exchange.
According to some estimates, 19.4% of the world's manufactured goods come from the US, second to China, which makes 19.8%. While China -- with almost $4 Trillion in reserve -- has invested more than $200 Billion overseas in the past 5 years, only $28 Billion was invested in the US. This number is expected to jump significantly in the years to come.
Due to a multitude of factors - "rapidly rising labor rates abroad, loftier materials and shipping costs, deep-discount tax incentives from U.S. states" - Chinese manufacturers are keen to invest overseas. As trade barriers rise in the US, so will investment, especially for manufacturers selling to the North American market. International recruitment has paid dividends in Alabama in recent years; Alabama has been successful in attracting large blue chip manufacturers from Europe, Japan and Korea. Can Alabama again take the lead in brining top Chinese companies to the State? Join us for a no holds barred debate; hear from top Chinese companies on their needs and plans for potential investment in the United States; and collaborate and participate in setting Alabama's agenda, public and private, to recruit and work with these companies.
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UAB Sustainable Smart Cities Symposium February 16 - VENUE CHANGE
Due to high response, the event will be held at DOUBLETREE HOTEL BIRMINGHAM, 808 - 20th Street South, located on Birmingham's Southside. Hotel parking is $5 for the day for symposium attendees.
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Wendy Wallace Johnson