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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:
Honda's Alabama auto plant achieves record high output for 2012
Alabama angel group simplifies early-stage funding, offers disciplined investment approach
Gadsden-Etowah IDA's 2012 scorecard: Industries to bring area jobs
Angel network affords members invaluable concrete and intangible benefits



Honda's Alabama auto plant achieves record high output for 2012

Published: Friday, December 21, 2012, 3:16 PM    

Dawn Kent | dkent@al.com 


LINCOLN, Alabama -- Honda's Alabama auto plant has set a record for annual production this year, as the company bounced back from a sharp downturn in output during 2011.

The Talladega County factory is projected to produce a total of 336,601 vehicles and the V-6 engines that power them by the time its assembly lines shut down for the holiday break early Saturday. That's 158,527 Odyssey minivans, 156,920 Pilot SUVs and 21,154 Ridgeline pickups, according to preliminary counts.


The previous production record was 313,957 vehicles, set in 2007.


It's been a year of recovery for the Japanese automaker's operations across North America. Last year, production slowed due to a parts crisis caused by an earthquake in Japan and flooding in Thailand, both of which damaged supplier operations.


"Honda experienced a tremendous resurgence in production in 2012 after recovering from the natural disasters of the prior year," Tom Shoupe, president of Honda's Alabama operations, said in a prepared statement.


Other Alabama automakers also are experiencing record years, amid continued strong demand and recovery for the U.S. auto market.


The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa County also is ending the year with record high output, at about 182,000 vehicles. Hyundai's Montgomery plant has not released its year-end production total yet, but the company had already broken its previous record by the end of November.







Alabama angel group simplifies early-stage funding, offers disciplined investment approach

December 24, 2012 at 2:35 PM

By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 


MOBILE, Alabama - If all you want for Christmas is seed money for your startup, Santa got your letter.


The Gulf Coast Angel Network, in partnership with the statewide Angel Investor Management Group, is actively seeking funding applications from promising early-stage companies hindered only by their access to capital.


The affiliation affords companies access to capital infusions ranging from $250,000 to $2 million, and while preference is given to Alabama-based operations, the investment structure does not favor any one city over another.


What exactly does this mean for aspiring coastal entrepreneurs?


"If there are companies in the Mobile area or people contemplating starting a company in the Mobile area and they need money to get started, there is now a source of equity funding that didn't exist before," said Atmore native Jim Corman, founder and chief operating officer of the Auburn-based AIM Group.


"Also, if you are an entrepreneur or investor who would like to invest with a disciplined approach in a diversified manner that limits exposure, we can provide that vehicle," Corman said.







Gadsden-Etowah IDA's 2012 scorecard: Industries to bring area jobs

Published: Sunday, December 23, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.

By Andy Powell


The Gadsden-Etowah Industrial Development Authority's scorecard for 2012 includes seven new or existing industries that eventually will result in about 400 additional jobs, according to Executive Director Mike McCain.


McCain said the industries represent investments totaling about $30 million.


"There's a lot of communities that would like to have these numbers," he said.


"To have seven projects investing more than $30 million and creating about 400 jobs in Gadsden during the recession is great progress. However, it is not as great as we would like."


Most of the new jobs will become available in 2013, McCain said. They will include announced expansions by the NARMCO Group, Decatur Plastic Products, Southern Cold Storage, Inteva Products and Gadsden Fabrication, and two new industries that did not have formal announcements.




[Gadsden Times



Angel network affords members invaluable concrete and intangible benefits
December 24, 2012 at 2:59 PM

By Kelli Dugan | kdugan@al.com 


MOBILE, Alabama - With a statewide angel investor network available to entrepreneurs seeking early-stage funding, Jim Corman said there's really no reason for business owners to think small any longer.


While the Auburn-based Angel Investor Management Group umbrella network has the in-house capability to finance deals up to $500,000, the very nature of networking has extended the group's reach far beyond Alabama state lines.

"We've established relationships with other sources in the Southeast, and they're our syndication partners," Corman said.


Indeed, with contacts in Nashville; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta; Greenville, S.C. and Savannah, Ga., the AIM Group can now bump investment capacity as high as $2 million per deal.


Closer to home, Corman said allegiances lie with Alabama-based companies, and of the five deals negotiated in 2012, four were in Huntsville and one was in Birmingham.


"We have cleared and initiated due diligence on one Mobile company, and have an application from a second, but there's been no investment yet," he said.


The group literally cannot afford to play geographical favorites, though.


"Our responsibility is primarily to our members. We're supposed to go out and get the best deals, so if the best deals are coming out of Huntsville or Birmingham that's where we're going to go," Corman said.





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