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:
Hyundai sets sales record, growth slows
Constellium closes on $1.4 billion purchase of Wise Metals in Muscle Shoals, plans $750 million investment
Prattville leaders have high economic goals for 2015
Healthcare Business Solutions partners with UA's Culverhouse on analytics lab
Alabama puts spotlight on China in 2015



Hyundai sets sales record, growth slows
Brad Harper, Montgomery Advertiser
January 5, 2015

Hyundai sales ended the year hot in North America, with an all-time company-best December contributing to a record 2014.


Hyundai Motor America said Monday that it sold 64,507 vehicles last month and 725,718 overall last year - both new highs for the Korean automaker. In fact, it set six monthly sales records last year, including a streak of four straight months during the summer.


Most of those sales were Elantras and Sonatas, and the Montgomery production plant rolled out nearly 400,000 of the company's two most popular vehicles last year to keep dealers stocked. The plant fell about a thousand cars short of its 2013 assembly record as the Sonata redesign slowed production a bit last spring.




[Montgomery Advertiser]



Constellium closes on $1.4 billion purchase of Wise Metals in Muscle Shoals, plans $750 million investment

on January 05, 2015 

MUSCLE SHOALS, Alabama -- Wise Metals Intermediate Holdings' private aluminum sheet production facility in Muscle Shoals is under new ownership.


Constellium N.V. announced Monday it has closed on a $1.4 billion acquisition of the Colbert County company. The deal, which was first reported in October, includes $455 million in cash and the assumption of $945 million in debt.


By acquiring Wise Metals, Constellium will have access to 450,000 metric tons of hot mill capacity, increasing its presence in the North American Body-in-White (BiW) market to build car bodies. Constellium plans to invest $750 million in the Muscle Shoals plant by 2022 to boost involvement.






Prattville leaders have high economic goals for 2015
By Matt Russell
Jan. 5, 2015

PRATTVILLE, AL (WSFA) -Prattville leaders are opening up about their hopes for 2015. Mayor Bill Gillespie is looking for improvements from an economic standpoint and quality of life for those in the preferred community.

While Gillespie says there are several economic development projects in the works that he can't talk about, he thinks the city is poised to benefit from the investment it made years ago in the south and west industrial parks. 

"Economic development doesn't always mean that you're working in or around those industrial parks," says Gillespie. "Sometimes it is about retail, or sometimes it's about infrastructure, or sometimes it's quality of life programs, so basically our economic development projects, we're going to have quite a few of those going on."








Healthcare Business Solutions partners with UA's Culverhouse on analytics lab
Alan Alexander Reporter-Birmingham Business Journal
Jan. 6, 2015

In an increasingly digitized economy, processing large amounts of data will become more important for companies looking to optimize efficiency.


That's particularly true for the health care industry due to the emergence of electronic medical records and other changes under the Affordable Care Act.


Those signs point to why Birmingham-based health care marketplace consulting firm Healthcare Business Solutions is joining an existing partnership between the University of Alabama's Culverhouse College of Commerce and Lockheed Martin on an analytics lab that will open in the business school this spring semester.





Alabama puts spotlight on China in 2015
By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York(China Daily USA)

As the nation's oldest cultural education organization, the Birmingham International Center has helped the city and state of Alabama gain greater cultural understanding. This year, the center's spotlight country is China.


Founded in 1951, the Birmingham International Center (BIC) is a resource for international business education, intercultural training, heritage and arts programming. Each year, the center spotlights a country that will be showcased to Alabama schools, businesses, and communities.


"We take a three-pronged approach that involves culture, education and economic development," Iris Gross, the BIC's executive director told China Daily in an interview on Monday. "We selected China as our spotlight country because of the growing Chinese community and hundreds of Chinese students studying at Alabama colleges and universities across the state."


US Census data estimated that about 1.3% of Alabama's 4.8 million people in 2013 were of Asian descent, an increase of 70 percent from the 2000 Census. estimated that the number of people of Chinese ancestry living in Alabama in the year 2000 was 6,337, up from 3,529 in 1990.



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