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Why nothing could stop Exxon Mobil from buying BP, if it wants
If Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) decides to acquire BP PLC (NYSE: BP), there may not be any way for the London-based oil company to stop the Irving, Texas-based juggernaut. That’s according to Scott Cockerham, managing director of Conway MacKenzie’s Houston office. BP could fatten itself up by making its own acquisition, but even that won’t be too big for Exxon, with its $365.2 billion in market capitalization, to swallow, Cockerham said. “Very few acquisition possibilities for BP exist where the combined entity would be too large for Exxon to consider,” Cockerham said. “If an offer was to be made, BP would have to consider its merits from the viewpoint of what is best for its shareholders, not what must be done to maintain independence.” Houston Business Journal
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The U.S. Economy Hasn't Disappointed Analysts This Much Since the Great Recession
Following a quartet of weaker-than-expected economic data reports released this morning, Bloomberg's U.S. economic surprise index has fallen to levels seen only during the Great Recession. At -0.783, the 15-year-old index has been this far away from zero in either direction in only two other periods: in early 2009, when it hit a record-low -0.996, and in March 2011, when it climbed as high as 0.950. That's not to say that the economy's heading into recession. The surprise index measures data relative to economists' projections, so the measure is showing that forecasters were way too optimistic coming into 2015. Bloomberg.com
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Mitsubishi's new Pearland, Texas plant comes online, ramps up hiring
After much fanfare over Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Compressor International Corp. serving as one of the largest Houston-area examples of reshoring manufacturing from Japan back to the U.S., the 180,000-square-foot facility is now operational. The facility is ready to send its first locally packaged products to customers, who can now service their Mitsubishi equipment through the Pearland site instead of coordinating with a site in Hiroshima, Japan. Previously, the Pearland plant was intended to employ 100 people, but now plans have expanded to include 200 employees, 70 of which are already at work, said Gampa Bhat, president and chairman at MHICIC. Houston Business Journal
Submitted yesterday

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Cheap fuel, solid economy will give Texas a break from rising rates
HOUSTON — Electricity prices are set to rise across the country, as power companies have spent billions to replace aging generation plants despite roughly steady demand for electricity, a panel of power executives told IHS Energy CERAWeek attendees Thursday. But Texas’ hike will be eased thanks to economic growth that has boosted power demand in the state and along the Gulf Coast. The increase will mean there’s a larger base of income to fund the new plants and keep the need to turn to existing ratepayers at a minimum. Fuelfix.com
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Hardee's scouts Nashville for headquarters
Hardee's parent company is considering Nashville for the burger chain's corporate offices. "The lease on our St. Louis regional office expires in 2017, and we are exploring office space options, which include Nashville," said Kathleen Bush, a spokeswoman for CKE Restaurants Holdings, parent of the Hardee's, Carl's Jr., Green Burrito and Red Burrito restaurant chains. Her comments via email came after the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported that Hardee's was considering moving its headquarters out of downtown St. Louis. The burger chain known for its racy TV ads moved its headquarters there from Rocky Mount, N.C., about 14 years ago. Tennessean.com
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Airbus taps Tier 1 supplier for Mobile's A320 assembly line; 5,000-square-foot lab on tap
With only months remaining until its A320 final assembly line begins production at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, Airbus has awarded ATT Metrology Services Inc. Tier 1 supplier status and the metrology contract for its $600 million facility. The Issaquah, Wa.-based large-volume precision measurement and alignment services company plans to build out an existing aeroplex structure to house a 5,000-square-foot thermally controlled laboratory that should be operational when the aircraft manufacturer begins production this summer. AL.com
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Belk exploring possibility of selling
Charlotte, N.C.-based department store Belk is exploring the possibility of a sale. The retailer, which bought Birmingham-headquartered Parisian in 2006, has hired Goldman Sachs to "Fully explore all options for our future," according to a statement from Belk. "We are coming off a successful fourth quarter, have a strong financial position and are enthusiastic about our future. We also believe, however, that we have an obligation to consider whether there are alternatives to our current plans that would provide a better return for our stockholders," the statement said. AL.com
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Why Apple bought 3,600 acres in eastern N.C.
Computer giant Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) recently purchased 3,600 acres of forest land in Brunswick County, which will be managed by The Conservation Fund, an Arlington,Virginia-based conservation organization. The property is located near Winnabow, adjacent to the 16,176-acre Green Swamp Preserve that is managed by The Nature Conservancy, reports the Star-News. Apple plans to use the timber, which is a mix of loblolly pines and hardwoods, in the production of paper packaging for it products. The timber will be harvested in accordance with a management plan that focuses on sustainability. Triangle Business Journal
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SC Gov. Haley says she can drive Volvo deal alone
As South Carolina leaders wait to see if Volvo chooses the Palmetto State to build a $500 million plant, Gov. Nikki Haley said Tuesday she does not need legislative help to pay for an incentives deal for the automaker. The Republican governor told GOP state senators Tuesday she did not need a borrowing bill passed to pay for economic development obligations, said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens Haley indicated she and the state Commerce Department already have enough resources to persuade Volvo, threatening to veto a bond bill proposed by Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence. Leatherman’s proposed borrowing plan could include money for workforce training as well as incentives. Charlotte Observer
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State treasurer Cowell launching second fund that invests in N.C. companies
North Carolina’s $90 billion pension plan is launching a second fund that invests in North Carolina companies after a strong five-year run by the first fund, state treasurer Janet Cowell said Wednesday. The second North Carolina Innovation Fund will pump $250 million into private equity funds and companies with ties to the state, now that most of the $232 million in the first fund has been committed. Since its launch in 2010, the first fund has produced an internal rate of return of 20 percent, Cowell said. Raleigh Observer
Submitted yesterday

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Features & Opinion

 Top Ten Places in the South for Relocating California Companies

Urban areas have all kinds of assets that are easy to spot. They have the population, so the labor shed is not usually an issue. Urban areas are also connected by better roads, rail and air service and many have river and deep water ports. Usually Internet access and other forms of communication are more efficient in urban areas. And you have a larger array of quality of life options to choose from, such as the cultural assets found in metropolitan areas.
 

 Randle Report - Business News in the South

 FEATURE  
By Stacy Randle
Demographer Wendell Cox recently analyzed the largest gains in holders of bachelor's and post-graduate degrees between 2007 and 2012 in the 51 metro regions in the U.S. of 1 million residents or more. The results were published in Forbes magazine and the South dominated the ranking.
 

 Business News in the South - Randle Report

FEATURE     
After I finished the cover story for this issue, I read an interesting article by economist Paul Krugman, the op-ed columnist for the New York Times, titled, "Partying like it’s 1995." Generally I side with Krugman, even though I am a journalist, not an economist. Occasionally, though, I read some of his stuff and ask myself, "What planet did Krugman come from?" Like when he predicted a shift of automotive assembly to Canada after Toyota announced a new plant in Woodstock, Ontario in 2005 because of "free healthcare," among other benefits. That Toyota deal was the last major automotive assembly plant announced in Canada and I predict it will be the very last one for the Canadians.
 
 Nashville Mayour Karl Dean
If you have ever seen one of my presentations, then you know about the word "reshoring" and how that phenomenon has lifted the spirits of even the most skeptical Southerners regarding the future of the region's economy. After all, in the last four decades, manufacturing has suffered a bloodletting never before seen in U.S. history. The biggest factor behind the slow and long meltdown that began in the 1990s was the herd mentality to offshore manufacturing capacity to cheaper locales, primarily by U.S.-owned companies.
 


 

 

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