Arkansas Business

File photo. Construction of Big River Steel plant in Mississippi County.
bigriversteel.com

Several high-profile steelmakers and investment groups are said to be bidding for the assets of Big River Steel LLC in northeast Arkansas, as billions of dollars pour into the industry after President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on cheap steel imports from China and U.S. allies.

In a response to Talk Business & Politics, a Big River spokesperson said the company was fielding funding offers and reviewing “strategic alternatives” amid the domestic steel industry’s recent upswing as the gap between U.S. and international steel prices has widened.

Downtown Little Rock
Wikimedia Commons

Central Arkansas leaders fear the region is fighting a problem of perception. While northwest Arkansas is viewed as booming, the Little Rock metro area – at least according to some around the country – appears to be struggling.

Arkansas Business reporter Kyle Massey digs into that for a story in this week’s issue. He spoke with KUAR's Michael Hibblen during Morning Edition, which you can hear above.

Interview Highlights

Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO Eileen Drake with Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson at Wednesday's announcement that the company will be expanding its south Arkansas facility.
Governor's Office

Arkansas’s ongoing efforts to grow the state’s aerospace and defense sector got a big boost Wednesday after Sacramento, Calif.-based Aerojet Rocketdyne unveiled plans to expand the company’s solar-powered rocket motor manufacturing facility in East Camden.

In a press event at the Governor’s Conference room at the State Capitol, Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Aerojet CEO and President Eileen Drake announced that the California defense contractor would invest more than $50 million to expand its sprawling south Arkansas armaments factory and hire 140 new workers over the next three years.

McDonald's
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

McDonald’s on Tuesday announced plans to invest $69 million in 100 of the more than 170 stores in Arkansas by 2019. The work is part of a $6 billion plan to modernize many U.S. McDonald’s restaurants by 2020.

Work on the Arkansas stores is set to begin this year. David Stokes, a Cabot-based franchisee, said the work will use local professional services and help the state’s construction industry.

Stone Bank
Arkansas Business

Despite predictions that brick-and-mortar bank branches would be rapidly declining in this online era, the number of bank locations in Arkansas actually increased over the last budget year. Arkansas Business Editor Gwen Moritz wrote about that in this week’s issue, which was released Monday.

Like ink-on-paper publications, brick-and-mortar bank branches are taking much longer to die out than predicted when the millennium was new.

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola unveils the city's first "digital citizen engagement" kiosk. It provides wifi service and allows people to learn about area events and businesses, get directions, and take selfies.
David Monteith / KUAR News

Making Little Rock a leader in technology is the goal of a new project in the downtown area, the city's mayor announced Monday.

Little Rock's first "digital citizen engagement" kiosk is now active outside the Statehouse Convention Center. In addition to being a wi-fi hotspot, the touch-screen kiosk allows passersby to preview area businesses and events, get directions, and take selfie photographs that are sent to their phones.

Walmart is paying $16 billion for a controlling stake in India's giant online retailer Flipkart, breaking into a fast-growing economy where it has struggled to establish a foothold. Online sales have exploded in India.

Walmart and Amazon have been fighting hard to catch up to Flipkart. Its delivery drivers, with their motorcycles and oversized backpacks, have become ubiquitous across the nation of 1.3 billion people. 

Walmart said Wednesday that it will own approximately 77 percent of Flipkart.

Fortune.com

Following Tuesday's resignation of casino mogul Steve Wynn amid accusations of sexual misconduct, a native Arkansan is now chief executive of Wynn’s $17 billion global enterprise.

Mena native Matthew Maddox has worked for Wynn Resorts Ltd. since 2002, eventually serving as chief financial officer and president. The company’s board of directors named the 42-year-old Maddox CEO late Tuesday following Wynn’s resignation.

Sun Paper
Governor's Office

Sun Paper plans to boost its investment in a proposed Arkansas mill from around $1.3 billion to $1.8 billion. The new plans announced Tuesday also include projected employment rising from 250 to 350 new jobs.

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Arkansas-based Tyson Foods Inc. has invested in a food-tech startup that's developing methods to produce meat directly from animal cells.

Springdale-based Tyson announced Monday that its venture capital arm, Tyson Ventures, now has a minority stake in Memphis Meats. The terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but Memphis Meats says it expects to use the funds to accelerate product development.

Tyson says the investment reflects the company's commitment to find new, innovative ways of meeting a growing global demand for protein.

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