Arkansas Business

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The life blood of many small businesses is access to capital. Since 2017, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has distributed $658.8 million in SBA 7(A) loans in Arkansas, with few of those going to women and minorities.

According to a study by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation and Winrock International, most of the loans were provided to businesses owned by whites and men, and nearly 77% of the loans were given to businesses owned by whites. Only 8% were given to businesses owned by primarily women.

Walmart Shares Fall On Earnings Miss, Net Income Drops 9.2%

Feb 19, 2021
walmart wal-mart
Walmart

Walmart disappointed the equity markets Thursday with a 12-cent per share earnings miss in the fourth quarter, despite record revenue and strong same-store sales. Fourth-quarter earnings on an adjusted basis were $1.39 per share, lower than the $1.51 consensus estimate.

The global retailer posted a net income loss of $2.091 billion in the fourth quarter primarily because of accounting charges related to the sale of assets and operations in Argentina, Japan, and the United Kingdom. The company posted net income of $4.141 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2019.

Nestlé will invest more than $100 million to expand the company’s production facility in Jonesboro to include a new line to produce Hot Pockets brand sandwiches, the company announced Wednesday. As part of the expansion, the company plans to hire at least 100 new employees during the next two years as well as renovate and add 90,000 square feet to its facility.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Walmart on Tuesday, alleging that the retail giant unlawfully dispensed controlled substances from pharmacies it operated nationwide.

An aerial photo of the Big River Steel facility in November 2016. U.S. Steel Corporation is taking steps to acquire complete ownership of the plant.
Big River Steel

United States Steel Corp. is on the verge of becoming the sole owner of Big River Steel, the first “superproject” in the history of the Natural State.

U.S. Steel has exercised its call option to acquire the remaining equity of BRS for approximately $774 million from cash on hand. The company ended November with approximately $2.9 billion of liquidity, including about $1.7 billion in cash. The deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including antitrust approval.

restaurants faded rose
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A new survey conducted by the Arkansas Hospitality Association shows that restaurants are still struggling as the coronavirus continues spreading through the state. According to the survey, 36% of restaurant operators believe it is unlikely they will still be in business six months from now without additional federal aid.

walmart wal-mart
Walmart

Walmart sales have grown as an essential retailer during the COVID-19 pandemic. The retail giant posted better than expected financial third-quarter results with revenue of $134.7 billion, including $1.1 billion of currency fluctuations. Walmart grew revenue by 5.2% from a year ago and outpaced analysts’ expectations of $132.23 billion.

A $50 million grant program for hospitality and service sector businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic launches and state government leaders expect to make grant awards in late December.

Stacy Hurst, Arkansas Secretary for Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said the grants will hopefully help those hard-hit businesses stay alive until COVID-19 is under control.

Welspun
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An order for more than 1 million feet of 36-inch pipe for use on the Keystone XL pipeline project will keep around 500 Welspun manufacturing employees in Little Rock busy through “at least” early 2021, Welspun announced Thursday.

The company did not disclose the value of the TC Energy order.

walmart wal-mart
Walmart

Walmart will continue having corporate office employees working remotely through at least Jan. 31, 2021. The retail giant just marked 20 weeks of remote working amid the COVID-19 pandemic and said it has accomplished much during the unprecedented time.

Fiocchi
Fiocchi of America

A 225-year old Italian company with a large North American presence is expanding manufacturing operations in Central Arkansas.

Fiocchi of America, the U.S. subsidiary of Italy-based Fiocchi Group, announced plans Wednesday to establish a new manufacturing facility in Little Rock. It will invest $15 million in a new facility and hire 85 skilled employees with plans to further increase its workforce as the facility reaches its full potential.

SCA Pharma says it will expand its operations in Little Rock by moving to a facility at Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
SCA Pharma

SCA Pharma, an FDA-registered outsourcing facility, announced Tuesday that it will expand its operations in Little Rock.

SCA will invest more than $10 million and potentially double its current workforce of 180 people, the company said. Additionally, the investment will allow SCA Pharma to renovate an existing 42,000-square-foot facility at the Clinton National Airport and construct an additional 20,000-square-foot facility adjacent to the existing facility.

SCA announced last week that it also plans a 40% expansion of its Windsor, Conn., facility.

walmart
Walmart

Arkansas-based Walmart announced Tuesday its third cash bonus for workers in stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers for their work with the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full-time hourly workers will receive $300 cash payouts while part-time and temporary workers will get $150. Drivers, managers and assistant managers in retail stores and supply chain and health and wellness will also receive bonuses for a total of $428 million.

Walmart made the announcement through an internal memo to employees from Walmart U.S. CEO John Furner.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Walmart says shoppers must wear masks inside its stores starting Monday — the largest retailer to join a growing list of companies making face covering mandatory across the nation.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Little Rock Port Authority announced Monday $11 million in investments to support transportation infrastructure improvements in the port’s footprint. As many as 1,500 new jobs may be added, according to a release from the port. The port is the largest industrial hub in central Arkansas with over 40 businesses employing more than 4,000 people. It features rail, river and interstate highway access.

Murphy Oil Corporation's headquarters in El Dorado, which was built in 2015. The company announced Wednesday it is moving corporate operations to Houston.
www.clarkcontractors.net

El Dorado-based Murphy Oil Corp. announced Wednesday it will close its corporate headquartersin south Arkansas and relocate to its existing offices in Houston. The El Dorado office has 80 employees, according to a corporate news release. The company is also relocating 110 employees from its Canadian office in Calgary to Houston.

Union Pacific
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

A company representative says Union Pacific Corp. is furloughing most of the staff at its facility in North Little Rock that repairs the railroad’s locomotives after seeing a substantial drop in business volume because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Kristen South is the Nebraska-based railroad's senior director for corporate communications and media relations. She declined to specify how many people were laid off but said employees on Thursday started receiving notifications regarding the Jenks Locomotive Facility’s temporary closure.

Alleviant Health Centers will expand its headquarters in Little Rock, the company said on Tuesday.

An operator of mental health clinics across the U.S., Alleviant provides a combination of traditional therapies and innovative, holistic methods for its patients. In addition to maintaining their corporate operations of 20 employees, the company will add 115 corporate jobs, described as “high-paying,” that includes 22 telebehavioral professionals. The corporate jobs include functions in finance, accounting, marketing, business development, human resources and legal.

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Tyson Foods Chairman John Tyson warns “millions of pounds of meat” will disappear from the supply chain as the COVID-19 pandemic closes packing plants and backs up the animal supply.

“The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson, grandson of the company founder, wrote in a full-page ad published by several major U.S. newspapers on Sunday. ”There will be a limited supply of our products available in grocery stores until we are able to reopen our facilities that are currently closed.”

Abbott
Governor's Office / YouTube

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Saturday announced the creation of the Arkansas Economic Recovery Task Force, which is charged with making recommendations on how best to return the state’s economy to normal following the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The recommendations must be consistent with public health requirements, Hutchinson said, while creating confidence among state residents. The announcement came one day after the governor announced a May 4 target date to begin “Phase 1” reopening of the state's economy. 

Arkansas Highway Commission Chairman Tom Schueck, seen here at the dedication of the Big Rock Interchange on July 8, 2015, died Tuesday.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Highway Commission chairman, steel manufacturing businessman, and Arkansas Business Hall of Fame member Tom Schueck died Tuesday, according to a statement from the family. He was 78.

Schueck was the founder and former chairman of Lexicon Fabricators and Constructors, a major player in the steel manufacturing industry.

His son, Patrick Suhueck, issued a statement on behalf of the family.

Structurlam Mass Timber Corp., a company selected to help build Walmart’s expansive new corporate campus in Bentonville, will expand into the United States with a $90 million investment in an existing building in Conway that will open in 2021.

Little Rock Regional Chamber
Arkansas Business

While Black Friday draws in shoppers as early as Thursday night, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce hopes shoppers save some of their dollars for some local businesses later in the weekend.

Small Business Saturday, happening this weekend, began in 2010. According to Brandon Campbell, director of small business and inclusion for the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce, the chamber aims to promote local shopping throughout the Little Rock area in order to support local business owners.

Walter Hussman
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is nearing the day when it will no longer deliver a daily printed paper. The newspaper has been transitioning its weekday service to an app-only format and plans to print only a Sunday edition of the paper by the beginning of next year.

Express RX CEO Galen Perkins speaking at Monday's announcement at the Little Rock Regional Chamber.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Expansion-minded drug store operator Express Rx announced plans Monday to consolidate its varied office locations in several states into a new headquarters location in Little Rock, adding some 24 new white-collar positions to the state’s tight labor pool.

During a press event at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott and other top city, county and state officials rolled out the red carpet to Express Rx CEO Galen Perkins whose fast-growing chain now has 18 retail locations across eight states.

Hefei Risever Machinery (Risever), a Chinese-based heavy equipment parts manufacturer is on the verge of starting operations at its $20 million facility in Jonesboro. The company held a grand opening Wednesday and it should be fully operational by January, newly hired plant manager Chris Taylor told Talk Business & Politics.

"We plan to start production at the start of 2020," he said. "The building is complete and we’re installing equipment."

Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaking at Tuesday's announcement that DXC Technology is adding 1,200 jobs in Conway.
Governor's Office

Fortune 150 technology giant DXC Technology will expand its Conway operations by adding 1,200 new jobs to its current workforce of roughly 400. Gov. Asa Hutchinson and company officials made the formal announcement on Tuesday at press conference in Conway.

The U.S. Government is the world’s largest purchaser as it contracts out for all types of products and services – both large and small. It is also required by law to set aside opportunities for small businesses.

Between October 2017-September 2018, there was approximately $895 million available in federal government contracts for work to be done in the state of Arkansas.

To bid for a government contract, small businesses must complete an intricate registration process and wade through lengthy solicitations.

Domtar Corporation announced Thursday that it will permanently shut down two of its paper machines with one of the closures being in Ashdown, Arkansas. The other closure will be in Port Huron, Michigan.

The company said these measures will reduce its annual uncoated freesheet paper capacity by approximately 204,000 short tons and will result in a workforce reduction of approximately 100 employees.

The closure of the Ashdown paper machine will be effective immediately and the closure of the Port Huron machine by mid-November.

walmart
Walmart

Walmart says it will discontinue the sale of handgun ammunition and also publicly request that customers refrain from openly carrying firearms in stores even where state laws allow it.

The announcement comes just days after a mass shooting claimed seven lives in Odessa, Texas and follows two other back-to-back shootings last month, one of them at a Walmart store.

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