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Top News Links: Thursday, Dec. 14

Target acquiring Shipt for $550 million

Target Corp. agreed to purchase grocery-delivery startup Shipt Inc. of Birmingham for $550 million, stepping up its challenge to Amazon.com Inc. by speeding the rollout of same-day shipping. The all-cash deal will let Target customers order groceries and other goods online, and then have the items sent directly to their doors from nearby Target stores. – Bloomberg

LaRussa Catalyst Fund created at Auburn with $1M gift 

Auburn University student entrepreneurs working to bring business ideas to life will soon receive a boost from a $1 million permanent endowment. Benny M. LaRussa Jr., a 1982 graduate of Auburn’s Harbert College of Business, and his wife, Lynn, recently created the LaRussa Catalyst Fund within the Harbert College. LaRussa’s company was featured in December’s Business Alabama. – News release

Hexcel in Decatur plans $200M expansion, 90 new hires

Airbus supplier Hexcel Corp. Wednesday announced a $200 million expansion for its Decatur production plant, which will add another 90 jobs. Officials said the project will allow Hexcel to ramp up production to meet increasing demand in the aerospace and industrial markets. Production is set to begin in 2021. – AL.com

Hyundai moves to close its electric vehicle gap

Hyundai Motor Group, which is lagging behind rivals in the introduction of newer electric-vehicle models, is stepping up plans for battery-powered cars as governments around the world crack down on polluting fossil fuels. Hyundai Motor Co. and affiliate Kia Motors Corp. plan to bring to market as many as 38 green cars in the next eight years, including seven new models in the five years. – Bloomberg

John Turner named Regions Bank president

John M. Turner Jr. is the new president of Regions Bank and Regions Financial Corp., the bank's holding company. Turner, 56, replaces Grayson Hall, 60, who remains chairman and CEO. Hall was named president in 2009 and became CEO in 2010 and Chairman of the Board of Directors in 2013. – AL.com

Hand Arendall merging with Florida partner

Alabama law firm Hand Arendall has announced a merger with Florida Panhandle firm Harrison Sale McCloy, creating a new regional firm to be known as Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC. Hand Arendall announced the agreement Wednesday and said it would be effective Jan. 1. Hand Arendall Harrison Sale will have about 85 lawyers, with Alabama offices in Mobile, Birmingham, Fairhope and Athens and Florida offices in Panama City, Destin and Santa Rosa Beach. – AL.com

Wallace State-Oneonta offering welding opportunity

Wallace State-Oneonta is offering single mothers in Blount County an opportunity to jumpstart their welding careers, through a grant from the Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham. The first five women to enroll in the program for the Spring 2018 semester can take advantage of this initiative. Candidates must be single mothers, live in Blount County and enrolled in Wallace State. – News release

Auburn’s Rural Studio reclaims brick building in Newbern

A brick bank building in Alabama dating to the early 1900s has been transformed into a community library by Rural Studio, a student design-build program dedicated to social projects. The Newbern Library is located in a town of the same name with fewer than 200 residents, and was converted by fifth-year architecture students through a program founded in 1993 by Samuel Mockbee to create architecture for disadvantaged residents in rural areas. – Dezeen

Fed still planning on three rate hikes for 2018

Federal Reserve officials followed through on an expected interest-rate increase and raised their forecast for economic growth in 2018, even as they stuck with a projection for three hikes in the coming year. “Averaging through hurricane-related fluctuations, job gains have been solid, and the unemployment rate declined further,” the Federal Open Market Committee said Wednesday. – Bloomberg

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