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Top News Links: Tuesday, March 24

Mercedes’ workers here get top pay

Workers at Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Ala., have the highest hourly pay and benefits among employees at U.S. car factories while Volkswagen and BMW workers earn the least, a study shows. Daimler workers earn an average of $65 an hour while employees at Volkswagen's Chattanooga plant are paid an average of $38 per hour, a Center for Automotive Research study shows. – Automotive News 

Hyundai aims for 4.7 percent sales growth

Hyundai Motor Co. aims to boost its U.S. sales by 4.7 percent this year, ahead of the industry's projected growth rate, despite a consumer shift to SUVs and pickups. Sales of one of Hyundai's mainstay sedans, the Elantra, have slowed in the U.S. as consumers take advantage of lower fuel prices to switch to less fuel-efficient larger vehicles, strongholds of U.S. and Japanese automakers. – Automotive News

Loan industry worries about Obama speech

With a portion of President Barack Obama's speech in Birmingham expected to focus on payday lending, both supporters and critics of the lending industry wait to hear details and hints of more regulation. The president Thursday will deliver a speech on economic development at Lawson State Community College. – AL.com

Continental Carbon docked for emissions

Continental Carbon Co. has agreed to pay more than $99 million to mitigate alleged excessive emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said. The company also will pay a $650,000 civil penalty. The EPA and Department of Justice will share that money with the states of Alabama and Oklahoma, which were co-plaintiffs in the case. – RubberNews.com

All finalists receive Launchpad funding share

All five of the startups competing in the Alabama Launchpad Startups Competition, including four from Birmingham, won a share of the $214,300 in funding. This is the first time in the competition's history that all finalists received funding. – BizJournals

Hyatt Regency B’ham partners with Riverchase

The Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel has formed a partnership with Riverchase Country Club to allow customers the best for events and rooms. All guests of the Hyatt Regency Birmingham now have the opportunity to utilize the private golf and tennis courses. Please visit www.hoovergolf.com to view exclusive offers. – News release

ServisFirst wins Raymond James Bankers Cup

Birmingham's ServisFirst Bank received the 2014 Raymond James Community Bankers Cup, given to the top 10 percent of community banks nationwide. ServisFirst ranked third out of 306 community banks with assets between $500 million and $10 billion at the end of 2014. – AL.com

More details on U.S. Steel upgrade

United States Steel Corp. has announced two capital investments valued at $277.5 million that it will be undertaking at its Fairfield’s Works site in Birmingham. In addition to constructing an advanced electric arc furnace steelmaking facility, the company will build a tubular products coupling facility at the Fairfield Works site. The coupling facility will manufacture couplings with premium, semipremium and American Petroleum Institute connections for customers in the oil and gas industries. – Recycling Today

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