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Top News Links: Friday, Oct. 3

Unions to combine efforts at Mercedes

The United Auto Workers and two German labor groups today will announce plans to work together to organize Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz plant workers in Alabama, sources close to one of the German labor groups said Thursday. The move would be similar to efforts by the UAW and German labor to organize the Volkswagen AG plant in Tennessee. – Reuters

Construction begins at GKN in Tallassee

Construction officially began Thursday on the $16 million addition to GKN Aerospace's Tallassee facility that will house an engineering design center. The company announced the 10,800-square-feet expansion at the Farnborough International Airshow near London in July. – AL.com

Samford impact on Alabama: $335M

Samford University has an estimated annual economic impact of more than $335 million on the state of Alabama, according to a recent study. The independent study was conducted by Samuel Addy and Ahmad Ijaz with the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Alabama. – News release

Drummond accord revamps coal effort

Colombian Natural Resources, owned by investment bank Goldman Sachs, will re-start coal exports and re-establish mining operations after the government helped broker a deal for its use of Drummond's Caribbean Sea port, according to government and industry sources. – Reuters

Zoom Motorsports names new president

Zoom Motorsports has hired a veteran of sports events marketing to lead event promotions at Barber Motorsports Park. The Birmingham-based company announced this week George Dennis will take over as president of Zoom Motorsports and will be the exclusive event promoter at Barber, as well as Five Star Event Catering, Zoom's catering division. – BizJournals

Plasmine Technology plans expansion

A $10.1 million expansion at Plasmine Technology Inc. is expected to create eight to 10 new jobs at the Bay Minette facility over the next three years. The Bay Minette Industrial Board approved abatements totaling $855,646 over 10 years, including  $512,996  for property taxes and $342,650 for sales and use taxes, to lure Pensacola-based Plasmine's expansion to its Bay Minette facility. – AL.com

Merchants Retail breaks ground in Cullman

Merchants Retail Partners, a Birmingham-based real estate investment firm, broke ground on the new expansion of the Cullman Shopping Center Thursday. The expansion comes amid the revitalization of Cullman’s downtown. – News release

Hibbett changes may be working

Hibbett Sports Inc. managed to post better-than-expected bottom-line results for second-quarter fiscal 2015 despite reduced margins due to higher markdowns and increased input as well as operating costs. The company's earnings of 32 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. – Nasdaq

HudsonAlpha, UM start mental health study

Researchers at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology are collaborating with the University of Michigan on the largest whole genome sequencing study to date. It is aimed at better understanding of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Four collaborating research organizations, including HudsonAlpha, will sequence the genomes of 10,000 people of European, Hispanic and African-American origins. – AL.com

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