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Top News Links: Monday, October 9

Southern Automotive Manufacturers Alliance to be formed

Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday the formation of the Southern Automotive Manufacturers Alliance during an address to the Southern Automotive Conference in Birmingham. SAMA is being formed by the state automotive manufacturing organizations of Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. Georgia, which will host next year's Southern Automotive Conference, will be an apprentice member. It also includes the Southern Automotive Women's Forum, the South Carolina Automotive Council and the Kentucky Automotive Industry Association. – AL.com

Electric bike company acquires distribution center in Mobile

E-GO Bikes has leased 31,500-square-feet of space at 981 Corporate Drive S., near I-65 in Mobile, according to Joey Betbeze of Betbeze Realty. The electric bike company is based in China and this will be the company's Southeast distribution center. E-GO Bikes also has a distribution center in Hayward, Calif. – AL.com

Shaky NAFTA deal could hurt state’s Cummins engine sales

Less than half the trucks exported from Navistar’s mammoth Escobedo plant in Mexico are sold in North America but the factory’s success remains tightly tied to the uncertain future of the region’s NAFTA free trade deal. Higher tariffs on imports or reduced trade flows would raise the cost of production and of exporting to the United States. That would make trucks more expensive for all Navistar’s customers, experts consulted by Reuters said. Navistar, for example, uses Alabama-made Cummins engines in its International Prostar and LT heavy tractors. – Reuters

Morgan County hits snags in search for tech director

Morgan County's efforts to attract a new information technologies director have been boosted, a bit, by increased pay. County Commission Chairman Ray Long said Friday that an increased compensation offer and a second call for applicants drew just four candidates who met the minimum qualifications. – AP/The Olympian

EDPA announces 12 startups for Launchpad competition

Judging has begun in the revamped Alabama Launchpad Startup Competition, according to the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama. The 12 startups taking part hope to advance to the competition finale Nov. 15. For this version of the Launchpad competition, companies compete on two tracks: concept stage for entrepreneurs launching businesses, and seed stage businesses looking to accelerate growth. – AL.com

Shrimp Festival still on, say Gulf Shores officials

City of Gulf Shores officials announced that all Hurricane Nate evacuation orders have been lifted, but citizens should be vigilant of localized flooding. Likewise in the neighboring coastal city of Orange Beach, officials have given the “all clear” with minor flooding and beach erosion. Waters remain closed to swimming due to rough surf and the potential for rip currents. According to the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber, the 46th Annual National Shrimp Festival will go on as planned at the Gulf Shores Public Beach from Oct. 12-15. – WHNT

Austal announces contract for 15th LCS ship for Mobile

Shipbuilder Austal has won another contract from the U.S. Navy for an Independence-class Littoral Combat Ship from its Mobile shipyard, the second to be awarded to the company this year. Austal would not reveal the value of the contract but said it did not breach the $584 million cost cap per ship imposed by Congress. It is the 15th Independence-class LCS to be built for the Navy by Austal, with orders now worth more than $8 billion. – West Australian

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