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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Agrium Plans $1.5B Facility Expansion

December 14, 2011 4:39 am

NEW YORK (AP) — Fertilizer maker Agrium Inc. said Wednesday that it will spend $1.5 billion to expand annual potash production capacity by 50 percent, helping it meet growing demand for fertilizer. The company also said it is significantly raising its dividend. The Calgary, Alberta, company says it is the third largest potash producer in North America.

Nissan Suspends EV Battery Plant Construction

December 14, 2011 4:37 am

TOKYO, Dec. 14 (Kyodo) — Nissan Motor Co. has suspended the construction of a plant in Portugal for producing lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles as the plant has turned out to be unnecessary for the immediate future, company officials said Wednesday. The other plants, including a Japanese facility now in operation, and U.

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Fiat Heralds Naples Plant As Best In System

December 14, 2011 4:35 am | by Colleen Barry, AP Business Writer

NAPLES, Italy (AP) — Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne on Wednesday heralded a modernized car plant south of Naples as the best in the Fiat-Chrysler system and an example of how Italy can emerge from the financial crisis that is threatening to engulf it. Marchionne was applauded by about 100 workers who temporarily idled production as he strode down the pristine new manufacturing line for the presentation of the new Panda subcompact, which Fiat began producing here last month.

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Giant Plane To Launch People, Cargo Into Orbit

December 14, 2011 4:33 am | by Donna Blankinship, Seth Borenstein, Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) — Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen and aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan are building the world's biggest plane to help launch cargo and astronauts into space, in the latest of several ventures fueled by technology tycoons clamoring to write America's next chapter in spaceflight.

China Slaps Anti-Dumping Duties On U.S. Autos

December 14, 2011 4:30 am | by Elaine Kurtenbach, AP Business Writer

SHANGHAI (AP) — China has imposed duties on imports of some U.S.-made vehicles, claiming damage from foreign automakers due to dumping and subsidies in the latest round of trade friction between the two countries. The Commerce Ministry said Wednesday that the duties would be imposed for two years on imported cars and sport utility vehicles with engine displacements of over 2.

Stihl To Expand VA Beach Plant

December 13, 2011 8:43 am

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Power tool maker Stihl Inc. plans to double the manufacturing capacity of its Virginia Beach plant. City officials plan to announce the $10.3 million expansion Tuesday. Fifty-two jobs are expected to be created. Stihl director of manufacturing Lorraine Wagner tells The Virginian-Pilot (http://bit.

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Fiat Signs Flexible Contracts With Workers

December 13, 2011 8:40 am

ROME (AP) — Fiat says it has signed flexible labor contracts that the Italian automaker says are conditions for €20 billion (more than $26 billion) in investments over the next three years. Fiat SpA CEO Sergio Marchionne says in a statement that the deal reached Tuesday between Fiat and the unions marks "a historic development for our company and its workers.

Businesses Increased Stockpiles In October

December 13, 2011 8:37 am | by Derek Kravitz, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles in October after slowing inventory growth in the previous month. The buildup in inventories should help the economy grow modestly in the final months of the year. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that business inventories rose a seasonally adjusted 0.

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Novell Wraps Up $1B Case Against Microsoft

December 13, 2011 8:35 am | by Paul Foy, Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Microsoft Corp. purposely duped a Utah company into believing its writing application would be included in the Windows 95 rollout, then pulled the plug so Microsoft could gain market share with its own product, an attorney said Monday in closing arguments of a $1 billion antitrust lawsuit against the software giant.

Sprint, C Spire Agree To Postpone Suits

December 13, 2011 8:33 am | by Nedra Pickler, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — AT&T Inc. and two of its rivals have agreed to postpone their lawsuits over AT&T's acquisition of T-Mobile USA now that the $39 billion deal is in jeopardy. A federal judge quickly approved motions filed jointly Tuesday morning by AT&T and Sprint Nextel Corp.

Retail Is Helping Economy Grow Consistently

December 13, 2011 8:30 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Economic growth is picking up in the final three months of the year, fueled by higher consumer spending, rising business stockpiles and modest increases in hiring. The start of the holiday shopping season in November helped produce the sixth straight monthly increase in retail sales.

Cargill Says Laid Off Workers Could Be Recalled

December 13, 2011 4:34 am

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (AP) — Cargill Inc. says the remaining laid off workers at its poultry plant in Springdale may be recalled by Christmas. Cargill spokesman Michael Martin told the Springdale Morning News (http://bit.ly/s9vTve) that the company hopes to resume production of ground turkey at the plant before Christmas.

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Southwest Orders 208 Boeing 737s Valued At $19B

December 13, 2011 4:30 am | by Samantha Bomkamp, AP Airlines Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — Southwest Airlines Co. on Tuesday said it ordered 208 new Boeing 737 aircraft with a value of nearly $19 billion. The Dallas airline, which operates an all-Boeing fleet, placed a firm order for 150 of the 737 Max, a new version of Boeing's most popular plane with more fuel-efficient engines.

More Safety Violations Cited At Howard Industries

December 13, 2011 4:26 am | by Jeff Amy, Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Federal workplace safety officials said Monday that they are again citing a Mississippi electrical and lighting maker for unsafe practices. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused Laurel-based Howard Industries of eight rules violations, which could carry a fine of up to $59,000.

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Protesters Halt Operations At Western Ports

December 13, 2011 4:24 am | by Marcus Wohlsen, Terry Collins, Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Heady with their successful attempts to block trucks and curb business at busy ports up and down the West Coast, some Occupy Wall Street protesters plan to continue their blockades and keep staging similar protests despite requests to stop because they're hurting wage earners.

Supreme Court To Review Tough AZ Immigration Law

December 13, 2011 4:22 am | by Mark Sherman, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court stepped into the fight Monday over a tough Arizona law that requires local police to help enforce federal immigration laws — pushing the court deeper into hot, partisan issues of the 2012 election campaign. The court's election-year docket now contains three politically charged disputes, including President Barack Obama's health care overhaul and Texas redistricting.

Judge: Helicopter Maker Doesn't Owe Damages

December 13, 2011 4:19 am | by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A federal magistrate has refused to order Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to pay damages to another company for allegedly hiding an internal report about a deadly helicopter crash in Louisiana. PHI Inc. owned a Sikorsky-manufactured helicopter that crashed near Morgan City in 2009, killing eight people.

Saab Parent Company Shares Halted After Plunge

December 12, 2011 8:35 am

AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Dutch financial market regulator Monday halted trading in shares of Swedish carmaker Saab's parent company Monday until further notice. The Netherlands' Financial Market Authority did not specify a reason for halting trade in the stock of Swedish Automobile N.

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OSHA Proposes $195K Fine Over Fatal Accident

December 12, 2011 8:33 am

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. (AP) — Recycling company Resource Management could face nearly $200,000 in fines after the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited 37 health and safety violations in an investigation that began after a fatal accident. A worker at Resource Management died June 12 in an accident involving a baling machine at the recycling company.

Etihad Buys 12 More Boeing Jets In $2.8B Deal

December 12, 2011 8:28 am | by Adam Schreck, AP Business Writer

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Fast-growing Gulf carrier Etihad Airways said Monday it is buying 10 more of Boeing's new 787-9 planes, making it the largest airline customer for that version of the much-hyped carbon fiber jet. Etihad also signed up for two Boeing 777 cargo planes as part of the deal.

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