Top Headlines: Protective Life announces big deal, Austal USA investigated

Protective Life Insurance announces $1.2 billion deal
Birmingham’s Protective Life Insurance Co. has announced it will acquire substantially all of the individual life and annuity business of Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Co. in a $1.2 billion deal. Protective, a subsidiary of Dai-ichi Life Holdings, said the acquisition will be the largest in company history and will mark its entrance into the executive benefits market. The deal is expected to close in the first half of the year. –

Airbus irritation over Brexit might benefit Bama
British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said Thursday he took a warning from Airbus CEO Tom Enders over the risks of a ‘no deal’ Brexit very seriously. Enders warned that the company could shift future wing-building out of Britain in the absence of a smooth exit from the European Union, predicting “potentially very harmful decisions” for British operations in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit. – Reuters

Austal USA subject of federal investigation, raid
Federal authorities apparently are investigating Mobile-based shipbuilder Austal USA, though it was not immediately clear Thursday what agencies were involved. Meanwhile, Austal’s parent company apparently also announced that it was the subject of an investigation by Australian authorities, related to actions affecting the stock market in 2016. –

Walmart truck drivers will soon buy and sell us
Walmart released a statement announcing the company will hire hundreds more truck drivers this year, increasing their pay to nearly $90,000. The company announced it hired 1,400 new drivers last year and is continuing to expand. Walmart said it’s drivers will be paid well above the industry average. “A one cent per mile increase and additional pay for every arrival means that Walmart drivers will now earn on average $87,500 a year and with an all-in rate close to 89 cents per mile.” – Fox News

Colombia extends Drummond contract on coal mine for 20 years
Colombia has extended coal miner Drummond’s license to operate its La Loma mine for an additional 20 years, the national mining agency said on Thursday. The contract at the mine, located in northeastern Cesar province, will generate at least $586 million in royalties, income and social project investment during its lifetime, the agency said in a statement on its website. – Reuters

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UAB, HudsonAlpha using grant to attract diverse researching talent
The University of Alabama at Birmingham and HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology have launched a summer program tailored to undergraduate students at historically black colleges and universities in Alabama. The program, called SURE-GM, is funded by a grant of more than $1.2 million over five years from the National Human Genome Research Institute. Participants will be selected over the winter, and the first class will begin in the summer of 2019. – News release

Redstone cuts ribbon on new Calhoun Community College branch
Redstone Federal Credit Union and Calhoun Community College are excited to partner together to provide easily accessible banking services to Calhoun’s students, faculty and staff. Calhoun’s branch opened in early January in the Brewer Library on campus. A grand opening and ribbon cutting was held Thursday. – News release

An affordable Tesla continues to elude Elon Musk
Tesla’s Model 3 is already quite successful based on many metrics, but Tesla is still failing on arguably the most important promise: a starting price of $35,000. Is the standard Model 3 still coming and where is it now? The price has always been one of the biggest features of the Model 3. It was part of Elon Musk’s original “secret master plan” for Tesla: make a compelling mass-market all-electric vehicle. With a base price of $44,000 before incentives, the Model 3 is not there yet. – Electrek

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