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County to get $1.1M in industrial park aid

The Economic Development Administration, a branch of the U.S. Commerce Department, said Monday that it will award a $1.15 million grant to Hot Spring County to improve an industrial park and its marketability as an "opportunity zone" for private investment.

The grant will be matched with $770,000 in local funds, the Economic Development Administration said, while also projecting creation of more than 130 jobs and $15 million in private investment.

The park is just off the intersection of Interstate 30 and U.S. 270 in Malvern and is within one of the 85 census tracts across 49 Arkansas counties identified in 2018 as opportunity zones where investors in those areas can have their taxes on capital gains deferred or eliminated.

Similar grants have been awarded for efforts in Batesville, Harrison, Berryville and North Little Rock.

The concept is part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and intended to encourage long-term private investment in low-income communities and neighborhoods. The program provides a tax incentive for those who reinvest unrealized capital gains into zones ultimately approved by the Treasury Department.

-- Stephen Steed

Gloomy 1Q delivers blow to egg producer

Shares of Cal-Maine Foods, the largest U.S. egg producer, dropped as much as 14% Monday after posting first-quarter earnings that showed dismal selling prices for its products.

As the likes of Walmart and McDonald's demand a switch to eggs from hens that live in barns instead of tiny cages, producers are expanding cage-free output. Meanwhile, conventional egg production isn't being taken offline. The oversupply has spurred an "extreme drop" in prices, Dolph Baker, chief executive officer of Jackson, Miss.-based Cal-Maine, said in a statement Monday.

The company's average sales price for eggs was down 30% for the quarter compared with last year. The glut may continue, with a Sept. 1 government report showing 800,000 more laying hens than last year. Feed costs have remained flat.

Cal-Maine is focused on growing its specialty egg business, which includes cage-free, organic and other categories, and doesn't experience as much price volatility as commodity eggs, Baker said. The company plans to expand cage-free production in Florida, Utah and Texas.

The company reported a wider-than-estimated loss per share and lower-than-expected sales for the quarter.

-- Bloomberg News

Dillard's climb gives Arkansas Index a lift

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, closed Monday at 434.73, up 3.08.

Nine index stocks rose, with Dillard's jumping 5.86%. PAM Transportation shares rose 2.60%.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 10/01/2019

Print Headline: County to get $1.1M in industrial park aid Gloomy 1Q delivers blow to egg producer Dillard's climb gives Arkansas Index a lift

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