BUSINESS NEWS

Local Leaders Excited about Akorn Expansion

DECATUR – Today (Sept. 25) Akorn Inc. kicked off the third phase of an $18 million remodeling and expansion project, a multi-year capital improvements plan that will add local jobs and serves as the latest example of the company’s commitment to the Decatur Community.

The City of Decatur, Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce, state and local officials and representatives from Akorn held a groundbreaking today to announce the company’s future plans and to give the public an update on work that has been ongoing at the company’s facility at 1222 W. Grand Ave. in Decatur. The company recently closed on the sale of neighboring property and plans to further expand its current facility, adding 40,000 square feet of space to accommodate its growing pharmaceutical development, analytical and microbiology testing laboratories and manufacturing facility.
The expansion is in addition to ongoing work at the West Grand facility that includes remodeling work and equipment modernization along with a realignment of the company’s product line. This work will retain 435 jobs and create new employment opportunities as the plant receives new product approvals.
Akorn is a niche generic pharmaceutical company engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing of multi-source and branded niche pharmaceutical products in the United States and across the globe. The products manufactured at the Decatur sites are used in the local hospitals and doctor’s offices and ophthalmic products are sold over the counter at all major pharmacies.
Akorn established its Decatur location in 1992 after purchasing Taylor Pharmacal, which was founded in Decatur in 1948. Akorn currently has 2 locations in Decatur and employs 435 workers.
“Today's announcement represents the latest in a long list of ongoing projects for Decatur and its part of a resurgence for the city's near northwest side the likes of which we haven't seen in years” said Mayor Mike McElroy. “Right across the street you've got a new million-dollar County Market now under construction while Decatur students will soon be able to move into a completely renovated MacArthur High school just blocks to the west of us.
“And these projects are just a portion of the work going on here now that are bringing new jobs and investment to our community and an improved quality of life for all of the great people of our city.”
Akorn is committed to continued company growth and its Decatur facility is a major supplier of its sterile injectable and ophthalmic drug products.  The company takes great pride in the Decatur operation and the personnel’s commitment to quality and excellence. Akorn’s Decatur employment has increased from 200 employees in 2010 to 435 employees in 2014 to support a product increase from 10 million to 33 million units manufactured annually.   
"We are fortunate to have Akorn choose to invest in their facilities here in Decatur and expand their leadership in niche pharmaceutical markets,” said Mirinda Rothrock, President of the Greater Decatur Chamber of Commerce. “Decatur and Macon County work hard to be business friendly and the Chamber is committed to create a growing businesses climate.
“We look forward to continue working with Akorn and helping them expand their business.”
Akorn’s announcement follows several weeks of news related to economic growth in Decatur and in projects that will improve the local quality of life. Additionally, recent months have seen the local unemployment rate fall to 9.1 percent, which is the lowest level in six years according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. This recent growth represents only a part of what is more than $200 million in community investment that has gotten underway in the last several years.
“Akorn’s announcement today is another piece of very good news for Decatur and for our economy” said Larry Altenbaumer, President of the Economic Development Corporation for Decatur and Macon County.  “While the EDC continues to support broad-based economic development in our region from all sources, there is something particularly satisfying when a company like Akorn that is doing business today both in our community and in other locations chooses to develop and expand here instead of some alternative option.  That is the foundation of solid economic development. 
“Akorn’s announcement today, Union Iron’s announcement last month and Fuyao Glass Group’s announced acquisition of the PPG facility in July all build on local facilities and capabilities for these businesses that exist today as they make significant new local investments to position themselves for ongoing success.  I am thrilled with Akorn’s decision and its commitment to our community.”
Tim Dudley, Region Manager for Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said that Decatur stands primed to facilitate and attract projects like the Akorn development and that he expects to see more like it in the future.
 “The Enterprise Zone is one of many incentives used to spur economic development in our community,” he said. “With our superior interstates, infrastructure, low cost energy, and now the creation of the Midwest Inland Port, Decatur is now more equipped to provide what businesses in our community need to expand.
“We at the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity are very pleased Akorn chose to expand here in Decatur."


Hickory Point Bank Expands Into Peoria

Hickory Point Bank & Trust, fsb, headquartered in Decatur, has announced the completion of its acquisition of the branch offices, loans, and deposits of Marshall County State Bank/New Capital Bank, with locations in Peoria Heights and Varna, IL.   Now, Hickory Point Bank operates two full service banking centers in the greater Peoria area, 4440 North Prospect Road in Peoria Heights, IL and at 510 Main Street in Varna, IL.  
The Bank will hold grand opening activities to commemorate the official establishment of the branches in mid-October.
  Anthony G. Nestler, President and CEO of Hickory Point Bank stated, “We are excited to invest in the Peoria area.  This acquisition allows us to serve new and existing customers even better.  Hickory Point Bank is currently a market leader in Decatur, Champaign and Springfield, so Peoria is a logical expansion of our geographic footprint.  The New Capital Bank/Marshall County State Bank branches are a natural fit given our shared values, product synergies, capital strength, and commercial banking expertise.”
  “We are equally pleased to welcome a team of experienced commercial and retail bankers that demonstrate our commitment to delivering outstanding personal service.  With our local bankers, and the substantial resources of Hickory Point Bank, we are excited about the enhanced services we can offer the Peoria and Varna communities,” commented Len Kuntzman, Senior Vice President and Peoria Market Manager.
  Hickory Point Bank & Trust, fsb, with total assets of $623 million as of June 30, 2014, is one of central Illinois’ largest locally owned banks.  Hickory Point Bank offers a full line of commercial, mortgage, consumer, online, trust, investment management, and farm management services to central Illinois’ businesses and families, with ten central Illinois locations in Peoria Heights, Varna, Champaign, Springfield, Decatur, and Forsyth.  For more information on Hickory Point Bank services, hours and locations, visit www.hickorypointbank.com.




ADM Announces Sale Of Global Chocolate Business

Archer Daniels Midland Company has announced an agreement to sell its global chocolate business to Cargill for $440 million, subject to a customary working-capital adjustment. The proposed sale is expected to close during the first half of 2015 and is subject to regulatory approval and other customary conditions.
“As part of our ongoing portfolio management, we considered several options to strengthen the returns of this part of our business,” said ADM Chairman and CEO Patricia A. Woertz. “The sale of the chocolate business helps improve ADM’s returns and will allow us to redeploy capital for higher-return investments.”
Included in the sale are chocolate manufacturing operations located in Hazleton, Pennsylvania; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Georgetown, Ontario; Liverpool, U.K.; Manage, Belgium; and Mannheim, Germany. Approximately 700 employees will transfer to Cargill with the sale.
At the time of closing, ADM will be ending cocoa processing operations at Hazleton, Pennsylvania. This will result in the elimination of about 90 positions at that location. ADM will offer affected employees severance packages and outplacement assistance.
Following the transaction, the 1,560 employees of ADM cocoa will continue to supply customers around the world with ADM’s renowned deZaan® cocoa ingredients from the company’s cocoa operations in Mississauga, Ontario; Koog aan de Zaan and Wormer, Netherlands; Mannheim, Germany; Ilhéus, Brazil; Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire; Kumasi, Ghana; and Singapore.

 
 
 
 

Union Iron Announces Major Expansion Project in Decatur

 Union Iron announced today (Aug. 28) that it will develop a new $11 million facility on East Mound Road and consolidate its current operations at existing Decatur locations into this new facility.  The new facility will provide for significantly improved manufacturing efficiencies and will be able to accommodate the expected growth in Union Iron’s production of customized products.  The decision to develop this facility in Decatur will support the retention of the existing employee base, and it is expected that additional employees will be added over the next several months as the company expands its production operations.

“We are very pleased about the opportunity to have all of the Union Iron operations contained within one facility. This will enhance the effectiveness and productivity of our operations and improve the service levels we provide to our customers,” said Gary Anderson, President and CEO of AGI. “The team at Union Iron has done an excellent job of keeping up with the growth in our domestic and international business, this new facility will allow us to continue to grow and improve the Union Iron product line.”
“We appreciate the efforts of the State of Illinois, the EDC, Macon County and the City of Decatur, for their support of the project. We will realize significant improvements in efficiency and overall operational capacity and this will be instrumental in satisfying the growing needs of our customers” added Mike Brotherton, General Manager of Union Iron.
 “It is only fitting that Union Iron as Decatur’s oldest manufacturing company makes this significant investment in Decatur at the beginning of what many of us see as a period of unparalleled growth and opportunity for our community,” said Decatur’s Mayor Michael McElroy.  “We are very proud to have Union Iron as a part of our world class manufacturing community.  Their decision enhances Decatur’s prospects for other global manufacturing and logistics projects, helping solidify Decatur and Central Illinois as a location of choice for cost-conscious, forward-thinking companies.”
As part of the local effort to support Union Iron’s decision to develop this facility in Decatur, the boundaries of the Decatur Macon County Enterprise Zone were expanded to include the property where the new facility will be built.  Larry Altenbaumer, interim President of the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County (“EDC”) noted, “This is a very good example of the cooperative efforts on the part of the county and the city in expanding the enterprise zone to support this specific opportunity.  This effort was further enhanced by the recent decision of the Argenta-Oreana School District to participate as a tax-abating district in the Enterprise Zone.  These local efforts coupled with strong support from the State of Illinois helped provide a package of economic benefits that were an important part of the decision to develop this facility in Decatur.”  “Illinois has been home to Union Iron for more than 160 years,” Governor Quinn said. “This expansion will mean even more jobs and economic growth for a company that has evolved with our state’s agricultural and industrial markets. With our highly skilled workforce and easy access to the rest of the world, there is no better place for Union Iron to grow and thrive.”

About Ag Growth International

Ag Growth International (AGI) is a leading manufacturer of portable and stationary grain handling, storage and conditioning equipment, including augers, belt conveyors, grain storage bins, grain handling accessories, grain aeration equipment and grain drying systems. AGI has eleven manufacturing facilities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Finland, and distributes its products globally.

 About Union Iron  

Founded in Decatur in 1852, Union Iron Works is Decatur’s oldest manufacturer, currently producing commercial grain handling equipment and systems.  It began by building steam engines.  Later, the Western Corn Sheller was introduced by Union Iron, and it became an important product for many years.  Product lines evolved over the years.  Today Union Iron is one of the world’s largest suppliers of load out and conveyor systems for trucking and maritime operations with products sold on a global basis.  Union Iron was acquired by Canada-based Ag Growth International in 2007.

About the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County

Composed of a combination of leading private sector employers, educational institutions and a variety of governmental bodies, the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur and Macon County is uniquely positioned to support the expansion and retention needs of Macon County’s existing business and employer base and to effectively work with prospective businesses from outside the Central Illinois region to establish Decatur as a desired location for business development.  The EDC works with local, state and federal partners to provide economic, technical and training assistance to businesses in the Macon County area.   



ADM Opens Global Headquarters and Customer Center in Chicago

CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Archer Daniels Midland Company (NYSE: ADM) today (Aug. 25) opened its global headquarters and customer center in downtown Chicago.

“As we continue to grow our company, this location allows us to more easily reach global markets, while keeping us in close contact with U.S. farmers, customers and operations,” said Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz.

About 70 employees are based in the two-floor space, which also includes a culinary facility for ADM to showcase its broad portfolio of food ingredients.

The global headquarters and customer center is located at 77 West Wacker Drive, Suite 4600, Chicago, Illinois, 60601. The main telephone number for the office is 312-634-8100.


Caterpillar Reaches Milestone of
75,000 Wheel Tractor-Scrapers 



Caterpillar Inc. employees marked a major milestone today, commemorating the production of 75,000 wheel tractor-scrapers at the Decatur, Illinois facility. The historic machine, an open-bowl, twin-engine 627K, is built to move high volumes of material quickly and economically with optimum fuel efficiency. 
“Scraper sales have been rebounding steadily in North America since the last downturn,” said Caterpillar Mining Products Vice President Tom Bluth. “And with our new K Series machines, we’re in a great position to win business outside North America as construction investment recovers.” 
  “Congratulations to all who helped design, build, deliver and support 75,000 scrapers,” he continued. “Employees, dealers, suppliers—past and present—we appreciate the role you played. We also extend our thanks to tens of thousands of Caterpillar customers who have put their trust in Cat® scrapers for generations.” 
  Scrapers were one of three product families, along with track-type tractors and motor graders, upon which Caterpillar built its business following World War II. As the U.S. economy boomed and populations began migrating from cities to suburbs, housing and infrastructure construction exploded, spurring demand for high-volume earthmoving tools like the wheel tractor-scraper. Growth was strong all over the world as new global infrastructure began to take shape. Caterpillar responded by expanding the product line and investing in manufacturing capacity, including the operation in Decatur. 
“Just about any major infrastructure project undertaken in the past 70 years, anywhere in the world, you can bet Cat scrapers played a role,” said Sankar Kurumbail, Wheel Tractor Scraper Product Manager at the Caterpillar Decatur plant. “When it comes to high-speed, high-volume earthmoving, it can be hard to find a more economical option. They’re some of the most durable products in our line, too; it’s not unusual to see a scraper from the 1970s still working hard today.” 
  While older models continue to deliver reliable performance, the Cat scraper line has been updated over the years to help customers meet the changing requirements of earthmoving projects.  Today’s K Series models feature automated cycle functions, high-pressure steering, engine-overspeed protection, fuel economy mode, payload monitoring and other innovations that simplify operation, reduce maintenance and boost fuel efficiency. 
“The K Series scrapers are part of a rich legacy the Decatur team is carrying forward every day,” Kurumbail said. “That 75,000th machine was built with the same goal as the first one: making our Caterpillar customers more successful.” 
For more information about Cat K Series Wheel Tractor-Scrapers, customers should contact their local Cat dealer or visit www.cat.com. 
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or to: Decatur Tribune, 
P. O. Box 1490, 
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.

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