Missouri Minute: Ameren to build north St. Louis center; Wentzville workers approve GM contract

Good morning, MBA readers,

The leaves, once green, are now red and orange, and there’s a chill in the air on this fall Friday morning, reminding us that seasons are not the only things that change — our opinions and, uh, corporate profits do, too. Whether it’s St. Louis officials saying they wholeheartedly support airport privatization (emails obtained by the St. Louis Business Journal tell a different story) or United Auto Workers representatives claiming General Motors is earning “record profits” (it did … three years ago, Politifact Missouri reports) the details surrounding the day’s biggest business stories are seldom static. Read on to get caught up on those details — before they go changing again.


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KC commission rejects subsidies for luxury hotel
Kansas City’s Tax Increment Financing Commission opted not to offer subsidies to help finance a 145-room arts hotel near the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. The vote means the subsidies will require a supermajority of the Kansas City Council to be approved. (Kansas City Star)

Wentzville workers vote to approve GM contract
United Auto Workers members in Wentzville voted Thursday night in favor of the tentative agreement, in which General Motors has committed $1.5 billion to the company’s assembly plant in the St. Louis suburb. About 64% of production workers and 70% of skilled trades workers approved the deal. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Ameren to build north St. Louis operating center
The electric utility announced plans to build a $21 million center in north St. Louis, replacing the old center nearby. Its construction is expected to employ around 500 workers. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Kansas City’s Tnemec acquires second company of 2019
The architectural and industrial protective coatings manufacturer acquired 34-employee Textured Coatings of America. Tnemec acquired a St. Louis-based coatings company earlier this year. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Arkansas fines Missouri farmer $105,000 for illegal herbicide
The Arkansas Plant Board fined a southeast Missouri farmer for using dicamba on a field near the Arkansas-Missouri border. The board said the farmer sprayed the herbicide off-target, charging him with the biggest fine since the substance was banned in Arkansas last year. (US News & World Report)

Goebel & Co. expands to north St. Louis
The custom French furniture designer purchased a 15,000-square-foot building in St. Louis’ Near North Riverfront neighborhood to serve as its new manufacturing headquarters. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC program chooses three more startups for funding
Digital Sandbox KC, a proof-of-concept program for early-stage businesses, has selected three startups to receive up to $20,000 apiece to help commercialize their ideas. (MBA)

Facebook stokes bipartisan concern among Missouri lawmakers
Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and said he’s worried the company’s planned cryptocurrency “will further the development of terror cells and money laundering.” He joins Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, in meeting the Facebook founder to express concerns. (MBA)

Two Ferguson residents to sue T.E.H. Realty for refusing to make repairs
Two residents of a Ferguson apartment complex are asking a judge to grant class-action status to a lawsuit against the realty company, claiming it refused to make repairs on the 438-unit Northwinds Apartment complex. Tenants said the company’s lack of repairs has left them with unsafe and unsanitary living conditions. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)


Say that again

“I was unaware of this as well.”

That’s what St. Louis airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebrugge wrote in March 2017 about privatizing St. Louis Lambert International Airport when the city’s then-Mayor Francis Slay first announced the effort, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Today, many early critics of the proposed airport privatization have lined up in support of the effort. But Hamm-Niebrugge’s emails, which were recently released through a records request by the Business Journal, reveal the confusion and resentment felt by some of these same supporters.


Go figure

$7.9 billion

That’s how much General Motors earned in net income last year, which runs contrary to the United Auto Workers’ insistence that GM is “making record profits,” Politifact Missouri reports. The last time GM made record profit was in 2015, when it reported $9.7 billion in income, which can be attributed in part to increased demand for high-margin pickup trucks. GM’s profit leveled off at $9.4 billion in 2016 before plummeting to a loss of $3.9 billion in 2017. Therefore, Politifact Missouri rated the UAW statement as “Half True” since GM has not gotten close to record incomes in almost three years.


Hello, my name is

Kansys

This software firm in the Kansas City area is buying a chunk of Ericsson, a Swedish global telecommunications company that employs about 300 people in the area, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. Kansys is expected to close on a deal later this month to acquire Ericsson’s enterprise and cloud billing business for an undisclosed price. Kansys officials say the acquisition will allow the firm to speed up its delivery of custom software.


It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning. Here’s hoping you can get out and enjoy those changing fall colors this weekend.


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