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AGMA NewsBrief
Dec. 2, 2008
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Northstar Aerospace Inc. Divesting Non-Core Business
from Trading Markets
Northstar Aerospace Inc. announced plans today to divest its Pratt & Whitney repair and overhaul operation, Northstar Aerospace Turbine Engine Service Group, Inc. located in Stroud, Okla., to focus on its core business of manufacturing gears and transmissions. Northstar acquired this business in 1998 and has seen its revenue base grow from less than $5 million in revenue in 1989 to estimated revenue for 2008 in excess of $15 million. More

ALD Holcroft

Manufacturing Index at 26 Year Low
from CNN Money
A closely watched index of the nation's manufacturing activity fell further in November, to a 26-year low, and remained at a level indicating overall economic contraction for the second straight month. The Tempe, Ariz.-based Institute for Supply Management, a purchasing management group, said Monday its manufacturing index declined to a reading of 36.2 in November from 38.9 in October. It was the lowest reading for the index since May 1982. More

Why Big Three Can't Follow Steel's Path
from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Earlier this decade, when it was battered by cheap imports and burdened with pension and health care obligations, America's hemorrhaging steel industry ensured its survival by swallowing the bitter pill of bankruptcy. Throwing themselves at the mercy of judges who kept creditors at bay, Bethlehem Steel and other Rust Belt icons shed $8 billion in pension obligations and instantly made themselves more attractive targets for acquirers. The buyers negotiated court-approved wage, benefit and other concessions from labor unions, closed outdated mills, and consolidated a fragmented industry. Could the same prescription cure Detroit's Big Three? Analysts believe the discipline and focus bankruptcy exerted on debilitated steelmakers would be good for the Big Three, given their public relations gaffe of taking corporate jets to Washington to plead for a $25 billion loan. But analysts said there are a host of reasons why the court-supervised regimen won't work for the Big Three. More

Lessons Learned? Steel Industry Hopes So
from The Times West Virginian
While domestic steel producers hope for the best in 2009, they’re hunkered down now for a long, hard winter — idling furnaces and plants, cutting back on spending and laying off workers as they try to ride out a nose-diving world economy. “I think the surprising aspect of what’s been happening in the marketplace is the suddenness with which demand dropped off,” said Nancy Gravatt, vice president of communications for the American Iron & Steel Institute. “People in the industry, people who’ve been in steel for 20 or 30 years, say they’ve never seen it drop off this dramatically, this quickly.” More

Big Three Back to Congress This Week
from AFP
Chastened executives from the Big Three U.S. carmakers will return to Washington this week in a bid to convince lawmakers that their companies are worth saving with 25 billion dollars in government-backed low-cost loans. They will be armed with proof that they are working to restructure their stumbling businesses and will be able to emerge from the current deep slump as viable companies focused on developing new technology to build more environmentally friendly vehicles. The auto executives were to deliver a summary of their restructuring plans to lawmakers on Tuesday, the same day they are expected to report another brutal drop in monthly auto sales. The chiefs of GM, Ford and Chrysler will then testify before Congress on Wednesday and Friday. More

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Oil Prices in Retreat, OPEC Struggles
from The International Business Times
Over the summer, the OPEC cartel couldn't prevent oil prices from surging to record levels even when its members pumped full out. Now, the producers seem equally unable to stop prices from collapsing as the global economy cools down. Members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries left an informal meeting in Cairo this weekend without an agreement to reduce production, but with rising doubts about fraying discipline and tensions within the group that accounts for 40 percent of the world's oil exports. So, great uncertainty still looms over the market. Have producers managed to draw a line in the sand, or will oil prices keep falling in coming months? More

Indian Car Manufacturers Eye U.S. Market
from The Toledo Blade
Yet another challenge is facing the U.S. auto industry. And this time, it isn’t coming from Japan, South Korea, or Germany - or the meltdown of the economy. In the next few years, Indian automakers and parts suppliers, long outcasts because of lackluster innovation and stagnant technology, have ambitious plans to sell cars to American consumers and peddle parts to carmakers in this country. India’s anticipated foray into the downtrodden U.S. automotive market poses an immediate threat to Detroit’s Big Three and their domestic suppliers, already teetering on the brink of bankruptcy because of lagging sales stemming from a tightening credit market and competition from Asian automakers. More

GM Pondering Brand Cuts
from Trading Markets
The Detroit Free Press reports that General Motors, in its attempt to put forth a workable restructuring plan to keep it from going bankrupt, is at least looking at killing off three brands—Pontiac, Saab and Hummer. Everyone knows that GM is over-branded. The problem has long been that the company does not want to have to pay dealers to fold the brands it does not need as it did with Oldsmobile in 2001. State franchise laws prevent a car company from simply ending a brand. Closing down Oldsmobile cost the company around $2 billion. It’s unclear how GM could avoid paying big money to shutter the three brands. More

Wind Could Renew Manufacturing
from Delaware Online
Even as more than 1,000 workers get ready to walk out of Chrysler LLC's Newark, N.J., car plant for the final time next month, state economic development officials and some business leaders think manufacturing still has a future in Delaware. With a growing number of states along the Eastern Seaboard turning to wind power for a portion of their electricity needs, the demand for the parts that make up wind turbines - the tower, gearbox and blades - is rising much faster than supply. That is doubly true for the huge turbine structures needed for offshore wind farms such as the one Bluewater Wind plans to build off Rehoboth Beach, or farms developers want to erect in ocean waters off New Jersey, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. More

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