Arkansas Business

Authorities say two people have been injured in an explosion and fire at a defense technology manufacturing plant in southern Arkansas.

Ron Nash, assistant chief of the Camden fire department, says a report of a possible explosion at Esterline Defense Technologies came in just before 7 p.m. Monday.

Nash says the blast affected only one building and firefighters were able to contain the blaze.

He says two people were hurt. It wasn't immediately clear if they were employees, and Nash didn't know the extent of their injuries.

Arkansas-based Simmons First National Corp. has announced plans to purchase Tennessee-based Citizens National Bancorp Inc. in a $77 million deal.

Simmons said in a news release Wednesday that the purchase includes 835,741 shares of Simmons common stock and $40.3 million in cash.

CNB operates nine financial centers in eastern Tennessee with assets of $552 million, loans of $352 million, deposits of $473 million and trust assets of $217 million.

Gretchen Hall
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Gretchen Hall, CEO of the Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau, likes the numbers she sees.

Last year, Pulaski County accounted for 13,000 travel-related jobs and 6.1 million visitors who spent nearly $1.8 billion in travel expenditures. That translates into more than $31 million in travel-related local taxes and $69 million in travel-related state taxes.

Why is the capital city so attractive for visitors?

Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center

A report issued last week by human rights advocacy group Oxfam America details how workers in poultry processing plants throughout the United States are often denied bathroom breaks. Some surveyed workers say they’ve resorted to urinating on themselves and wearing diapers. Oxfam partnered with several organizations around the country to compile the report.

Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center

A report from international advocacy group Oxfam says poultry workers in the United States labor in a "climate of fear," with some forced to wear diapers on the job.

It says many workers are afraid to ask for permission to go to the bathroom. The report says a worker at a Simmons Foods plant in Arkansas told Oxfam that she and many others resorted to wearing diapers. A Tyson Foods worker says in the report that many workers at his North Carolina plant "have to urinate in their pants."

Tyson
Tyson Foods

Talk Business and Politics reports:

Before the market opens Monday, Tyson Foods is expected to post $403 million in net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 which ended. That equates to a Wall Street consensus of $1.03 per share, up 38% over the 75 cents per share reported in the same quarter of 2015.

The company posted net income of $313 million in the year-ago period.

rice fields
Mickey Liaw / Flickr.com

Business growth in Arkansas lost a step in April as a leading economic indicator for the region shows the state’s manufacturing, farming and energy sectors continue to shed jobs and affect overall economic expansion.

Communications Sales & Leasing Inc. on Monday completed its $409 million acquisition of PEG Bandwidth LLC, a Lewisville, Texas-based operator of dark fiber and cell site backhaul assets for mostly rural telecom carriers and enterprises.

www.sunpapergroup.com/

The investment in south Arkansas by one of China's largest private companies, Sun Paper, is considered a win by state economic development officials. However, some have concerns about the implications of the country's manufacturing practices and what it will mean for workers at the new bio-products mill near Arkadelphia. 

Tyson
Tyson Foods

The Carroll County Quorum Court judge has authorized incentives that will help a Springdale-based meat processor build its first new plant in years.

Arkansas Business reports that the $136 million Tyson Foods Inc. plant will be built across the street from another one of the company's plants in Green Forest, with a corridor connecting the two.

Tyson officials say the project will bring about 85 jobs to the county, where it already has more than 2,600 employees.

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