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Briefs

GM plans upgrades in Kansas

General Motors Co. announced plans Monday to pour $600 million into upgrades at its assembly plant in Kansas City, Kan.

Construction on a new 450,000-square-foot paint shop, a stamping press and efficiency enhancements will begin this year and could take about two years to complete, GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said.

Company officials announced this month that GM will invest about $1.5 billion in its North American plants in 2013.

The Detroit-based automaker employs more than 3,600 at its Allen County truck assembly plant, where it recently invested $275 million in equipment and construction to build the next-generation Silverado and Sierra.

Hostess puts Drake’s in Little Debbie hands

Hostess has picked the maker of Little Debbie as the lead bidder for its Drake’s cakes.

According to a filing in U.S. bankruptcy court, McKee Foods has offered $27.5 million cash for the cake brands, which include Devil Dogs, Funny Bones and Yodels. The fate of Twinkies and other Hostess cakes are being negotiated with other bidders. A judge would have to approve the final sale.

A representative for McKee Foods declined to say whether McKee would stop making any brands if the deal goes through.

Home loans are up, with iAB marketing

Independent Alliance Banks Inc. on Monday reported 2012 annual earnings of $9.01 million, or $6.55 per common share, a 15 percent increase over the $7.80 million, or $5.64 a share, posted for 2011.

The Fort Wayne-based parent of iAB Financial Bank also reported fourth-quarter earnings of $2.11 million, or $1.54 per common share, a 21 percent increase from the $1.74 million, or $1.26 a share, posted for the same three months of the previous year.

Increased revenue from wealth management and residential mortgage activity helped offset increased marketing expenses to promote iAB’s new brand.

Old National watches loan growth, expenses

Old National Bancorp on Monday reported 2012 annual earnings of $91.7 million, or 95 cents per diluted common share, a 27 percent increase from the $72.5 million, or 76 cents a share, posted for 2011.

The Evansville-based parent of Old National Bank also reported fourth-quarter earnings of $23 million, or 23 cents per diluted common share, a 4 percent increase over the $22.2 million, or 23 cents a share, posted for the prior year’s fourth quarter.

Bob Jones, president and CEO, said the net income “clearly demonstrates the success of our recent acquisitions and the importance of organic loan growth while keeping a watchful eye on credit and expenses.”

Taco Bell pulls TV ad that mocked veggies

Taco Bell is pulling a TV ad after receiving complaints that it discouraged people from eating vegetables.

The ad by the fast-food chain was touting its variety 12-pack of tacos, with a voiceover saying that bringing a vegetable tray to a party is “like punting on fourth and one.” It said people secretly hate guests who bring vegetables to parties.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest, a health advocacy group, thanked Taco Bell for its speedy response to tweeted customer complaints.

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