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What to Know Now: Maud Borup’s Expansion, Securian’s Next Acquisition

A roundup of business news from around the state, curated by TCB editors.

What to Know Now: Maud Borup’s Expansion, Securian’s Next Acquisition
Christine Lantinen, owner of candy company Maud Borup. (Photo courtesy of the Small Business Administration)

Securian Financial buys Empyrean: St. Paul-based Securian Financial Group Inc. announced Monday that it is acquiring Empyrean Benefit Solutions Inc. Based in Minneapolis, Empyrean specializes in providing a platform for employee benefits enrollment and human resources administration. Chris Hilger, Securian Financial’s chairman, president and CEO said the deal will open up other new growth opportunities for the company. Empyrean will continue to be operated independently.

Candy shop Maud Borup expands: The Plymouth-based, century-old candy and food gift company Maud Borup will break ground next month on a major expansion project, the Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony reports. The project involves expanding the company’s Le Center manufacturing plant and warehouse by 65,000 square feet. The development is expected to add 30 jobs and cost about $5.5 million. It comes less than a year after Maud Borup’s owner Christine Lantinen won the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Person of the Year award.

Hormel Foods reports mixed results: Hormel Foods, the Austin-based global food giant, released its fourth quarter and final 2019 earnings report Tuesday. Net revenue for 2019 was $9.5 billion, while net earnings fell to $255,566 from $261,496 over the same period last year. Jim Snee, Hormel’s chairman of the board, president, and CEO, said the company expects a better 2020. He cited the upcoming expansion of its Burke pizza toppings plant as a growth source. He also noted that the refrigerated foods segment was a strong earnings contributor all year and Jennie-O Turkey delivered a double-digit sales increase in the fourth quarter.

Airlines issue travel advisories for MSP Airport ahead of forecasted storms: Amid forecasts of a massive snowstorm Tuesday night into Wednesday, several airlines have issued advisories for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, reports WCCO. With the Twin Cities expected to see more than 10 inches of snow, Delta, American, Southwest, and Sun Country airlines are urging passengers to stay on top of flight statuses or consider changing flight times—at no cost, via a waiver. The news comes days after MSP Airport reopened its secondary security checkpoint.

Department of Commerce bans battle toy products over lead issue: The Minnesota Department of Commerce Commissioner Steve Kelley issued a ban on Tuesday on off-brand spinning battle toys. State investigators determined the toys contained toxic levels of lead and cadmium. The investigation was conducted by three state agencies. Fifty similar toys were tested and all fifteen of the toys that were found with toxic chemical levels were off-brand versions of the popular spinning battle toy brand Beyblades. Amazon, AliExpress.com, and Wish.com were instructed to stop selling the products or provide disclaimers on the web pages. An Amazon spokesperson told TCB that the “items in question have been removed.”

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