Roundup: Business First’s Q4 / Women in business / US factory growth

Earnings: Business First Bancshares, Inc. parent company of Baton Rouge-based Business First Bank, announced its unaudited 2018 full-year net income of $14.1 million, or $1.22 per diluted share, increases of $9.2 million and $0.61, respectively, from the prior year. Net income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 was $3.4 million. “2018 was a transformative year for our company, and we look forward to building on the momentum we’ve generated to maximize value on behalf of our clients and our shareholders over the course of 2019,” says Jude Melville, president and CEO. Read the full announcement.

Self-starters: ESSENCE is launching an economic initiative to help Louisiana woman entrepreneurs and professionals gain more access to contracts and business resources. The initiative, called The Pipeline, is hosting an information session in Baton Rouge on Feb. 6. The Pipeline is designed to increase the pool of Louisiana-based women and black professionals pursuing careers and business opportunities in live events and technical production. See the ESSENCE website for more information.

Gears turning: American factories grew at a slightly faster pace in January than in the previous month when there had been a big slowdown in manufacturing activity. The Institute for Supply Management, an association of purchasing managers, said Friday that its manufacturing index rose to 56.6 last month, up from 54.3 in December. Anything above 50 signals growth in manufacturing. The January gain of 2.3 percentage points followed a December plunge of 4.5 percentage points which had been the biggest drop in a decade. The January rebound was driven by strong gains in new orders and production. Read the full story.   

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