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Business

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    Lakeland Financial Corp. today reported record second-quarter earnings of $11.3 million, or 68 cents per diluted common share, a 22 percent increase from the $9.2 million, or 56 cents a share, posted for the same three months of 2013.
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Briefs

Top automakers stash cash: Study

A new study shows that the top 10 global automakers amassed more than $221 billion in cash by the end of 2013 to invest in new products, strategic alliances and other growth strategies.

Global consultancy EY said last week that effectively managing that cash was a key concern among 100 top industry executives it had surveyed.

EY analyst Anil Valsan said companies are stockpiling cash so they don’t have to count on banks, which have been reluctant to offer loans. The cash pile has grown steadily despite the crisis and partly in reaction to it, the survey found. EY didn’t have comparative figures from previous years.

Besides new car development, automakers are looking for strategic partners to enter new markets in northern Africa, the Middle East and southeast Asia.

Mall of America secures funds for expansion

The Mall of America has secured financing for a $300 million expansion.

The mega mall, with more than 400 stores, plans to break ground this month on a project that includes a luxury hotel, office tower and additional retail and food space. Mall spokesman Dan Jasper says the addition could be finished by August of next year.

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community earlier announced that they were in talks with the mall about partnering on the 330-room hotel included in the project. The tribe or mall representatives aren’t commenting on whether the Shakopee are a financial partner.

Albertsons parent Cerberus to buy Safeway

Safeway says it has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerebus Capital Management, the owner of Albertsons and several other supermarket chains.

The acquisition is worth about $7.64 billion in cash, and pending other transactions could top more than $9 billion.

Cerberus bought five chains including Albertson’s and Jewel-Osco from Supervalu Inc. last year. Kroger Co. also recently snapped up regional chain Harris Teeter.

Visa, MasterCard join to secure consumer data

Visa and MasterCard want banks and retailers to work together on securing customer data and stop blaming each other after a massive data breach during the holiday season.

The two payment networks announced Friday that they are bringing together large and small banks, credit unions, retailers, makers of card processing equipment and industry trade groups in a group that aims to strengthen the U.S. payment system for credit and debit cards. The data breaches affecting Target Corp., the No. 2 U.S. discounter, and luxury retailer Neiman Marcus have shaken consumers’ confidence.

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