Home Bancshares, parent company of Centennial Bank, announced third-quarter earnings of $16.1 million, up 16 percent compared to $13.8 million one year ago. The quarter ended Sept. 30 was the most profitable quarter in the Conway-based bankÃs history. Home Bancshares said its "strong financial position" would allow it to pursue future FDIC and market acquisition transaction opportunities.

Last week was the deadline for comments surrounding a request for the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) — a move touted by several Arkansas politicians to help farmers through this year’s drought and harsh weather.

The standard would allow a suspension of a regulation that requires transportation fuel sold in the U.S. to contain a minimum volume of renewable fuel, such as ethanol. Earlier this summer, Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, and U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Jonesboro, lobbied for the EPA to suspend the RFS to help Arkansas farmers who were hammered by drought conditions.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, an already declared candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014, raised more than $1 million for his bid during his first three months of fundraising. In his first campaign finance report for governor, McDaniel reported raising $1,035,618.66 and spent $138,525.44. The report showed $923,118.66 was donated for the Democratic primary and $112,500 for a potential runoff.

McDaniel is the only declared candidate for governor in 2014.

Murphy Oil Corp. said Tuesday it will spin off its downstream subsidiary, Murphy Oil USA, into an independent and separately traded company, making the El Dorado-based firm a pure-play exploration and production company.

As part of the transaction, Murphy Oil will pay a special dividend of $2.50 per share for a total dividend of approximately $500 million and a share buyback program of up to $1 billion of the company’s shares of common stock. The deal, which is subject to customary regulatory and shareholder scrutiny, is expected to finalize in 2013.

Murphy Oil’s plan will create two publicly traded companies — its oil and gas exploration and production group (commonly referred to as upstream operations) and its marketing and retail operations (commonly referred to as downstream operations).

Hawker Beechcraft Inc. announced that it intends to emerge from Chapter 11 protection as a standalone company. Wichita, Kan.-based Hawker Beechcraft, which has major operations in Little Rock, also announced that it is no longer pursuing its $1.79 billion merger with Superior Aviation Beijing Co., Ltd. because the parties could not reach agreement on terms for a partnership.

Upon its emergence from Chapter 11, the company intends to rename itself Beechcraft Corp. and will implement a business plan that focuses on its turboprop, piston, special mission and trainer/attack aircraft — the company’s most profitable products — and on its high margin parts, maintenance, repairs and refurbishment businesses, all of which have high growth potential.

The company’s Little Rock facility is known for its production work on high-performance business jets and its maintenance division. It is unclear what the impact of restructuring could be on Little Rock, but it could be dour.

"As part of the plan, the company, in consultation with its key creditor constituents, is evaluating its strategic alternatives for the Hawker product lines, which could include a sale of some or all of those product lines, or a closure of the entire jet business if no satisfactory bids are received," the company said.

NextLife Asset Recovery Services announced it will open a new headquarters and processing facility in Rogers. The company plans to invest more than $10 million and hire 340 in the processing facility and 10 in the corporate headquarters, totaling 350 new jobs in Rogers.

NextLife’s Rogers location will recycle post-consumer plastics into an environmentally sustainable resin that can be used to manufacture new consumer plastic items. The company has already secured agreements with several companies to supply post-consumer plastic waste.

Stribling Equipment LLC will acquire the heavy equipment dealership operations of Warrior of Arkansas Inc., a company operating numerous locations servicing Arkansas and portions of Texas and Oklahoma.

As a result of the acquisition, Stribling Equipment’s operations for John Deere Construction and Forestry now encompass all of Mississippi, Arkansas, the 21 western counties of Tennessee and four eastern counties of Texas and Oklahoma. The western territories of Stribling Equipment will be served by seven new locations: Little Rock, Springdale, Texarkana, Fort Smith, Camden, Monticello and Arkadelphia.

Roby Brock, a freelance journalist based in Little Rock, writes weekly for the Arkansas News Bureau. His weekly television program airs at 10 p.m. Sundays in Central and Northwest Arkansas. His e-mail address is roby@talkbusiness.net; his Web site address is www.talkbusiness.net.