Electrolux agrees to pay taxes on factory: Memphis official

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) – Swedish appliance-maker Electrolux has agreed to pay taxes on a factory the company has decided to shut down in Memphis, Tennessee, officials said on Friday.

Electrolux said on Thursday that it plans to stop production within two years at its Memphis factory while investing USD250 million to consolidate US cooking manufacturing into its Springfield, Tennessee, facility.

Memphis, Shelby County and the state of Tennessee gave about USD150 million in financial incentives to Electrolux for the factory. Electrolux once said it would employ 1,200 people at the factory, which opened in 2014 and makes ovens. It currently employs about 530 people, who will have to look for jobs after the plant closes.

Incentives included a 15-year property tax abatement programme and a USD95 million cash grant from the state, Memphis officials said.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland and Shelby County Mayor Lee Harris met with Electrolux on Friday and the company agreed to pay the “full taxable amount,” Strickland said in a statement. The amount was not disclosed.

State Senator Brian Kelsey, a lawmaker representing parts of Memphis and Shelby County, said in a statement that he has sent a letter to Governor Bill Lee expressing his concerns about the plant closing. Kelsey said he thinks the state should join Memphis and the county “in recuperating public incentives provided to Electrolux”.

“This loss for Memphis should prompt careful review of the use of taxpayer dollars for similar incentives in the future,” Kelsey said in a statement.

Electrolux did not return a call seeking comment.

Workers assemble ovens at the new Electrolux home cooking appliance factory in Memphis, Tennessee. – AP