Electrolux, Which Took Massive Corporate Welfare, Will Stay in Memphis An Extra Year

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Electrolux will reportedly stay in Memphis one year longer than planned.

As reported, company officials accepted $100 million in corporate welfare to open a plant in Memphis — and this year they enraged the public by announcing they would shut down sometime in 2020.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal, quoting a company official, said plans have changed, however slightly.

“When we announced the Memphis closure, we said that market demand would dictate the exact closure date. We are now in a position to narrow the time frame and expect Memphis production to continue into June 2021. An exact date will be determined early 2021,” the paper reported Electrolux spokeswoman Eloise Hale as saying.

Company officials might return the factory and land gifted to them as part of the corporate welfare, the paper reported.

“In the time since the closure announcement, the company has agreed to terminate the property tax break it received as part of the incentive package,” according to The Commercial Appeal.

“However, the company challenged the tax appraisal it received from the Shelby County Tax Assessor’s office, saying it was too high.”

The paper previously reported that the plant employs about 530 people, all of whom will likely lose their jobs when the plant closes.

The paper previously did not specify why Electrolux officials are pulling out of Memphis, but it did cite unnamed company officials complaining about “challenges they face in today’s global economy.”

As The Tennessee Star reported earlier this year, officials announced in 2011 that Electrolux would receive about $137 million in incentives to set up shop in Memphis where it was supposed to bring up to 2,000 jobs.

Former Republican Gov. Bill Haslam pledged $97 million in taxpayer money to the company, while Memphis and Shelby County officials offered an additional $20 million.

Members of the Beacon Center of Tennessee, a Nashville-based free market think tank, criticized the arrangement and called it “a prime subject” for their 2011 Tennessee Pork Report.

As The Tennessee Watchdog reported that year, some Shelby County commissioners said they had mixed feelings about government subsidizing big business — but they also said they had no other choice but to go along. If they had not, Electrolux would have built their factory elsewhere.

The decision to give away more than $100 million in corporate welfare to lure Electrolux to set up shop in Memphis was so bad that it was called “the worst such deal in Tennessee history” by Bloomberg. 

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.
Photo “Electrolux Memphis” by Damien Bastien. 

 

 

 

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