Whirlpool Corporation's latest U.S. expansion efforts got a boost from the state of Ohio when the State Controlling Board released U.S. $3.9 million in development funds to support Whirlpool's expansion projects in the state
The decision comes after Whirlpool decided to invest U.S. $23 million in new equipment and $5 million in inventory at its Clyde, OH, U.S. facility, where the company is expected to begin building its next generation of washing machines in 2006.
"(Whirlpool doesn't) get into specifics as far as the type of machinery they're making. That's proprietary information," Clyde City Manager Dan Weaver said. "But Clyde was in competition with other divisions of Whirlpool in other states and probably in other countries as far as whether they were going to build the machine. And they chose once again to build that new product in Clyde."
The state incentive will help retain more than 3,000 jobs at the Clyde factory, where workers churn out 18,000 washing machines daily, Mr. Weaver said.
"It's the largest washing machine factory anywhere in the world," noted Christopher Wyse, spokesperson for the Benton Harbor, MI, U.S.-based company, although he did not confirm Mr. Weaver's figures.
Mr. Wyse said the announcement was just confirmation of plans Whirlpool announced in May when it said it would invest up to $145 million in its Ohio facilities. "It has been and remains an important part of our North American manufacturing platform," Mr. Wyse said.
The state incentive package included a 15-year, 100-percent tax abatement, Mr. Weaver said. Whirlpool agreed to donate $718,000 to Clyde City Schools, an amount based on taxes it would have paid to the school throughout 15 years. Mr. Weaver said the company will donate an additional $85,333 over 9 years; a figure based on inventory tax the company would have paid. The inventory tax gift is only for 9 years because the state is phasing it out.
"The decision to expand its existing facilities here as opposed to locating elsewhere speaks to the quality of our workforce and the high level of cooperation that we've been able to achieve between public and private entities and state and local government organizations," said State Senator Larry Mumper, R-Marion, in announcing the release of the funds.
Whirlpool is said to employ 9,400 people in the state of Ohio. In addition to the Clyde facility, the company builds dishwashers in Findlay, OH and Kitchen Aid small appliances in Greenville, OH. (The News-Messenger)
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