Mitsubishi hopes to preserve jobs in transformer factory sale

Nov 14, 2019
Posted by Patrick Haddad

Mitsubishi Electric Power Products is negotiating a sale of the Memphis transformer plant in which officials hope to preserve a majority of jobs.

The Pennsylvania-based unit of Japanese industrial giant Mitsubishi filed a notice with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development Tuesday, Nov. 12, of a planned January plant closing that would affect 160 jobs.

“We really have no further comment until our negotiation concludes with a potential buyer,” the plant’s general manager Joe Durante said.

“As part of our ongoing negotiation with a third party, continued employment for our workforce is important,” Durante said.

“At this time we anticipate the third party will hire a majority of our workforce,” he said.

Durante declined to identify the potential buyer but said it’s another company in the same market in the U.S.

The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing said Mitsubishi notified the state of a “permanent closing” scheduled to begin Jan. 3 and end Jan. 31, 2020.

The Mitsubishi plant, located at 2865 Riverport in the Rivergate Industrial Park in southwest Memphis, was one of a series of economic development wins when it was announced in 2011.

Along with investments in a new Electrolux kitchen products plant and Kruger’s retooling of a paper products factory, it was seen as a sign that Memphis was on a roll in restoring its manufacturing base.

But Electrolux announced early this year it would phase out the Memphis plant and consolidate manufacturing operations in Springfield, Tennessee. The Electrolux plant is due to shut down in June 2021.

The old Memphis-Shelby County industrial development board approved a 15-year tax abatement for Mitsubishi valued at about $34 million in 2012. The company agreed to make a $226 million capital investment and create 281 jobs.

Employment was less than promised, due to weaker than expected demand for the massive electrical transformers produced at the plant.

Mitsubishi invested about $241 million in the plant as of Dec. 31, 2018.

Source: Daily Memphian

Photo (for illustrative purposes): Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Düsseldorf / Plumpaquatsch / Wikipedia / Free for commercial use


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