General Electric could pour another $277 million into Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

General Electric could pour another $277 million into Louisville Appliance Park

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Even as it prepares to sell its appliance division to Electrolux, General Electric is considering pouring an additional $277 million into Louisville Appliance Park. On Thursday, a state board approved an offer of $40 million in taxpayer money to GE should it follow through with the $277 million investment and retain 5,263 jobs in Louisville.

GE – and presumably Electrolux -- would be eligible to collect up to $4 million a year from the state and Metro government for 10 years.

“GE is currently evaluating making additional investments in Appliance Park that would add new advanced manufacturing and research capabilities, allow for increased insourcing of components and products and help sustain current employment,” according to a document from the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority. “Staying competitive in the appliances industry requires regular investment and a relentless focus on reducing costs through new technology and productivity gains.”

Kim Freeman, GE's Louisville-based spokeswoman, said the pending sale to Electrolux is still six to nine months from closing, and “in the meantime we have to move forward. We have to build on the momentum we have already created."

GE plans to invest the money in Appliance Park beginning next month and through December 2016, according to information from Freeman. But it's unclear how the sale to Electrolux, which is projected to close in mid-2015, might affect the plan.

Electrolux was aware of GE's intent to apply for the $40 million in incentives, Electrolux spokeswoman Eloise Hale said Thursday. But she would not say anything more about Electrolux's plans.

"We remain two separate companies until the deal closes," she said.

As WDRB reported on Sunday, it's uncertain what effect the sale of General Electric's appliance division to Electrolux will have on jobs in Louisville.

Freeman said the state incentives could be transferred to Electrolux after the sale. The state would have to approve the transfer, she said.

The $40 million offer was made possible by a bill pushed earlier this year by Kentucky House Speaker Pro-tem Larry Clark, a Louisville Democrat. Clark's bill allowed the state to extend the same super-generous incentives it gives to automakers, such as Ford and Toyota, to appliance makers such as General Electric.

The state requires the big manufacturers to invest at least $100 million in their plants to get the incentive money, but not to create any new jobs – only to preserve existing jobs.

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