UPDATED — Plastics machinery maker Milacron LLC has pledged to invest $11 million in its Ohio facilities and add nearly 300 jobs — including moving its headquarters from Cincinnati's Oakley neighborhood to the Cincinnati suburb of Blue Ash — after winning a 10-year state tax credit.
The investment breaks down to $8 million in building renovations and $3 for new machinery, according to Thomas Seward, senior project manager for JobsOhio, the state's economic development arm.
Milacron is a major employer in southwestern Ohio. The company employs 933 people at its main machinery assembly factory in Batavia, a machining operation in nearby Mount Orab, the headquarters offices and in Oakley, where the company makes its fluids for metalworking. The package, approved June 1 by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, will help Milacron retain those jobs in the state.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 75 percent, 10-year job creation tax credit for the company's expansion project and headquarters move. Milacron has committed to adding 294 jobs and retaining the existing jobs, Seward said.
Seward said the agreement actually covers 13 years — tacking an additional three years at the end, if the company retains the jobs.
News reports quoted Seward from the June 1 Ohio Tax Credit Authority meeting in Columbus, the state capital, said Milacron officials had been looking at whether to move more than 750 of its Ohio jobs to Indiana. Job-retention tax credits typically have a competitive component, designed to boost jobs in the state.
A spokeswoman for the Indiana Economic Development Corp. declined to comment. Milacron officials were not saying much publicly in the days after the tax credit and loan were announced.
“The move is an in-market move. The primary reason is essentially to help facilitate growth for the company,” a Milacron spokesman said.
Milacron CEO Tom Goeke did not return a telephone call for this story.
Milacron will move 43 headquarters employees, with a payroll of just over $6 million, to Blue Ash, said Neil Hensley, economic development director for the city. Blue Ash has granted a $75,000 loan for bringing in the new jobs, which Hensley said is forgivable if the company meets the job goals.
Milacron was founded in 1860 as Cincinnati Screw and Tap Co. The company was officially incorporated in 1884. It was renamed Cincinnati Milacron in 1970, two years after the company began manufacturing injection molding machines.
“They're one of the most recognizable names in major Cincinnati industry,” Hensley said. The region remains an industrial center, as manufacturing jobs make up a higher percentage of the overall workforce there than in many other parts of the country, he said.
Milacron's headquarters will move into a multi-tenant office building in Blue Ash. A developer purchased the building a year ago and has done a major renovation. Milacron is the first new tenant in the refurbished building, Hensley said.
June 1 was a big day for Blue Ash. Kroger Co., the Cincinnati-based grocery chain, also won an Ohio tax credit and announced it was bringing in 649 new jobs to Blue Ash for its new business administration and distribution centers.
Kroger, a Fortune 500 company, dwarfs Milacron. But Hensley, a native of Cincinnati who has years of economic development experience, said “Cincinnati Milacron” is an important manufacturing company, both locally and internationally.
“When I've traveled the world, it was always very interesting to me to be in a factory in China, in Germany or Japan, and to see the name Cincinnati on a piece of machinery. It was always a source of pride to see the Cincinnati name in so many companies' factories,” Hensley said.
In addition to injection molding presses, Milacron makes extruders, blow molding machines and structural foam molding machines, as well as mold bases and components, hot runners and coinjection molding systems.
An initial public stock offering is in Milacron's future. The company announced April 3 that it plans an IPO on either the New York Stock Exchange of NASDAQ Global Market.
That would mark a return to the stock market, since Milacron was traded on the NYSE for years until getting delisted in 2008. Private equity owners took Milacron private in 2009, after Milacron filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. The company soon emerged from Chapter 11, and recently has been buying companies and adding new technologies.