MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Electrolux is committed to awarding contracts to local companies and firms owned by minorities and women for construction of its $266 million kitchen appliances manufacturing plant in Memphis, officials said Tuesday.
Electrolux detailed the steps it is taking to give contracts for the construction project during a Tuesday morning news conference attended by the mayors of Memphis and surrounding Shelby County.
The factory will make ranges, wall ovens and cooktops and is expected to start up in 2014. It will employ more than 1,200 people and add hundreds more jobs to the area in secondary businesses such as supply companies and construction companies that will help build the factory, Electrolux said.
But Memphis-area officials have raised concerns that Electrolux would not award enough contracts to locally owned businesses, or those run by minorities and women, even though the company is receiving more than $150 million in tax breaks from city, county and state governments for the plant.
Electrolux says it intends to spend more than half of the $80 million construction project locally. Of the $15.3 million spent on construction so far, $14.5 million has gone to local companies, the company said.
And, of the $15.3 million that has been spent, $6.3 million, or 41 percent, has been awarded to five local firms owned by minorities and women.
Electrolux project director Jacob Burroughs said the company believes it will meet and surpass its goal of awarding 15 percent of the money spent on construction to businesses owned by minorities and women.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton Jr. said he and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell have been in talks with the company about the local construction contracts.
"The bottom line is simply ensuring that all folks here in Memphis and Shelby County, particularly those who are seeking to build their businesses to support themselves and their families ... they will have a fair opportunity to do so," Wharton said.