La­mont: Otis will stay, UTC to hire 1,000 at Pratt & Whit­ney

The Register Citizen (Torrington, CT) - - FRONT PAGE - By Dan Haar

United Tech­nolo­gies will hire 1,000 peo­ple at its Pratt & Whit­ney unit and Otis El­e­va­tor Co. will keep its head­quar­ters in Con­necti­cut af­ter a planned spinoff next year, Gov. Ned La­mont said Tues­day.

The moves fol­low by two days UTC’s an­nounce­ment that the aero­space gi­ant will merge with Raytheon Co., maker of mis­siles and spy equip­ment, and move the head of­fice of the newly formed $100 bil­lion cor­po­ra­tion to metro Boston.

It comes as con­so­la­tion and maybe then some to a state that was shell­shocked by the UTC news. But in an in­ter­view, La­mont said the moves were not pre­sented to him as a makeup for the loss of UTC’s head­quar­ters, which would hap­pen by mid-2020 if the Raytheon deal is ap­proved.

“This is just busi­ness as usual for them,” La­mont said, mak­ing the point that UTC is sat­is­fied with Con­necti­cut’s eco­nomic di­rec­tion.

Pratt cur­rently has about 13,000 jobs in East Hart­ford

and Mid­dle­town, and has been adding em­ploy­ees ro­bustly in re­cent years as work peaks on the en­gines for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and the geared tur­bo­fan com­mer­cial en­gines.

Many peo­ple in Con­necti­cut have be­lieved Otis, based in Farm­ing­ton, would exit the state af­ter its spinoff from UTC, ex­pected in the first few months of 2020. Car­rier, UTC’s air con­di­tion­ing and build­ing con­trols unit, is also spin­ning off and is now based in Florida but has em­ploy­ees at the UTC cam­pus in Farm­ing­ton.

La­mont spoke with Greg Hayes, chief ex­ec­u­tive of UTC, Sun­day evening around the time of the merger an­nounce­ment, and again Tues­day morn­ing. On Sun­day, La­mont said in an in­ter­view, “I said, ‘Tell me about the de­ci­sion,’ and he was very pos­i­tive about Con­necti­cut, pos­i­tive on what we did with our bud­get, pos­i­tive on Pratt & Whit­ney and hir­ing peo­ple.”

La­mont wasn’t able to say how many of the 1,000 new hires at Pratt would be ad­di­tional and how many would fill va­can­cies, but it’s a safe bet that most are new jobs that would add to the to­tal.

The gover­nor has said all along, even be­fore he was sworn in on Jan. 9, that he was in close con­tact with UTC and con­sid­ered it a high pri­or­ity to keep the com­pany in Con­necti­cut. In all, UTC has more than 18,000 em­ploy­ees in Con­necti­cut in­clud­ing a few thou­sand at Collins Aero­space, for­merly Hamil­ton Sund­strand, in Wind­sor Locks.

“He talked about his com­mit­ment to the state of Con­necti­cut,” La­mont said of Hayes, “and for him, his com­mit­ment is new folks at Pratt & Whit­ney, Otis El­e­va­tor, job train­ing, the in­cu­ba­tor that they’re cre­at­ing, the en­gi­neer­ing fa­cil­ity... along the way, Raytheon is head­quar­tered in Massachuse­tts, so that came along.”

La­mont re­counted Hayes’ com­ments: “Con­grat­u­la­tions on get­ting a bud­get done with­out rais­ing taxes, and on time.”

UTC did not im­me­di­ately pro­vide a com­ment on the prom­ises of new jobs and the Otis head­quar­ters.

The $21 bil­lion bud­get adopted by the Gen­eral As­sem­bly, which La­mont will sign, in­cludes about $170 mil­lion in tax in­creases and an equal amount in post­poned tax cuts and cred­its. It does not raise any tax rates.

“What’s go­ing on in Con­necti­cut is a pos­i­tive for him, it’s got noth­ing to do with the cor­po­rate lo­ca­tion,” La­mont con­tin­ued.

Repub­li­cans dis­agree with that con­tention, say­ing ris­ing costs and taxes are driv­ing peo­ple and busi­nesses out. The Con­necti­cut Mir­ror pub­lished a story be­fore the 2018 elec­tion say­ing a UTC board mem­ber was heard at a party say­ing that if La­mont were elected, UTC would leave. The board mem­ber de­clined to com­ment when Mark Pazniokas of The Mir­ror asked him about it.

“Con­necti­cut punches above its weight in aero­space, de­fense, en­gi­neer­ing, and ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing,” La­mont said in a writ­ten state­ment. “Our highly skilled tal­ent, ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams, and ecosys­tem are ground zero for com­pa­nies like Pratt & Whit­ney and Otis. No one is will­ing to walk away from that.”

Be­cause UTC keeps a lean cor­po­rate head­quar­ters with most ex­ec­u­tives as­signed to its op­er­at­ing units, the exit to Massachuse­tts — as part of the cre­ation of Raytheon Tech­nolo­gies — is ex­pected to cost Con­necti­cut only about 100 jobs.

Some of those are among the high­est-pay­ing jobs at the com­pany, but grow­ing em­ploy­ment at Pratt and a global Otis head­quar­ters in Con­necti­cut would more than make up for it eco­nom­i­cally. What’s lost if the merger goes through is the pres­tige, phi­lan­thropy and lo­cal com­merce that comes with hav­ing a head­quar­ters of a Dow Jones bell­wether com­pany — along with the his­tory, as UTC was founded in East Hart­ford in 1929 and has been syn­ony­mous with avi­a­tion ever since.

Otis, with global sales of about $12.5 bil­lion, is no small busi­ness it­self and is the most in­ter­na­tional of UTC’s four di­vi­sions. Founded by Elisha Otis in Yonkers, N.Y. in 1853, the com­pany was ac­quired by UTC in a hos­tile takeover in 1976.

It’s not clear how many peo­ple are at the Otis head­quar­ters now and how many would staff it as a free­stand­ing, pub­licly traded cor­po­ra­tion. Otis also has a test cen­ter in Bris­tol and a ser­vice and sup­ply fa­cil­ity in Bloom­field with sev­eral hun­dred em­ploy­ees.

The UTC-Raytheon merger would be a stock swap, mean­ing it would be a tax-free com­bi­na­tion rather than a sale of one com­pany to the other. That may be a rea­son why UTC had to agree to move the head­quar­ters to metro Boston; with no pre­mium paid to Raytheon stock­hold­ers, the lo­ca­tion is part of the sweetener that makes the deal hap­pen.

Raytheon Tech­nolo­gies would be based in, at or near Raytheon’s cur­rent head­quar­ters in Waltham, Mass. The merger is sub­ject to sev­eral govern­ment ap­provals.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.