WisBusiness: Doyle pledges $6 million for Beloit firm

WisBusiness Staff

Gov. Jim Doyle on Thursday announced $6 million to help the Kerry Group expand its American headquarters in Beloit. Doyle joined with representatives from the City of Beloit and Kerry Americas, a worldwide leader in food production, sales and marketing to make the announcement.

“To be competitive long into the future, we need to work together with companies to provide the best environment and opportunities to thrive in our economy,” Governor Doyle said. “Today, we’re taking another step forward to create opportunities for business and hardworking families, and give our state the edge we need to compete, and win in the global marketplace.”

The Beloit expansion is expected to retain 800 jobs around the state and create 250 new, good paying jobs for the area. The City of Beloit also provided $4.7 million to improve infrastructure and help Kerry Americas grow and create jobs in the community.

Kerry Americas considered Illinois for the $45 million expansion, but chose Beloit, the company’s American headquarters, because of the work done by the Department of Commerce, the Department of Transportation, and the City of Beloit to make sure Kerry Americas’ new Center of Excellence opened in Wisconsin, said Commerce spokesman Tony Hozeny.

He said the Kerry expansion is significant because it not only includes the company’s North American headquarters, but a “Center of Excellence” in which Kerry will conduct research and development activities. “These jobs will pay an average of $52,000,” Hozeny said.

He said it is especially important for Wisconsin to retain corporate headquarters and create research jobs in this state.

“We want R&D jobs, which will pay an average of $52,000 annually each in Beloit,” he said.

“And having Kerry’s American corporate offices here means they are more likely to expand in our state.”

He said the $6 million from the state breaks down into $500,000 from the Transportation Department for infrastructure, $2.5 million in loans and $3 million in enterprise development tax zone credits.

In recent years, he said the state has made loans and given grants to other companies to get them to add jobs, expand and build facilities. They include General Motors, which got $10 million for its Janesville plant; Flambeau River Papers, which received $4 million to create 300 jobs in northern Wisconsin; and Northwest Mutual, which got $6 million in tax credits to help fund 1,100 new jobs in Milwaukee.

Earlier this month, Doyle announced $250,000 in enterprise development tax zone credits for Allstate Insurance to develop a claims center in Cross Plains.

“None of these are cookie-cutter projects,” he said. “They are all different.”

Stan McCarthy, president and CEO of Kerry Americas, said the new new facility “will bring together Kerry expertise in a way that makes it easy for our customers and employees to collaborate and deliver innovative, integrated solutions.

“Our expansion in Wisconsin is an integral part of our growth strategy and helps ensure Kerry Group remains a leader in the food and beverage industry and one of Wisconsin’s great places to work.”

Beloit City Manager Larry Arft said he was proud that Kerry had chosen Beloit for its new research center.

“I know I speak on behalf of the entire City of Beloit when I say how proud and pleased we are that Kerry Americas selected Beloit to located its new Center of Excellence.

“We also want to thank Governor Doyle, Commerce Secretary Mary Burke, as well as local developers Ken Hendricks and John Patch of Turtle Creek Development Corporation for their support in helping retain Kerry Americas headquarters and the addition of the technical center.”

Kerry Americas – part of Kerry Group, which has global headquarters in Ireland – is a world leader in food production, sales and marketing. The company employees 20,000 people across Europe, North America, South America, New Zealand and Asia, and supplies more than 10,000 food products for consumers in more than 140 countries.