Hill's decision on plant looming
Topeka, Emporia in running for facility that would result in 100 jobs
By Michael Hooper
Published Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Possibly as early as today, Hill's Pet Nutrition is expected to announce the location of a new manufacturing plant that would employ more than 100 people.
Topeka, Emporia, Gardner and Ottawa in Kansas and Harrisonville, Mo., were all vying for the plant.
Topeka and Emporia were especially hopeful of landing the plant because they are part of a pet food industry cluster in northeast Kansas. Besides Hill's Pet Nutrition, Topeka is home to Del Monte Pet Products. Emporia has Menu Foods and Emporia Pet Food owned by American Nutrition.
Kent Heerman, president of the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas, said he couldn't comment on where Hill's was locating the plant.
"It's our policy not to confirm or deny prospective companies that we're working with," Heerman said Tuesday. "I've got to keep the integrity of client confidentiality. It's their thunder."
The Legislature approved a corporate income tax break to entice Hill's to locate the manufacturing plant in Kansas. The bill was designed to bring Kansas more in line with business tax incentives available in Missouri and other states.
Hill's had sales of $1.66 billion in 2006, up 9 percent from $1.52 billion in 2005. Operating profit was $447.9 million in 2006, up from $412.8 million in 2005. The company employs about 840 people in three Topeka locations, including its downtown headquarters, a plant near the Kansas River, and its science and technology center in North Topeka.
Hill's sales represented 14 percent of Colgate-Palmolive's $12.2 billion in revenues in 2006. Hill's growth depends on innovative new products and veterinary recommendations around the globe.
Much of its sales growth is in Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Italy, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Taiwan and Russia, according to financial results released Jan. 30 by Colgate-Palmolive.
The company's Science Diet pet food is available in pet stores and other retail outlets. Its Prescription Diet products are sold only through breeders, veterinarians, and authorized pet supply retailers. The firm's cat and dog foods are produced in varieties geared to a pet's dietary requirements, medical condition and age.Read the rest from The Topeka-Capital Journal