Albemarle announces relocation of corporate headquarters from Ba - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Albemarle announces relocation of corporate headquarters from Baton Rouge

Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB Source: WAFB

A company currently based in Baton Rouge announced Tuesday that it is moving its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, North Carolina.

Albemarle Corporation handles specialty chemicals for industrial buyers around the world. The company moved its headquarters to Baton Rouge from Richmond, Virginia in 2008.

"As we look at the ever-increasing demands for communication, collaboration and mobility for our employees and our customers, Charlotte is the best strategic location to base the new Albemarle," said Luke Kissam, Albemarle's president and chief executive officer. "Located approximately 35 miles from our state-of-the-art lithium facility in Kings Mountain, metropolitan Charlotte provides easy and fast connectivity with customers and colleagues, fostering a collaborative environment and culture for our team. We look forward to expanding our presence in North Carolina becoming an even more significant partner in the communities where we live and operate."

The company's Performance Chemicals division will also be relocated to Charlotte. While Baton Rouge employees in Albemarle's Refining Solutions division will move to the company's existing office in Clear Lake, Texas. 

"Our U.S.-based Refining Solutions team will be strategically placed amidst our customers and partners in the Houston area, a major hub of the global refining industry, creating a more collaborative environment for them to serve our customers," said Kissam. 

About 120 employees will be involved in the relocation to Charlotte and Clear Lake, which is set to mainly take place in June 2016. 

Baton Rouge will remain the home of Albemarle's R&D and manufacturing operations at the company's Process Development Center. The current downtown office will also be used for several functional and support operations.  

"Albemarle has enjoyed several successful years in Baton Rouge, and we are grateful for the partnership we share," added Kissam. "Through the Albemarle Foundation, our employees have donated over $11 million and countless hours toward enhancing the community, and we look forward to continuing this work well into the future."

The change follows Albemarle's $5.7 billion acquisition of Rockwood Holdings, Inc. in January. The company's presence worldwide has grown with customers in about 100 as well as nearly doubling its workforce to around 6,900 employees.

The following is a statement from Adam Knapp, president and chief executive officer of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, on Albemarle's move: 

"Albemarle will continue to have significant presence with 500 jobs in the market even after today's announcement, which was not unexpected. The company has been very candid about its evaluation of its headquarters location in light of its global growth through acquisition. Albemarle continues to be a good corporate citizen and we wish them well." 

"Year-to-date, more than 1,400 new jobs have been announced and the region continues to lead the state in nonfarm employment growth. Just earlier this summer, Brown and Root announced plans to relocate its headquarters to Baton Rouge, beginning with its top executives. This is further evidence of the viability of the Baton Rouge Area as a headquarters market. BRAC remains committed to the continued growth and diversification of the regional economy."

Louisiana Economic Development released a statement from Secretary Steven Grissom saying: 

As we explained to Albemarle, Baton Rouge provides a strong base for corporate headquarters operations. On a comparative basis, the cost of living index for families and the overall business costs in Baton Rouge are lower than for most other U.S. markets, including many metro areas in the South. A Tax Foundation/KPMG examination of the state-and-local tax burdens throughout the U.S. reveals that Louisiana ranks No. 2 for corporate headquarters operations. LED and our economic development partners in Baton Rouge mounted a concerted effort to retain and expand Albemarle's headquarters, and those discussions included proposals to further strengthen air transportation offerings and the diversity of education options available to company employees and their families.

We think it's significant that despite the strategic alignment of some of its businesses following the Rockwood Holdings acquisition, Albemarle will continue major operations in Baton Rouge with approximately 500 employees. We're encouraged that Albemarle recognizes the major contributions of these employees and values its relationship with the Baton Rouge community that spans more than 50 years. Our efforts to recruit headquarters and corporate offices have yielded many project wins in recent years – for example, CenturyLink, International Shipholding, Brown & Root, Rain CII, Smoothie King, GE Capital, Netchex, IBM, IntegriCo, Crest Industries, PreSonus, Pelican Engineering, Emerson, Jogler, MECO, Danos, K&B Industries, Ronpak and more. In Baton Rouge and other metro areas around the state, regional leaders are continuing their collaborative work to strengthen school performance, broaden air transportation offerings and build their inventory of sites, buildings, and infrastructure assets.

Corporate offices benefit from those efforts and strategic investments, such as our higher education partnerships at Louisiana Tech with CenturyLink, LSU with IBM, and UNO with GE Capital. With one of the nation’s best business climates, one of the lowest tax burdens, and the best state workforce development program, Louisiana is well-equipped to attract additional corporate office projects in the future.

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