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State quietly OK'd millions in subsidies for Energizer to keep, add jobs in St. Louis

State documents, obtained through an open-records request, show that the battery maker was approved to receive $3 million in subsidies
Credit: SLBJ

ST. LOUIS — Energizer Holdings Inc. quietly applied and received approval for millions of dollars in subsidies from the state of Missouri to keep and grow its headquarters in St. Louis, records show.

State documents, obtained through an open-records request, show that the battery maker was approved to receive $3 million in subsidies, including $1.1 million from a program for companies considering relocation to another state.

Though the company's deal with government officials appears to have been finalized late last year, its existence had, until now, not been reported. The state's Department of Economic Development briefly mentioned the deal in a report earlier this year to lawmakers on subsidy agreements in effect as of the end of fiscal 2020. But unlike other subsidy deals, such as a July 2019 agreement with Bayer, the state did not publicize the agreement.

It's not clear whether Energizer actually contemplated a move or when it first applied for subsidies. Representatives from the company didn't respond to a request for comment, nor did Bradley Migdal, a senior managing director with Cushman & Wakefield, who public records indicate worked on the project for the company.

Documents provided by the state Department of Economic Development, dated between October 2018 and November 2019, do not reference an implied relocation threat, even though the application for the program, called Retention Works, asks applicants to explain their eligibility for a subsidy that applies only where "there is significant probability that the qualified company would relocate to another state in the absence of incentives."

State officials did not specifically respond to questions about whether Energizer indicated it would leave Missouri. The general counsel for the economic development department said some records related to the deal are closed to the public, citing state statutes that protect records on certain business plans or financial disclosures.

The state documents show Energizer was approved for incentives from two programs.

  • It will receive $1.9 million, including $685,000 in discretionary tax credits, through the Missouri Works program, which allows businesses to keep withholdings taxes that would otherwise go to the state. In exchange, Energizer said it would invest $14.9 million in Missouri and add 137 jobs over six years.
  • It will receive another $1.1 million over four years through the Retention Works program.

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