Charter, Henkel Select Connecticut for Growth, With Some Help from the State

Charter Communications has 92,000 employees worldwide.  The company’s headquarters is in Stamford.  Henkel employs 50,000 people worldwide.  The company’s world headquarters is in Dusseldorf, Germany; their Consumer Goods R&D Headquarters is in Stamford.  Both companies have announced major growth in the city, bringing jobs and boosting the economy in the region. They are the flipside of Aetna, Alexion and GE, whose corporate leadership drove highly publicized departures from the state.

Henkel is #158 on Forbes magazine’s Global 2000 list of Top Multinational Performers, and #307 on the list of America’s Best Employers.  Charter Communications is #38 on the Forbes list of Growth Champions and ranks #107 on the Global 2000.

Henkel operates worldwide with leading brands and technologies in three business units: Laundry & Home Care, Beauty Care and Adhesive Technologies. Many are unfamiliar with the corporate name, but know their products well:  Dial, Snuggle, All, Purex, Sunlight, and Surf, among many others.  The company’s United States Adhesive Technologies R&D headquarters is in Rocky Hill.

Just over a year ago, in September 2016, Henkel acquired Wilton-based Sun Products Corporation.  Jobs became available almost instantly for a variety of positions across Henkel’s Connecticut footprint – with locations in Trumbull and Rocky Hill as well as the new office planned in Stamford.  With the acquisition, Henkel reached the number two position in the laundry care market in North America, behind only Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble.  North America is one the most important regions for Henkel, according to the company, and the U.S. accounts for the highest sales globally.

A month later, the state announced it would be providing the company with up to $25 million in state aid to support the company’s move of employees from Arizona to Connecticut (and Wilton to Stamford) as part of a consolidation and growth plan.   The Department of Economic and Community Development, as part of its “First Five” program, is to provide a 10-year, $20 million low-interest loan to support the project., and the company may be eligible for up to $5 million in tax credits for capital investment on eligible projects.  Projections were for 266 jobs in Stamford initially, with a workforce of 500 anticipated, according to published reports.

The move began into new headquarters began this summer, with about one-third moving here from Arizona, one-third from Sun Products, and one-third employees new to the company, Fairfield County Business Journal reported.

Henkel North America Consumer Goods Headquarters is a “new workspace” that will “showcase a forward-thinking office design, fostering a high level of creativity and collaboration, which are fundamental for growth and success as a thriving consumer goods business,” officials said.  The company’s website now features a video touting the advantages of Stamford, and why it was selected.

“We look forward to moving into our exciting new home, with the space and opportunity for growth,” the video narration declares. “Stamford is a vibrant community, brimming with restaurants, arts and entertainment within walking distance of our new office.  The city is a transportation hub, with easy access.”

Most Connecticut residents may also be unfamiliar with Charter Communications.  Connecticut has 24 cable franchise areas; Charter provides local cable service in only three of them, in the western and northeastern regions of the state for about 35 mostly rural communities.  The larger franchise owners in Connecticut are Cablevision, Comcast and Cox.  But the Connecticut map is deceiving – nationally Charter is the second largest cable provider in the nation.

Last month, Charter announced plans for a new 15-story headquarters building in Stamford.   The new building at the Gateway Harbor Point development along Long Island Sound is projected to have 500,000 square feet of work space. Employees are expected to move in during 2019.

“Since relocating Charter’s headquarter operations to Stamford in 2012, the company has undergone a transformation to become the second largest cable provider in the U.S.,” said chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge in a press release. “This new, state-of-the-art facility in downtown Stamford will provide Charter the necessary resources to facilitate its continued growth. ”

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) will provide a 10-year, $10 million low-interest loan to support the project through the state’s First Five Plus program. The company may be eligible for loan forgiveness based on job creation and if employment obligations are met. Charter Communications will also receive up to $10 million in tax credits through DECD’s Urban and Industrial Sites Reinvestment Tax Credit program. Additional tax credits are available if the company exceeds job targets.

In a news release, the Governor’s Office indicated that “following its commitment to create and retain 400 jobs under the state’s First Five Program in 2012, Charter has committed to create an additional 1,100 new corporate headquarters jobs and has agreed to a total of $100 million in planned capital expenditures in Connecticut over the next several years. It was Stamford’s largest real estate announcement of the year. The new headquarters would become the first commercial facility with “direct access” to the station’s platform, company officials said, citing the location’s proximity to both rail and Interstate 95.

Charter’s growth is drive by the acquisitions during the past year of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.  That expanded Charter’s reach to about 50 million homes and businesses and earned them the ranking of second-largest cable company in the country, just behind Philadelphia-based Comcast.