Battery maker Energizer planning 440 jobs at Johnson County facility

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Battery maker Energizer Manufacturing Inc. is seeking tax breaks from the city of Franklin in return for opening a $62.7 million packaging and distribution center that it says will employ 440 people by 2022.

The subsidiary of St. Louis-based Energizer Holdings Inc. hopes to open the facility in 933,000-square-foot shell building on a 62-acre site in Franklin Tech Park, just east of Interstate 65 and south of State Road 44. Fishers-based Sunbeam Development Corp. recently finished construction of the building on a speculative basis.

Franklin’s Economic Development Commission presented Energizer’s plan at a Tuesday meeting and recommended the city council approve the tax breaks at Monday’s meeting.

Energizer plans to spend $4.1 million on real estate and $58.6 million to equip the building, according to city documents.

The company is seeking a 10-year property tax abatement that will save it $560,574 and a 10-year personal property tax abatement that will save it $3.47 million. The company will still pay an estimated $673,000 in real property taxes and $2.7 million in personal property taxes over the 10-year abatement period.

Energizer estimated that 27 managerial workers would be hired at the facility at an average hourly wage of $40.80, or $84,864 annually based on a 40-hour work week. Another 413 operators, fabricators and laborers would be hired at an average hourly wage of $16.84, or $35,027 per year.

City economic development officials said the average wage for all the jobs would be $18.30 per hour—above the Johnson County average wage of $17.35 per hour. However, 94 percent of the employees would be making less than the county’s average wage. The compensation figures did not include benefits.

According to the Daily Journal of Franklin, Energizer is committing to staying in the city for at least 15 years and nine months. Workers could start at the facility by summer, with hundreds working by the end of next year.

Energizer produces batteries under the Energizer, Rayovac, Varta, and Eveready brand names. It traces its history to 1896, when predecessor company American Electrical Novelty & Manufacturing Co. was founded.

On Wednesday, Energizer reported full-year earnings of $51.1 million on 2.5 billion in revenue. The company has about 7,500 employees.

Nearly every battery the Energizer makes would be shipped to the Franklin facility for packaging and distribution, the Daily Journal said.

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