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Utah offering incentives to 2 companies

Board OKs tax rebates; 1,100 new jobs possible

The state is dangling up to $4.1 million in incentives to get two companies to move their corporate headquarters to Utah, along with potentially 800 new jobs.

The Governor's Office of Economic Development Board approved the tax rebate incentives Friday but did not identify the companies.

One is a private company based outside the United States, according to information provided by the board. It discovers and develops unconventional natural gas resources such as coal-bed methane. It has decided to expand into the United States and plans to establish a U.S. office to serve as both a head office for its U.S. operations and an overall headquarters.

The board approved a $2.5 million tax rebate incentive, which includes $1 million for the move of the corporate headquarters to Salt Lake County. The remainder would be for the creation of 300 jobs — $5,000 per new job — that pay twice the county median wage.

Board member Mark Howell said the median pay of the new jobs would be $95,000, or 266 percent of the county median income.

"This is a really nice company to get here, because it's got a good background," Howell told the board. "It would be great. We're competing with Denver, Colorado, on this."

The company would be required to keep operations in Utah at least 10 years.

The other company is considering southern Utah County for its corporate headquarters. The board approved up to $1.6 million in tax rebates for the company, of which $400,000 would be for the headquarters move. The rest would be for up to 500 jobs — at $2,500 per job — paying 125 percent of the county median income. The projected wage would be $45,000 per year, which would be 85 percent above the county median.

It, too, would be required to keep operations in the state for at least a decade.

The privately held company, founded in 1994, is a direct-to-consumer retailer that distributed about 6,000 products produced by 300 manufacturers and sells more than 200 proprietary products developed by its wholly owned subsidiary. Sales have grown tenfold over the past five years, and its online store accounts for 85 percent of all orders. The company has an active customer base of 250,000 and adds 10,000 to 15,000 customers each month.

Howell said the company originally sought an Industrial Assistance Fund grant, which is up-front money, but the incentive approved Friday is a tax rebate that is presented after the company meets the performance criteria.


E-mail: bwallace@desnews.com