While Senatobia celebrated a planned expansion of an ABB plant located there, a separate announcement from the Swiss-Swedish multinational corporation that operates mainly in robotics, power, heavy electrical equipment and automation technology areas, stated that it was closing its Southaven operations on Hamilton Road, off I-55 and Stateline Road.
The expansion announcement came as good news for the Tate County community, as the company plans to invest $36 million in its Senatobia plant. It will add 50 new jobs while also completing the filling of 150 jobs that were previously announced as coming there.
ABB makes electrical components in Senatobia and opened there in 2016.
At first, ABB had promised to create 300 jobs. Gov. Phil Bryant’s office stated in a release about the expansion that the added jobs would complete its promise to reach that figure.
The Southaven plant was locally known as the old Thomas and Betts plant, but ABB bought it in 2012.
ABB is a Fortune Global 500 company and the Zurich, Switzerland-based concern has been on that list for 24 years.
Melissa London Zingle, American corporate spokeswoman for ABB, issued a statement about the Southaven closure.
“After a thorough review, ABB will consolidate manufacturing at our Southaven, Mississippi location into two other factories in the United States and one in Mexico,” Zingle stated. “The consolidation will enable factory and supply chain optimization while improving cost, delivery and quality to our customers. The phased transition is expected to be completed by July 2019.“
“ABB understands that this is a difficult decision for our employees and their families and is committed to ensuring that our Southaven employees are provided full support during the transition,” Zingle went on. “This support includes our severance package, as well as identifying open positions at our Athens, Tennessee and Jonesboro, Arkansas locations for those employees who wish to pursue those opportunities.”
Zingle’s statement ended by stating, “We've enjoyed a long, good relationship with the Southaven community, and we thank our employees and our partners as we work to ensure a seamless transition for our customers.
When Thomas & Betts was bought by ABB, the purchase price was set at $3.9 billion.
In ABB’s four locations, including Byhalia, Columbus, Crystal Springs and Senatobia, a total of 1,400 employees are on staff in the Mississippi operations. The statement did not include the Southaven facility.
Thomas & Betts Corporation became ABB Installation Products in 2018.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.