Today’s contribution extends across the PoliticusUSA landscape quite literally from soup to nuts. Two recent business events that seemed to have little relationship to one another were in fact inextricably bound together as segmental archetypes in their contributions to the definition of our third millennium “America.”
The ‘soup’ and endless varieties of other products, ketchup being the best known, are now safely ensconced in Warren Buffett and 3G Capital bank vaults after the duo went halfsies and anted up 28 billion, adding in debt, for venerable H.J. (standing for one of its initial partners, Henry John) Heinz company, a mainstay of Pittsburgh since the late 1800′s. It became H.J. when Heinz bought the whole kit and caboodle in 1888. Heinz is most noted for its 117-year-old “57 varieties” advertising campaign.
Buffett and some huge Brazilian money from international private investor, 3G Capital purchased Heinz this past Valentine’s Day. With the acquisition, Warren and the filthy rich global investment company, decided to unload some Northern Hemisphere jobs; 350 in the U.S., another 250 in Canada. So while Buffett’s net worth flutters around 53 plus BILLION, a bunch of faithful Heinz workers were cut off from their money source completely. As the old American industrial motto goes “EF YOU, WORKER!!!”
3G Capital is a private equity firm with a complex financial history dating back to 1991. A while back, 3G got its mitts on Burger King for an estimated $3.3 billion. In a Whooper of a budget-slashing, heads rolled once again, thanks to 3G as BK financial innards and assets were ripped to the bone. Hint: When ordering you might want to brush up on your Portuguese and stock up on a few Reals for your next trip to BK. You might have to wait a bit longer in line as well.
As of a bit more than 2 years ago, Heinz did 60% of its business overseas. There are 67 H factories around the world owned by Heinz. The company leases 8 more. These numbers could be higher as of the latest accounting. Heinz owns 20 North American factories, leases 4 more. Don’t know what this latest move will do in terms of maybe eventually closing down some of them. Cheaper wages; less regulations? China or U.S.? Let me correct myself. Buffett, 3G Heinz WILL close down some of them sooner than later. There are 21 factories in Europe and 20 in the Pacific region, an additional 2 being leased. A total of 6 owned and 2 leased facilities are scattered around the rest of the globe. Want to know more about Heinz? Go here.
So, like every other global industry, the U.S. is going to be essentially persona non grata for Heinz in the near future. They’ll probably keep their headquarters in Pittsburgh but most likely little else remains stateside. For our corporate gods, we pushed our wages down to poverty level, we gave the greedy bastards whatever they wanted in incentives, we killed unions, we essentially eliminated taxes, we made the poor, poorer and the rich obscenely richer, we glorified the high net worth, worthless and we elected their bought and paid for right-wing sycophantic public officials.
And in return?
As you’ll recall I bracketed this latest entry with “nuts.” Gun nuts that is. Sturm, Ruger & Co. (mostly known as Ruger) is the second major gun company to tell the state of Connecticut that they can take their reasonable gun regulations and stick ‘em where the sun don’t shine. PTR Industries started what appears to be a firearms exodus out of Connecticut when the Bristol-based company pulled up stakes and headed for mighty Aynor, South Carolina, population 587. They do have a cemetery for every 73 Bubbas, a stat that might come in handy once PTR brings in their heavy artillery.
They’ve already worked out a sweet lease deal in exchange for some job and wage promises (not to mention the unspoken guarantee that no state officials will pay the least bit of attention to any regulatory nuisances). How many of the 587 locals will find work at PTR is problematical. PTR’s Website says Jobs openings that are likely to be posted will be for engineers, CNC Programmer/Operator, Gunsmiths, maintenance staff (factory and equipment) and Quality Inspectors. Lesser paying jobs include assembly line workers, office and security personnel. The latter positions likely to go to locals, many of the others will be filled by ‘gasp’ Yankees; some from PTR Connecticut.
Aynor residents will soon undoubtedly be paying higher sewer and water bills as I’m sure freebie infrastructure is part of the tradeoff
As for Sturm, Ruger, they’re heading for a burg called Mayodan, North Carolina. The median household income is a lousy 25 grand, or about 16K shy of the national number. Latest population figures are at 2,382 with 21 cemeteries or 1 for every 113 citizens. Ruger has a gun for every occasion. You shoot a gun, they’ve got a gun for you to shoot. Pistols, rifles, revolvers, bolt-action, single, double-action, center-fire, rimfire (the classic semiauto SR22 is quite popular and versatile). So that’s Strum Ruger; across the board bang, bang for your buck.
They claim they’re seeding the area with an initial $26 million dollar investment for a 220,000 square foot facility. They’ve already wangled a potential $10 million over 12 years in tax breaks by meeting hiring goals and lord only knows the unpublicized sweeteners that went into the NC selection.
A couple of other Connecticut gun manufacturers are reportedly casting a wide net in preparation for their departure from the state. That’s their reaction to the deaths of 20 tiny and helpless souls and an additional 6 innocent adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown by the same kind of product they crank out by the millions every year. There were almost 17 million background check requests last year. Every gun company that moves to backward, third-world states like the Carolinas, Texas and, well, just get a roster of red states for the complete list, hopes that state legislation will override federal regs because the actual firearms are manufactured within the state.
So there are my latest homeland developments from soup to nuts. Someday soon, we’ll have a serious discussion about the ethical and moral flaws of capitalism though the subject has been hotly debated for decades, it needs updating. Ayn Rand adherents need not apply unless you’re willing to embrace a statement that incredibly is ignored by all right-wingers, “…a man’s mind will not function at the point of a gun.”
Yes, Ayn Rand! Of course she was talking about intelligence.