State incentives help hook Watson, Osmotica

The Anda Distribution division of Watson Pharmaceuticals will build a facility in Olive Branch, MS, thanks in part to an investment by the state. Mississippi lured the company's existing operation from a site in Ohio. Separately, Georgia was able to parlay a $2 million incentive into a $20 million investment by Osmotica Pharmaceutical in Marietta, where it will create about 150 jobs.*

For Watson/Anda, it's a move from a leased facility in Groveport, OH, to the Magnolia State. The planned 234,000 square-foot distribution center, expected to be ready next year, will provide about 70 jobs. A key factor is the site's proximity to the company's primary shipper, Fed Ex.

Anda looked at sites in Tennessee and Mississippi before settling on Olive Branch, says senior VP Charlie Mayr, in an email. "While incentives were certainly part of the decision matrix, it was only one of a large number of considerations."

The new facility will be "more appropriately sized for our current business model," than the Ohio site, which Watson began operating a decade ago, explains Mayr. At that time, the Ohio site supported Anda's needs, as well as additional distribution functions that were subsequently located at other locations in the Watson network.

In Georgia, Osmotica's $20 million investment will be spread over 5 years in building an R&D and manufacturing operation at the former Solvay Pharmaceuticals campus. It's expected to create about 150 jobs in the Atlanta area.

Solvay was acquired by Abbott Labs in early 2010, at the expense of some 450 jobs. The Peach State offered $975,000 in job tax credits, nearly $565,000 in tax abatements, and a $300,000 grant for machinery and equipment, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. A skilled talent pool added to the financial incentives in Osmotica's decision.

And, as reported last week, South Carolina offered $500,000 for Roche to keep an API plant running in Florence after it was slated for shutdown.

- here's the Watson release
- see the Osmotica story

* Editor's Note:  First paragraph updated to remove incorrect reference to $23.5 million investment by state; $23.5 million is Anda's estimated investment.