Kentucky, the “Blue Box” State?

In Industry News, Reports, What's New by Accessories Staff1 Comment

Lexington,KY—Kentucky may called the “Bluegrass” State, but state officials were hailing the “blue box” on Monday as Tiffany & Co. opened its new jewelry manufacturing facility here.

Gov. Steve Beshear told local dignitaries and Michael Kowalski, chairman/ceo of Tiffany, that “as a result of this exciting project, 125 new jobs will be created in the Lexington community. Those employees will become part of making classic jewelry collections for millions of people across the globe.”

The 25,000-square-foot facility will produce a variety the jeweler’s hand-crafted jewelry designs, including Tiffany’s diamond engagement rings and other fine jewelry pieces.

“Opening our new manufacturing facility in Lexington is a special moment in the history of Tiffany & Co.,” Kowalski said. “We manufacture about 60% of our jewelry within the United States and we are proud to continue this tradition in Kentucky, where we have found the infrastructure and employees to meet Tiffany’s standards of quality and craftsmanship.”

Tiffany's Lexington manufacturing facility

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved Tiffany & Co. for tax incentives up to $2,45 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows the company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. KEDFA also approved the company for an Economic Development Bond grant in the amount of $300,000 to encourage the investment and job creation in Lexington.

Takeover Target?

Quipped Jim Gray, Lexington’s mayor: “Tiffany is known for Tiffany Blue. Lexington is known for blue grass and Wildcat blue. Tiffany is going to feel right at home!”

While Kentuckians were celebrating landing their latest corporate coup, Wall Street has been abuzz with rumors about Tiffany as a possible takeover target now that is has ended its partnership for watches with Swatch Group.

Last Thursday, Tiffany boosted its market capitalization to $8.5 billion from $3.1 billion in 2009, and may command as much as a 40% premium in an acquisition, or about $12 billion, Fifth Third Asset Management told Bloomberg News.

Luxurygoods conglomerates LVMH and Richemont, which owns Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels, have been cited as potential suitors for the New York-based company.