Lured in part by incentives from Connecticut and a pending merger, chemicals company Tronox Inc. will move its headquarters to Stamford, Conn., from Oklahoma City.
Tronox will keep corporate-support services, some division offices and a research and development center in Oklahoma City, where it has about 140 employees.
Spokesman Bud Grebey said there are no plans to transfer large numbers of employees from Oklahoma to Tronox's new international headquarters in Stamford.
“Tronox continues as a significant employer in Oklahoma City and remains a committed corporate citizen to the surrounding community,” Grebey said in a statement. “Our Oklahoma City offices serve several key business functions, including supporting our global pigment business and various corporate functions.”
Connecticut offered a $3 million loan to the company for the transition, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a news release. Tronox is expected to create up to 100 jobs in Connecticut in the next three years.
Tronox mainly produces and markets titanium dioxide, an inorganic white pigment used in paint, plastics, inks, food and other everyday products.
Company officials said the international nature of its operations necessitated the relocation of the corporate headquarters. Aside from its Oklahoma City offices, Tronox has operations in the Netherlands, Australia, Mississippi and Nevada. Tronox is awaiting regulatory approval of a merger with a South African company, Exxaro Resources Ltd.
“As we evaluated the best place to locate the new headquarters for this global enterprise, Connecticut's people, location, access to transportation and financial services, as well as Governor Malloy's governmental policies and programs, made it clear that Connecticut was the best place for Tronox to continue and enhance its strong growth,” Tronox Chairman and CEO Tom Casey said in a statement from Malloy's office.
Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber, said chamber officials had several meetings with Tronox to talk about its plans. In the end, it came down to the preferences of top executives, he said.
“The upside is we'll still have their (research and development) presence here,” Williams said. “You never want to lose anything, but if you do lose something during a good time in your economy, it's much easier to deal with it and get through it. It's not something you want to celebrate, but you win some and you lose some.”
Tronox shareholders approved the merger with Exxaro in a special meeting last week. They agreed to swap 38.5 percent of Tronox's stock to acquire stakes in Exxaro's mineral sands, which are used to make titanium dioxide.
When it meets regulatory approval and closes, the transaction will help Tronox secure raw materials for its pigment processing. It also will expand Tronox's product line to include zircon, which is used mostly in ceramic tiles. The new company expects to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Tronox was spun off from Kerr-McGee Corp. in 2005. Tronox filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and reorganized its operations. The company emerged from bankruptcy last year.