An industrial battery company that took over the former Philip Morris plant in Concord three years ago is going out of business. Nearly 300 people are losing their jobs.
Concord officials were excited in 2014 when Alevo announced plans to turn the cigarette plant into a high-tech factory. The Swiss-based company planned to build battery arrays for big energy companies. But Alevo had problems with production and sales never got off the ground.
Concord Mayor Scott Padgett said it’s a big loss. "I am very disappointed. We had really great hopes for Alevo and the new technology. But apparently they just couldn’t get it all together in a timely manner and obviously ran out of money," he said. The company says it was unable to find new funding to finance operations and growth, and plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. About 245 of the 290 employees have been laid off. The remainder will lose their jobs by the end of September.
In a statement Friday, the company said:
"Despite demonstrating the advantages of its groundbreaking battery technology, Alevo has significant production challenges and thus insufficient revenue. The company has been actively seeking new funding sources to finance its operations and growth strategies. Unfortunately, despite best efforts, the funding has not been realized in time."
Padgett says he hopes the vacant factory and 2,100 acre site and big plant will attract another tenant – and more jobs.
"It’s got great access to Interstate 85, Interstate 77, Concord Regional Airport, Charlotte airport. Just a perfect site. So I’m optimistic that something else is going to come and provide jobs," Padgett said.
In February, Alevo announced plans to invest $250 million and add 200 more jobs - in exchange for millions of dollars in tax incentives. But, as The Charlotte Observer reported in April, even then state officials had concerns about its finances.