Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz announced that it will move its headquarters to Atlanta, GA. In recent years, several automakers, as well as companies in other industries, have established significant manufacturing centers in Georgia and the Southeast. We sat down with Tom Hong, Chair of SGR’s Manufacturing Practice Group, to discuss the significance of the Mercedes-Benz move to Atlanta, as well as why the Southeast is thriving in the manufacturing industry.
Why are so many companies moving headquarters or establishing manufacturing centers in the Southeast? It’s a combination of factors, including, a pro-business climate, world-class infrastructure, and quality of life, all of which leads to the increased ability of companies to attract and retain talent.
What will the Mercedes-Benz move mean for both Atlanta and the Southeast region? It’s another acknowledgement of the reputation of Atlanta as a world-class business center and a further confirmation of Georgia’s strength as a manufacturing center. The move may also improve the ability to develop throughout the region and state specialized technology centers and educational hubs focused on the automotive and transportation industries.
Will the manufacturing industry be affected with both Porsche and Mercedes-Benz moving their headquarters to Atlanta? Yes, I think it confirms that manufacturing in the South is here to stay. I think we will continue to see the migration of manufacturing from the Midwest to the Southeast. In addition, we can expect to see the continued flourishing of the eco-system of complementary manufacturers, such as key suppliers of automotive components.
What advice would you give a manufacturer considering opening or buying a manufacturing plant in the Southeast? My advice would be to take your time, do your research and make sure you work with a team of capable advisors that understand your needs and goals, and that can deliver the best possible legal and financial transactions. Most importantly, you need advisors who have the experience and resources to help you achieve your businesses goals in a timely manner. Whether you are looking to acquire an existing facility or start a “greenfield” project, working with advisors who have an accurate pulse on the market and understand the local business and legal environment is critical.
How is SGR’s Manufacturing Practice Group involved with manufacturers migrating south? As a firm, we work hard to network with our domestic and international referral sources to get involved in the early stages of the M&A transaction or site selection process. We have found the earlier we get involved, the more streamlined and efficient the process will be – particularly in the site selection – and the better the incentives. In the site selection process, a healthy dose of competition among several jurisdictions is never a bad thing. Within the last couple of years we’ve assisted our clients in establishing new businesses that have resulted in thousands of new jobs throughout the Southeast and millions of dollars in local and state incentives for our clients.
(Excerpts of this interview were taken from an upcoming issue of Trust the Leaders magazine. For a complimentary subscription to our magazine, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
To learn more about the Manufacturing Practice at SGR, click here.
This client alert is intended to inform clients and other interested parties about legal matters of current interest and is not intended as legal advice.