Reeves optimistic for merger

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said he is optimistic about Lockheed Martin’s pending purchase of Sikorsky Aircraft and the impact that will have on two major local employers.

Lockheed on Monday announced its plans to purchase Sikorsky Aircraft from United Technologies for a cash sum of $9 billion. The purchase is set to close in late 2015 to early 2016.

Reeves said the merger had caused a great deal of initial anxiety as both companies have a large impact on the county’s economy, but much of that anxiety has dissipated.

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“The fact that Lockheed bought Sikorsky is the best of the many situations,” Reeves said. “Lockheed is not a helicopter company and knows our workforce so well. The fact that Lockheed has won so many awards … for the quality of the workforce here and the fact that they have first-hand experience of how well the peoaple in our area do their job, one would think this would bode very well with the companies.”

Both Lockheed and Sikorsky have facilities in Pike County. Lockheed’s Pike County Operations produces Missile and Fire Control programs and employs 325. Sikorsky Support Services, located at the Troy Airport, manufactures helicopters and employs 650.

Reeves said since Lockheed, a company that does not deal with helicopters, had purchased Sikorsky layoffs and consolidations could be less likely.

“I think the good thing for Troy is that if we had someone like Bell Helicopters or a company that had been in the same identical business as Sikorsky or in that general rotor wing outfit, then that would have been concerning for consolidations or layoffs,” Reeves said. “Hopefully, (Lockheed) will operate it as they have been, which would be good for us locally.”

Sikorsky currently employees 650 people, and many of those workers are from Pike County.

“They have over 600 employees, so that’s very good for our local economy,” Reeves said. “I think they’ve been satisfied with the quality of employees. Sikorsky has brought so many people to the area that have become a part of the Troy Community.”

And, while little is known about how the merger will affect Pike County, Reeves still said he was optimistic about the situation.

“We’re optimistic about it,” Reeves said. “This is the best outcome out of all the options.”

Lockheed is expected to purchase Sikorsky with money from new debt issuances and available cash. Sikorsky and United Technologies Corporation have agreed to make a joint election under the International Revenue Code. This election will generate an estimated cash tax benefit of $1.9 billion for Sikorsky and its shareholders.