Business

Farmer Bros. eyes Northlake site to relocate its California headquarters

Coffee maker Farmer Bros. Co. is considering relocating its headquarters and a manufacturing operation from Torrance, Calif. to a location in Northlake, a move that could bring as many as 350 jobs to North Texas.

In February, the company announced plans to shutter its West Coast operation for a site in either Dallas-Fort Worth or Oklahoma City.

It now appears the 103-year-old company has narrowed its North Texas search to Northlake, which straddles Interstate 35W north of Fort Worth in Denton County.

The Northlake Town Council on Thursday night approved real property and business personal property tax abatements and other grants if the project comes to its city. The Town Council also agreed it would support the company’s efforts to secure money from the state’s Enterprise Fund and some other incentives. Terms of the incentives were not released nor was the exact location being considered.

The Denton County Commissioners Court is scheduled to consider the economic incentive for the project at its Tuesday meeting.

Kim Moore, a Dallas-based consultant working with Farmer Bros., said the company’s search “is still a competitive situation” and that “nothing has been finalized. We’re not there yet. Nothing has been determined.”

Moore said the company is in “active negotiations” for land and that there “are lots of moving parts.”

Officials with the company did not respond to a request for comment.

According to its website, Farmer Bros. is “a leading national roaster, manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor of high-quality branded and private-label coffees, teas, spices and culinary products to foodservice, convenience stores and grocery retailers.” The company’s stock is publicly traded on the Nasdaq exchange.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission two months ago, Farmer Bros. said it wanted to move to a central location in the country to be “more competitive and better positioned” to grow. But it said the relocation would be based on state and local incentive awards. The company said it would spend up to $40 million in new facility costs and up to $25 million in new equipment.

A move would save the company $12 million to $15 million annually, beginning in 2016. The company also said it would begin shutting down it Torrance facility this summer and move in phases.

“These were difficult decisions and the actions will affect many valued and long-term employees,” CEO Mike Keown said in February statement. “

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Farmer Bros. said its net income declined to $2.9 million, or 18 cents a share, from $4.7 million, or 29 cents a share, the previous year. Sales rose 1.2 percent to $144.8 million.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727

Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

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