Omnicare, lured by tax incentives, leaving Ky. for Ohio

CINCINNATI — Pharmacy services provider Omnicare is moving its corporate headquarters from Northern Kentucky to downtown Cincinnati, with the help of $6 million in tax breaks.

The company, which dispenses drugs to nursing homes and long-term-care facilities, said the relocation would involve nearly 500 workers. It plans to begin leaving Covington in December and complete the move by June.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined Mayor Mark Mallory in Cincinnati for Monday's announcement.

Cincinnati's economic development director, Patrick Ewing, said the city had a lot to offer the company and its workers, including a strong business community — nine Fortune 500 companies call Cincinnati home — and a vibrant downtown with sports stadiums and renovated urban housing.

"Cincinnati is a major metropolitan area," Ewing said. "It's the core city of the region."

Covington is losing a major company and "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in annual tax revenue, City Manager Larry Klein told The Cincinnati Enquirer. The city will have to revise its budget for the fiscal year ending June 30.

"We just went through a series of reductions, and this does not bode well for us," Klein said. He said Covington had been working for more than a year on an incentive package to keep Omnicare in the state.

Ohio offered Omnicare $6 million in job-creation tax credits; in exchange, the company will create 340 new full-time jobs during the next three years and keep 55 other jobs in Cincinnati, according to JobsOhio chief marketing officer Marlon Cheatham. JobsOhio is the state's semi-private economic development board that oversees job-creation functions for the state.

The city of Cincinnati also is offering incentives of $2.4 million over 10 years for the jobs the company will bring, Ewing, said.

Omnicare spokesman Patrick Lee said the downtown Cincinnati office is only a mile across the Ohio River. He said the company wanted a new headquarters within 6 miles of its old one to make it easier for its Kentucky work force, which will stay on.

Omnicare CEO John Figueroa said the move would reduce overhead costs without disrupting employees' lives.

"We believe our move to Ohio meets all the criteria of a good business decision, as it reduces health care costs, improves company economics, and respects the interests of our employees," he said in a news release.