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Clorox exits Durham jobs deal as company shifts away from vitamins and supplements

North Carolina has ended its incentive grant for the consumer products giant Clorox to add 158 jobs in Durham, days after the California-based company requested the termination.

In a Feb. 22 letter to N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, Clorox vice president David Green cited the rise of remote work and changes in “growth strategy related to our vitamins, minerals, and supplements business” as reasons the company would not meet its local hiring obligation.

Under the 2020 agreement, Clorox was to relocate a probiotics and health supplements division from Florida to the Bull City. However, the company appears to be retreating from this operation, with Reuters reporting last March that Clorox sought to sell its loss-making vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) business.

North Carolina has disbursed none of the $2.2 million Clorox was eligible to receive through the grant.

Besides disinfectant wipes, the Clorox brand portfolio includes Glad trash bags, Pine-Sol cleaner, Brita water filters, and Burt’s Bees, which is headquartered at the American Tobacco Campus in downtown Durham. Clorox acquired the lip balm maker in 2007.

In his letter to the state, Green emphasized Clorox continued to employ more than 520 full-time workers in the Durham area, higher than the 485 local employees the company had when it entered its grant four years ago. He also noted Clorox has exceeded its grant investment threshold by spending more than $6.75 million to expand around the Burt’s Bees offices.

The North Carolina Economic Investment Committee officially ended the grant Tuesday. It is not an uncommon step as most economic projects backed by state incentives never reach their initial hiring targets. State officials point out the grants are designed to tie taxpayer funding to performance.

Earlier this month, the Swiss bank Credit Suisse exited its jobs deal in Research Triangle Park. And last month, the Raleigh telecommunications software firm Bandwidth left its incentive to give it more flexibility in hiring decisions.

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