GREENSBORO, N.C. -- City of Greensboro leaders see the silver lining in the Lorillard buyout. Initial word from the multi-billion dollar deal should keep the tobacco plant open.
The large tobacco manufacturer is being sold to rival Reynolds America with a third party, Imperial Tobacco, planning to buy the Lorillard facility and continue operations.
"Now it looks like the vast majority of employees will stay right here in Greensboro," said Mayor Nancy Vaughan.
Just a few weeks ago, Vaughan said city leaders met with Lorillard leaders about the potential closure of the facility if it were bought and shut down by Reynolds.
"That's an awful lot of families that could have been negatively impacted," said Vaughan, who said there are 1,600 employees at the plant itself. Reynolds counts 2,900 when you factor in the national sales staff and other positions that were part of the sale.
Lorillard produces Newport menthols, the second-best selling cigarette brand in the country. Reynolds America will take Newport to Winston-Salem and sell Kool, Winston and Salem brands to Imperial with the intention of those brands being manufactured at the Lorillard facility. Blu electronic cigarettes and Maverick cigarettes will also continue to be
made in Greensboro.
Even with a company ready to keep production running many will miss Lorillard as a corporate citizen in Greensboro.
"Certainly their employees have been very generous whether it’s with their money or their talents and we know that will continue because we have really good people here at Lorillard. Let’s hope that the new owners would carry on this tradition as well," said Vaughan.
Greensboro Partnership leaders said Lorillard was a big contributor to several area charities and community improvement projects including the United Way and the yet-to-be-built Greensboro Performing Arts Center.