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EDITORIAL: UTC, Raytheon merger not so bad for state

EDITORIAL: UTC, Raytheon merger not so bad for state

It is with concern, but not with panic, that Connecticut learned recently of the plan for United Technologies and Raytheon to merge. The new company, to be called Raytheon Technologies, would become the second-largest aerospace and defense company in the U.S. and would be headquartered in suburban Boston.

The bad news is that around 100 top executives are expected to relocate from Connecticut to Massachusetts. This stings, in a state beleaguered by bad business and economic news, and comes just two short years after General Electric moved its headquarters from Fairfield to Boston.

But there’s also good news, in that the remainder of UTC’s roughly 19,000 Connecticut workers will stay put. "In fact, Raytheon Technologies will maintain a strong presence in Connecticut for years to come,” said Greg Hayes, the chairman and CEO of UTC. 

But how strong a presence the new Raytheon Technologies will maintain here, and for how many years, remain to be determined, according to reports in The Connecticut Mirror. UTC announced last fall that it was spinning off Otis Elevator and Carrier, its heating-and-cooling subsidiary, to focus on aerospace.

More good news, according to Gov. Ned Lamont, is that Otis will remain based in Connecticut after its spinoff from United Technologies, and that the Pratt & Whitney division intends to hire 1,000 workers in the state. Pratt has a backlog of jet-engine orders, but it was not immediately clear whether the 1,000 jobs would mean an expansion of the workforce at Pratt or would largely be replacements for retirees.

In 2014, Connecticut came to a deal under which UTC would use $400 million in unused tax credits to offset the investment of $500 million in four projects here: a new world headquarters and engineering facility along with new and refurbished lab and office space, both in East Hartford; a new customer training center and engineering lab in Windsor Locks; and upgrades to certain facilities at Sikorsky Aircraft.  In 2015, the company sold Sikorsky to Lockheed Martin.  

Connecticut still “punches above its weight in aerospace, defense, engineering, and advanced manufacturing," Lamont said. Despite the Raytheon merger, it looks like that will continue to be true at least for another decade, if not longer.