Ingeteam misses hiring mark

Ingeteam Inc. is seeking five more years to create the 275 jobs it promised in return for a loan from the City of Milwaukee.

The Spanish wind and solar power product manufacturer received a $2 million forgivable loan from RACM in June 2010 to finance the construction of its $15 million, 140,000-square-foot Menomonee Valley manufacturing facility. The funds for the loan were provided by a tax incremental financing district.

As a condition for receiving the forgivable loan, Ingeteam set an ambitious hiring timeline — 275 employees by 2015. The company has created just 77 jobs to date, said Milwaukee Department of City Development spokesman Jeff Fleming.

Now, “due to the continuing weakness of the economy, employment is not expected to meet the milestones set forth” in the original loan agreement, and Ingeteam is seeking a modification to its agreement. The company wants until 2020 to reach the 275 mark.

The Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee will consider modifying the terms of the loan at its meeting Thursday.

“The revised plan has the same number, 275 employees, by 2020. What is changing is the rate at which they add those jobs,” Fleming said.

Under the new timeline, Ingeteam plans to reach 100 employees in 2015. But the company expects the pace of hiring to pick up soon, attributable to new fields it is entering, improvement in the overall economy and new partnerships it is forming, he said.

“There had been some uncertainty in renewable energy tax credits, and that delayed contracts being executed,” Fleming said. “They are upbeat at Ingeteam about their future. They simply have not attained the growth they anticipated.”

The company, which got off to a slow start manufacturing wind turbines and solar inverters at its facility at 3550 W. Canal St., also received $1.6 million in federal stimulus tax credits, a $500,000 capital financing loan from the state and $4.5 million in state tax credits to locate in Wisconsin.

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