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Front Page » Top Stories » Shells Downscaled Miami Office Wont Get Tax Breaks

Shells Downscaled Miami Office Wont Get Tax Breaks

Written by on October 28, 2004

By Claudio Mendonca
Shell Petroleum’s decision to run a smaller operation in its Miami office will cost the company tax breaks.

More than a year ago, state and Miami-Dade County officials worked on a tax-incentive plan to entice the oil giant to open a consulting office here for its Latin American activities.

The company was to provide 30 jobs in Miami-Dade during the first year of operation. For each job created, the state would refund the company $4,000 if at least 24 jobs were created. But the Houston company has not hired that many people, and company officials said there are no plans to grow.

"The company is operating in a more efficient way with 16 people," said Shell spokesman Johan Zaayman.

He said the company is reaping benefits from the satellite office that takes up one-third of a floor at Blue Lagoon office park in Airport West. As part of a business decision, company officials said they have no plans to apply for a new incentive program.

"Since the Miami-Dade area has good flights and close cultural connections with Latin America, our local office is conveniently located to provide efficient advisory services to our businesses operating in the region," said Mr. Zaayman.

Shell operates its 6,000-square-foot Miami consultancy office to assist Latin American affiliates in finance, retail, branding, communications, information technology and auditing.

With plans to invest up to $575,000 in the county, the petroleum giant was to receive $120,000 worth of job-creation incentives from Miami-Dade County and the state. But with only 16 employees, the company is losing its perks.

The stimulus package, called the Qualified Targeted Industry Incentive tax refund, is a tool to encourage quality job growth in targeted high-value-added businesses.

"It is a performance-based incentive coming from the Qualified Targeted Industry Incentive tax-refund program," said Doris MacPherson, vice president of marketing and communications for the Beacon Council, the county’s public-private economic development partnership.

"Shell Oil received a qualified tax incentive from the state and the county," said Mario Sacasa, vice president of international operations for the Beacon Council. "Any incentive approved is performance-based."