Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mound City Money

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mound City Money

Article excerpt

Highlights from David Nicklaus blog about St. Louis business.

St. Louis once wooed ConAgra ConAgras purchase of Ralcorp has spurred a lot of discussion about how many jobs the Omaha, Neb., food company will keep in downtown St. Louis. Mayor Francis Slays chief of staff, Jeff Rainford, talked hopefully about convincing ConAgra to consolidate all of its private-label food business in St. Louis.

A quarter-century ago, local leaders were talking to ConAgra about even higher stakes: They tried to lure its headquarters away from Omaha.

On May 19, 1987, the Post-Dispatch ran a story about high-level efforts to lure a $50 million investment that would involve the corporate headquarters and a food research laboratory. Missouri Gov. John Ashcroft reportedly had several conversations with ConAgras chief executive.

The effort didnt turn out well. ConAgra decided to put its new offices right where the old ones were, in Omaha, and the St. Louis area lost 375 jobs when ConAgras frozen-food division, which had been based in Ballwin, was consolidated into the new headquarters.

In hindsight, St. Louis appears to have been a bargaining chip in ConAgras quest for tax concessions in Nebraska.

ConAgras current CEO, Gary Rodkin, said that he hadnt made a decision on the future of Ralcorps 350 workers in the St. Louis area. If local officials do get involved in efforts to keep those jobs, lets hope they fare better than their predecessors did in 1987. (11.30)

The other cliff While most of Washington is focused on the fiscal-cliff talks, banking lobbyists are trying to call attention to another precipitous change thats scheduled to happen Dec. 31. If Congress does nothing to prevent it, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.s unlimited guarantee program for transaction accounts will expire when the ball drops in Times Square.

The guarantee, known as TAG, is one of the emergency measures put in place during the financial crisis of 2008. It applies to non- interest-bearing accounts that are over the normal insurance limit of $250,000, and it currently covers about 13 percent of all bank deposits. …

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