Nokia announced an agreement to settle its dispute with the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Bochum over the company’s plans to close its handset manufacturing plant. When Nokia announced plans to close the Bochum plant in January, the state asked the company to repay the subsidies it had received for opening the plant in the region.
Nokia, the state and the city have agreed to a plan that includes setting up an “Entrepreneur Center” in Bochum and finding a suitable buyer or investor for Nokia’s facilities there. The company said it will contribute $31.5 million plus the net proceeds from the sale of the plant to the plan. The state also will contribute $31.5 million.
“We said in January that, as a responsible company, we would work together with the employee representatives, unions, NRW Government and City of Bochum to find ways to support employees and Bochum’s future growth both during and after the difficult process of closing the factory,” said Nokia CFO and Executive Vice President Rick Simonson, in a statement. “We are pleased to now announce this important milestone.”
According to Nokia’s statement, the City of Bochum welcomed the outcome of the negotiations. “It is not easy for Bochum to deal with the loss of Nokia. However, I am pleased that we will receive strong support from Nokia and NRW in the search for investors and in identifying new job creation opportunities,” said Bochum Mayor Ottilie Scholz, in the company’s announcement.
As part of the plan, Nokia and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia have agreed to close the issue of repaying the subsidies.