Risdon Seeking State Loan


WATERTOWN — Risdon International, a cosmetics packaging company with headquarters here, is facing financial hardships and may move to Texas, according to state and local officials.

The company is seeking a loan from the Connecticut Development Authority to help it stay in Watertown.

Sen. Rob Kane, R-Watertown, said he could not discuss details.

"Like many companies this time in this economy, they are having some issues, and we are trying to work with them," he said. "Sometimes government and the private sector can do things together positively and protect jobs.... We're trying to do whatever we can to work with them and help them in this time."

Repeated attempts to contact officials at Risdon International headquarters were unsuccessful. It is not clear how many jobs could be affected, but Kane said Watertown's branch employs about 80 people.

Tony Roberto, executive director of the Connecticut Development Authority, said the agency is looking at a "potential transaction for the company." He declined to say how big a loan Risdon is seeking, and could not say when a decision might be made.

"We are committed to looking at things in the most positive light," he said. "We are diligently working for solutions."

Roberto said loans typically come with assurances, such as a promise from the company to stay in the state for at least 10 years.

The town recently sent a letter to the Connecticut Development Authority on behalf of Risdon International, saying it would be an economic blow to the state and Watertown if the company left.

"The Watertown Economic Development Commission is writing to you with a sense of urgency regarding a Watertown business, Risdon International, which is facing a fiscal emergency, requiring working capital," the letter stated.

According to the letter, Risdon has received an offer of "state and local help from a community in Texas, and is considering the possibility of moving there, although they would prefer to stay in Connecticut if the state could match some of the financial offers they are receiving from Texas."

The governor's office in Texas declined to comment, saying such transactions are confidential.

Last year, Risdon International laid off 33 employees because of a plan to move some manufacturing operations to Risdon's facility in Mexico.

Risdon was acquired by two private investment firms from Crown Holdings Inc. in November 2006.

The company makes packaging components for the cosmetics industry, including fragrance and cosmetics caps and closures, compacts, mascaras, lipsticks and lip gloss.

Its customers include Avon, Calvin Klein, Chanel, Clinique, Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Liz Claiborne, L'Oreal, Procter & Gamble and Revlon.