Expansion plans uncertain following Solstas sale

Jan. 26, 2014 @ 03:04 PM

Officials said it’s unclear how the acquisition of one of High Point’s largest employers by another firm will impact a 500-job expansion it announced in the city two years ago.
Solstas Laboratory Partners, a medical and diagnostics laboratories company that has part of its headquarters in Piedmont Centre in north High Point, will be acquired by Quest Diagnostics.
Solstas is the 10th largest employer in High Point, with about 800 employees in the city.
In 2012, the company announced plans to invest $11.6 million and create as many as 500 jobs over five years in High Point. At the time, it was the biggest job-creation announcement in the city in more than a decade.
The High Point City Council and the Guilford County Board of Commissioners each authorized cash incentives of up to $500,000 to help secure the expansion. The state pledged $450,000.
Officials said none of the incentives have been paid.
High Point’s incentives deal offered $1,000 per job. The company would have to document that the new jobs had been created to receive the money.
High Point Economic Development Corp. President Loren Hill said the company has added some jobs, but he wasn’t sure how many or where things stand with the expansion.
Solstas Director of Marketing Rob May could not provide details on the status of the expansion — which he said is ongoing — or number of jobs added since the announcement two years ago.
He said it’s unclear what the merger might mean for the project moving forward.
“We’re going to proceed with business as usual until the deal closes. Until then, we are Solstas and independent. After that, I don’t know,” May said. “They bought us for a reason. The have a huge gap in their business in North Carolina. We’ve got a lot of property and assets here, and I would assume they would want to leverage those assets.”
The company has several facilities in High Point, including its Piedmont Centre campus and at High Point Regional Hospital.
At the time of the jobs announcement, officials said the new positions would pay average yearly wages of $45,560 and would include jobs in information technology, human resources and other office and lab functions.
Solstas has about 3,800 employees at facilities in nine states. Quest Diagnostics, based in New Jersey, is the largest clinical diagnostics laboratories company in the world, with around 41,000 employees.
pkimbrough@hpe.com | 888-3531