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Pfizer-Allergan mega merger has Groton worrying

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GROTON — Sheltering profits from the tax man has long been a corporate quest. Now, it’s part of the reason that Pfizer has agreed to a mega merger with Ireland’s Allergan.

The makers of recognizable products, including Botox, Viagra and Lipitor, are merging because Pfizer would see its tax rate plummet from about 27 percent to roughly 17 percent if their primary executive offices were in Ireland.

“I have concerns about the long-term viability of what’s left here in eastern Connecticut,” said state Rep. John Scott (R-40), whose district includes Groton. We had 4,000 high paying scientists that were working down here in the Groton facility and they moved them to the Boston area and then proceeded to tear down several hundred thousand square feet of research facility.”

Until Pfizer made headlines Monday, lawmakers had their minds on another corporate giant looking for tax advantages.

Scott, who owns the Bailey Insurance Agency, which is near Pfizer, says “People are really worried about GE leaving the other end of the state. We’ve already experienced that here. This part of the state has one of the 10 worst economies in the country.”

Pfizer’s downsizing over the last five years and lagging casino business have impacted Scott’s business.

“For us to lose any additional population of highly paid employees would be devastating to small business in the region,” he said.

Among the businesses that stand to strike out if Pfizer decides to move more jobs out of Groton is the Spare Time Bowling Center.

“One of the things that we get from Pfizer is we have a bowling league that they sponsor and have a lot of holiday parties,” said Anthony Simpson, general manager of Spare Time.

One of Spare Time’s managers recently reached out to work units within Pfizer that have held holiday parties in the past. She found out those groups no longer exist.

“Some that she got a hold of, they don’t have the budget anymore for any parties,” said Simpson.

Despite this proposed $160 billion deal, Scott says many of his friends at Pfizer aren’t talking, choosing to take a wait-and-see approach.

If the deal is approved, it’s not expected to be completed until sometime late next year. The name of the company would remain Pfizer.