(Reuters) – Health insurer Aetna Inc <AET.N> said it is looking to move its headquarters out of Hartford, Connecticut, a move that could put more pressure on a state already facing a huge revenue slump and mounting economic weakness.
“We are in negotiations with several states regarding a headquarters relocation, with the goal of broadening our access to innovation and the talent that will fill knowledge economy-type positions,” Aetna spokesman TJ Crawford said in an e-mail.
Aetna has about 6,000 employees in Connecticut, with the majority based in the Hartford area.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said earlier in the day that the company would shift its headquarters.
“Based on multiple conversations with Aetna’s senior leadership, I think it is clear that Aetna decided a long time ago to relocate their corporate headquarters out of Connecticut,” Bronin said in a statement.
“Losing Aetna’s flag is a hard blow for the state and for the greater Hartford region.” (http://bit.ly/2rkM07i)
Earlier this month, Connecticut’s credit rating was lowered by all the big three Wall Street credit rating agencies, making it one of the lowest-rated states in the country.
The city of Hartford, Connecticut’s capital, is also facing its own deficit and has been in talks with bankruptcy lawyers about possible representation, according to local news reports.
Both Aetna and Mayor Bronin said the company would not entirely pull out of Hartford and continue to employ several thousand employees in the city.
“We remain committed to our Connecticut-based employees and the Hartford campus, and hope to have a final resolution by early summer,” Aetna’s Crawford said.
If Aetna moves, it will be the latest major company to shift out of Connecticut after industrial conglomerate General Electric Co <GE.N> shifted its base to Boston from Fairfield last year. (http://reut.rs/1OPB9cq)
(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Laharee Chatterjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza)