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Expansion to provide up to 200 new LR jobs this year, business says

By Jessica Seaman

This article was published July 18, 2013 at 12:37 a.m.

Fidelity National Information Services plans to add as many as 200 jobs at its campus in west Little Rock by the beginning of December, Ann Akins, vice president of the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company, said Wednesday.

Fidelity is a technology company that specializes in payment processing and other banking matters. The expansion at its campus at 4001 N. Rodney Parham Road will create a center for employees to receive telephone calls from customers and answer questions about their accounts, Akins said.

She said the new jobs will be full-time positions that range from people answering the phones to managers and supervisors.

Akins said the company does not disclose employee salaries.

The company was formed in 2003 when Fidelity National Financial acquired Alltel Information Services from Alltel Corp. for $1.05 billion.

Little Rock’s Board of Directors on Tuesday night approved a resolution to support state incentives for Fidelity’s plans.

The incentives would help Fidelity pay for new technology, office renovation, expansion and remodeling.

In 2006, Fidelity received a cash rebate of 3.9 percent for new payroll for five years under the Advantage Arkansas program. The company has already applied for the same tax break for the 200 new jobs, Arkansas Economic Development Commission spokesman Scott Hardin said.

Advantage Arkansas is a state income-tax credit for job creation based on payroll for new, full-time, permanent employees.

Fidelity also has applied for the Tax Back program, a sales-tax refund on building materials and taxable machinery and equipment associated with the project.

Hardin said Fidelity’s incentive applications should be approved by the Economic Development Commission in a few weeks.

The announcement of Fidelity’s expansion came a week after Hewlett-Packard cut 500 customer-service jobs in Conway.

Hewlett-Packard said the layoff of a third of its workforce in Conway was part of the company’s plan to reduce its global workforce by 29,000 by October 2014 to cut expenses.

Before the layoffs, Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, Calif., employed 1,400 in Conway.

Hewlett-Packard’s global plan was announced in 2012 and originally included the elimination of 27,000 jobs companywide. The number increased by 2,000 in September.

Hewlett-Packard received $35.4 million in incentives from the state and $8.3 million from a local incentive package. The Hewlett-Packard office in Conway opened in 2009.

Hewlett-Packard will be meeting with the Economic Development Commission soon to decide how much money will be returned to the state as a result of the layoffs, Hardin said.

Representatives from Fidelity will attend a job fair Friday in Conway for former Hewlett-Packard workers, Fidelity’s Akins said.

“We did secure a spot to go over there and talk to them,” Akins said. “We are actively looking for employees.”

The job fair, sponsored by the Conway Chamber of Commerce, will be 10 a.m.-1 p.m. at the University of Central Arkansas student ballroom.

Fidelity has had its own share of layoffs in central Arkansas.

In 2009, the company cut 55 jobs at its Little Rock office, saying then that “realignment has created a number of operational efficiencies.” Fidelity also eliminated an undisclosed number of jobs in 2008.

Front Section, Pages 1 on 07/18/2013

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