Following last month’s explosions at a petrochemical plant near Beaumont, Texas on the Gulf Coast, a new report draws attention to the private equity industry’s growing control of companies in this sector through a business model that may increase health, environmental, and safety risks. This financial engineering often allows private equity firms to extract wealth from the companies they purchase, but can result in intense pressure to cut costs, resulting in layoffs or reduced spending on operations that can lead to substandard products or services.
The day before Thanksgiving, a chemical plant operated by the TPC Group exploded in Port Neches, Texas spewing contaminants, forcing over 50,000 people to evacuate, and leaving the community with the lingering aftereffects of an industrial disaster. The TPC Group is owned by two private equity (PE) firms, SK Capital Partners (SK) and First Reserve. The private equity owned chemical plants in Texas held by SK Capital have a long record of environmental violations — not just the TPC Group factories but other SK Capital portfolio firms.
Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz: “[A] recent study by groups including Americans for Financial Reform found that private-equity bankruptcies in the retail industry alone cost 600,000 jobs. One of those laid off, Giovanna De La Rosa, told of her experiences in this publication. The best outcome would be fewer bankruptcies, but when they happen, the welfare of workers needs to be at the top of the list, not at the bottom.”
Today, private equity and hedge fund managers take advantage of gaps in regulations to make billions of dollars by looting real-world businesses and engaging in abusive practices without any accountability. They also pay taxes at a lower rate than teachers and firefighters. The undersigned organizations support the Stop Wall Street Looting Act (S.2155 / HR 3848 ). This legislation would eliminate tax, securities and bankruptcy law carve-outs that allow these Wall Street titans to make billions at the expense of workers, communities and pensions.
The survey found that voters across party lines both disapprove of common approaches of private equity firms in taking over and running existing businesses. They also approve of measures to increase accountability, close loopholes, and protect workers, investors and the viability of target firms.
Voters support continued reform of Wall Street, and that conviction extends to the private equity industry, according to a new poll by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting. Majorities of Democrats, independents, and Republicans, oppose the predatory tactics of private equity industry, and support legislative proposals aimed at correcting its abuses.
New report revealing how in the last 10 years, a staggering 597,000 people working at retail companies owned by private equity firms and hedge funds have lost their jobs. An estimated additional 728,000 indirect jobs have been lost at suppliers and local businesses, meaning Wall Street’s gamble on retail has led to more than 1.3 million job losses in total.
“Private equity and hedge funds now wield enormous influence over the American economy, often with terrible consequences for workers and communities,” said Lisa Donner, executive director of Americans for Financial Reform. “We need effective rules of the road to stop predatory practices by these Wall Street giants.”
Briefing on Stop Wall Street Looting Act of 2019 will be at 3pm ET. To join call RSVP to Kyra Sadovi, firstname.lastname@example.org and dial (800) 230-1096 and ask for “Private Equity Legislation” conference call.