Despite tax hike, Medtronic's money still flies to Puerto Rico

In February, industry group AdvaMed cried loudly about Puerto Rico's plan to extend its excise tax on medical device operations based overseas. The 4% tax stayed, but it hasn't turned the tide of med tech manufacturing money that laps at the Puerto Rican shore.

Medtronic ($MDT) is spending $6 million and hiring 150 workers in an expansion of two device manufacturing plants the medical device giant operates in Puerto Rico, the U.S. territory's industrial economic development agency announced Sunday.

The funds will set up manufacturing of new technology at Medtronic's facilities in Juncos and Humacao, according to the release from the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (PRIDCO).

Juncos will tool up to make a subcutaneous, continuous glucose monitor that works for 6 days with daily recalibration. Humacao will tool up for the manufacture of a cervical device indicated for anterior cervical interbody fusion procedures in skeletally mature patients with cervical disc disease.

Medtronic operates three plants in Puerto Rico. The Fridley, MN, company is already in the midst of a three-year, $50 million expansion of its Juncos facility, announced in 2011. Medtronic now plans 100 new hires in Juncos and 50 in Humacao, according to PRIDCO.

A PRIDCO spokesman on Wednesday confirmed the Puerto Rican government persisted with plans to extend a 4% excise tax on med tech companies, despite AdvaMed's protest. When it was introduced in 2010, the tax rate had been set to fall to 1% by 2016.

TwinCities Business reported the investment plans Tuesday. Medtronic didn't respond to requests for comment, they said.

- read PRIDCO's press release
- here's the report from TwinCities Business

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