GREENVILLE, S.C. (April 10, 2012)—Michelin North America Inc. will invest $750 million in South Carolina to build a second off-the-road tire plant and expand its existing OTR tire plant in Lexington.
The new plant will be built on land near Starr, in Anderson County, to the southwest of Greenville. Michelin already has a rubber compounding/calendering plant there and hundreds of acres of land on which to build.
Michelin said it expects to break ground in the coming weeks with initial production expected by late 2013. Michelin did not disclose the size or capacity of the new plant or the size of the expansion at the Lexington plant, where the company has been making OTR tires since 1997. It invested $85 million in 2005-09 to boost capacity there.
Speaking at a press conference in Greenville this morning, Pete Selleck, Michelin North America chairman and president, said there is “unprecedented demand” for Michelin earthmover tires throughout the world, and called the decision to invest in South Carolina a “tribute to the productivity of our employees and the pro-business environment in South Carolina.”
The two projects together will create up to 500 jobs, boosting Michelin's employment in the Palmetto State to more than 8,000.
“Michelin intends to maintain and strengthen its leadership in all its specialty businesses, especially earthmover radial tires,” said Jean-Dominique Senard, managing general partner of Michelin, who noted the global market for earthmover tires grew by more than 20 percent from 2009 to 2011.
“This new facility will help us meet sustained demand while also attaining our growth objectives for 2015,” he said. Selleck added: “Nearly every earthmover tire is sold before it is produced.”
Michelin operates six other earthmover tire plants globally: Waterville, Nova Scotia; Campo Grande, Brazil; Le Puy and Montceau-les-Mines, France; Vitoria, Spain; and Zalau, Romania.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley called Michelin “one of our finest corporate citizens” that has been “part of the economic and social fabric” of the state for decades.
Speculation about the expansion surfaced in February when it came to light that officials in Anderson County—where Michelin has two rubber-mixing/calendering facilities and more than 900 employees—were pitching the tire maker with an investment incentive package.
The package would provide tax relief and other incentives for creating at least 125 jobs and investing a minimum of $150 million, according to descriptions of the program. The incentives scale up with greater investment and more jobs.
The investment further cements Michelin's presence in South Carolina, where it operates four tire plants, the two rubber mixing/calendering units, its headquarters, a research-and-development campus and a test track in South Carolina, employing more than 7,700 in the state.
Overall, Michelin North America has 18 plants in 16 locations throughout the continent, employing 22,270 and generating $7.25 billion in annual sales, according to company information.