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German company selects N.C. for U.S. plant, headquarters

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MILLS RIVER, N.C.—German medical goods company Raumedic A.G. has chosen Mills River for its first U.S. manufacturing site and U.S. headquarters.

The company, part of conglomerate Rehau Group, will spend about $27.1 million over several years on the project. Raumedic, based in Helmbrechts, Germany, extrudes and injection molds thermoplastic and silicone components for medical and pharmaceutical applications such as high-tech catheters, drug delivery systems and molded parts for surgical equipment.

At least $10.6 million of the investment will be directed to clean room manufacturing space.

The company plans to start up in Mills River in the first quarter of 2016, said Raumedic spokesman Frank Rich-ter in an email.

Raumedic announced the greenfield project Feb. 26, two days after local and state officials publicly unveiled the plan. The firm had been looking for an available 60,000-sq.-ft. building, but scarcity of suitable space in the region led it to choose a 10-acre plot in Broadpointe Industrial Park. Raumedic legally was registered as a business in North Carolina in 2005.

Raumedic has been operating a U.S. subsidiary, Raumedic Inc., in Leesburg, Va. The Leesburg unit has been distributing Raumedic's products, which are now made only in Germany.

“North America plays a leading role in the medical sector and therefore is also a key market for Raumedic with its continuing growth,” Richter explained.

“Our new U.S. production and headquarters will combine the strength of American and German engineering to offer high-precision extrusion, molding and assembly of medical and pharmaceutical grade polymer materials,” Raumedic CEO Martin Bayer said in a news release.

Raumedic employs about 580 and had reported sales of about $100 million in 2012, a year before it announced a $32 million expansion at its Helmbrechts headquarters in Bavaria. At the Mills River site it expects to employ 138 within five years, with another 34 jobs added in the subsequent few years.

The average salary at the new Mills River facility will be about $55,400, well above the $34,300 average in Henderson County. The Raumedic operation will add about a $9 million payroll to the area's economy.

Job creation and investment targets qualify Raumedic for a $500,000 state grant under the One NC Fund, and about $34,200 and $783,600 of assistance, respectively, from Mills River and Henderson County.

Plastics and medical products are high on a list of desired businesses identified by a 2002 study commissioned by Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development.

Other Germany-based firms with local operations include Elkamet Kunststofftechnik, a plastics processor of vehicle components.

Raumedic runs three production plants in Germany, including 62,500 square feet of Class 7 clean room space. Its expertise in medical tubing, one of its major products, stems from its birth within Rehau Group.

In 1971 Raumedic became a brand name. In 2004, Rehau spun off Raumedic.