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Tire plant to bring 450 jobs to south Bibb

Kumho Tire Co. will create 450 jobs and make a $225 million investment when it builds its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Bibb County.

The Korean company is planning to build a 1.3 million-square-foot manufacturing plant on 130 acres in Sofkee Industrial Park off Ga. 247 in south Bibb County, said Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission.

Kumho Tire is expected to begin construction in May. Production is expected to begin in October 2009.

"This is the largest investment that has been made in Macon and Bibb County since probably the mid-90s when Brown and Williamson did their expansion of about $400 (million) or $500 million," Topping said. "Over a 20-year period, this project could equal much more than $250 million."

More than 250 local and state government officials and business leaders gathered at Central Georgia Technical College this afternoon for the official announcement and signing ceremony.

"It's not only a good day for Macon/Bibb County and for all of Middle Georgia but the entire state as well," said Gov. Sonny Perdue. "You are going to really love this company. It's a wonderful business story and world class company."

When Perdue visited last year with company officials in Korea, "they discovered that Georgia is open for business," he said.

While the company considered several locations for its plant — including Alabama — it chose Georgia because of "the state and local incentives packages combined with the labor costs, transportation, customers and other factors," said Min Shin, a company translator.

Sae Chul Oh, president and chief executive officer of Kumho, said the company's new location "is the best place to establish a main manufacturing base to continuously expand our market share. "I was deeply moved by the Georgians outstanding efforts and fast decision-making in order to bring Kumho Tire to the great state of Georgia."

Kumho Tire was founded in 1960 and has grown to become one of the top 10 manufacturers in the world, according to the company.

For more on this story, come back to macon.com or read Wednesday's Telegraph.

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