Business

Plant making $50 million investment; to create 75 skilled jobs

This is a rendering of the facility Zschimmer & Schwarz Inc. plans to build in Gordon as part of the company’s acquisition of the Lexolube division of Inolex. The $50 investment is expected to create 75 new highly skilled jobs.
This is a rendering of the facility Zschimmer & Schwarz Inc. plans to build in Gordon as part of the company’s acquisition of the Lexolube division of Inolex. The $50 investment is expected to create 75 new highly skilled jobs.

A Milledgeville company is making a $50 million investment and plans to create 75 highly skilled jobs in Middle Georgia.

Zschimmer & Schwarz Inc., a German-based chemical company that opened its Milledgeville plant in 2000, has acquired the Lexolube division of Pennsylvania-based Inolex Chemical Co., according to a statement from the company. The acquisition will expand the existing work of the specialty chemicals manufacturer with additional specialty lubricants and lubricant components.

The company plans to build a new facility in Gordon, which will include about 75,000 square feet of laboratory, warehouse and office space, CEO Bill Burton said Wednesday. Also included on the 300-acre site will be about four rail spurs to the rail line, 40 storage tanks and reactors.

“If you look at the just the people or just the square footage, it’s misleading,” Burton said. “Just to start out, it will generate $40 million of revenue. And obviously we bought enough land so that we could double and triple that in the future. ... The interesting thing is Zschimmer & Schwarz was a $5 million company in 2001 in the U.S.”

The company now has about 75 workers at the Milledgeville plant, and it expects to add about 60 of the new hires at the Gordon plant about 15 miles away, he said. It expects to begin hiring for these highly skilled jobs this summer.

“The chemical business is very technical and automated, so it does not take many to make a sizable business,” Burton said. “Sales are expected to reach $80 million in 2017 for our Milledgeville location.”

Work should begin on clearing the land in Gordon in the next couple of weeks. Then the company has to build the rail line, the roads, the buildings and install its equipment.

“It will be, hopefully, second quarter 2018 when we can start production, if we can do it that quickly,” Burton said.

Jonathan Jackson, director of the Development Authority of Wilkinson County, said the authority, which has been working with the chemical company about two years, is excited to take the next step toward construction of the new plant.

“Wilkinson County has a long history of industry involving skilled workers, and it is good to see such a good match in Zschimmer & Schwarz,” Jackson said in an email. He also is president of the Wilkinson County Chamber of Commerce. “They were looking for a specific fit and we looked at all six of our rail sites to find the right location.”

Part of the $50 million investment includes the acquisition of Lexolube from Inolex, Burton said. To ensure a smooth transition, Inolex will continue to produce Lexolube products for a certain period until manufacturing is transferred to the Georgia site.

Zschimmer & Schwarz, a family owned business founded in 1894, with headquarters in Lahnstein, Germany, develops and produces high performance chemical auxiliaries for the leather, ceramic, textile/fiber, personal care, lubricant, and polymer industries/markets.

Inolex is a personal care ingredient company founded in 1892, based in Philadelphia.

Linda S. Morris: 478-744-4223, @MidGaBiz

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