After 11 years doing business in Macon, Nichiha Corp. is planning to expand its plant and add more than 70 jobs to the current 161.
The Japan-based company will invest $120 million in the expansion, according to a news release from Gov. Nathan Deal’s office Wednesday morning.
The 74 new jobs will include positions in management and operations, the release said.
“Nichiha is a valued member of Georgia’s business community and an asset to our manufacturing industry,” Deal said in the release. “By expanding operations in Macon-Bibb County, the company will utilize our strategic manufacturing resources and continue to hire from our deep talent pool to build upon its success in the Southeastern market and beyond.
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“We appreciate Nichiha’s investment in Macon-Bibb County and look forward to the company’s future growth and success in Georgia.”
Nichiha specializes in fiber cement products made for interior and exterior uses and for commercial and residential applications. The finished product can be made to look like stone, brick or other composites.
“They will be manufacturing a new product line and continuing to manufacture what they had been doing,” said Stephen Adams, interim executive director for the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority. “They had been shipping in their higher-end product line (to this facility).”
The company announced in June 2006 it would create about 100 jobs and build a 300,000-square-foot manufacturing plant on 60 acres in the Airport South Industrial Park on Avondale Mill Road at U.S. 41, and construction began right away. By October of that year, it added a warehouse to its plans for a total of 400,000 square feet. The initial investment was about $100 million. The plant held its grand opening in November 2007.
While Nichiha has had operations in the U.S. since 1998, the south Bibb facility was the company’s first plant in the U.S., and when it opened, it was the first manufacturing plant built in Bibb County in more than 20 years.
Robby Fountain, chairman of the authority, said the company would nearly double the size of its existing plant with new construction of about 300,000 square feet. This would mean the completed building would be the size of about 12 football fields.
“To say we’re excited about Nichiha growing its employment opportunities by three quarters and adding nearly $3 million to the local payroll is an understatement,” Fountain said in the release.
As an incentive, the company was offered a 10-year tax schedule that reduces the amount of taxes the company will pay for its property and equipment, Adams said. Nichiha also received $150,000 in a state grant.
The company was offered a similar tax incentive in 2006. Those incentives saved the company about $3 million during the first 10 years. At that time, an economic impact study done by Georgia Power showed that Nichiha would add about $4.9 million to the government’s coffers during the 10-year period it received those tax breaks.
Construction on the expansion is expected to begin with a pre-development meeting next week with the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission, Adams said. The construction would likely take “a couple of years,” he said.
The Nagoya, Japan-based company has more than 2,800 employees and 13 facilities worldwide. Its consolidated annual sales are about $1.1 billion.