Published on June 16, 2014

Giti to build $560M plant in S.C.

Tire Business photo by Bruce Davis.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Giti Tire Group Executive Chairman Dr. Enki Tan answer questions at a press conference June 16 in Richburg, S.C.

RICHBURG, S.C. (June 16, 2014) — Giti Tire Group, the predominantly Chinese tire maker based in Singapore, has selected a site in Chester County, S.C., for its first U.S. tire plant.

The $560 million project will, according to Giti, create 1,700 jobs over 10 years.

Giti Executive Chairman Enki Tan disclosed the company’s plans this morning at a ceremony in Chester, accompanied by S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley, Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt, Singapore Ambassador Ashok Kumar Mipuir and other state, county and local officials.

The 1.8 million-sq.-ft. plant and distribution center will be designed with a first-phase annual capacity of 5 million tires, Mr. Tan said, for both replacement and OE customers. The factory will be engineered to allow for additional capacity “in response to future market demand and conditions,” said Tom McNamara, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Giti Tire (USA) Ltd., Giti Group’s Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based sales and marketing subsidiary.

“This significant investment represents our strong commitment to customers in North America,” Mr. Tan said. “This is a key milestone for Giti Tire and an important part of our growth strategy worldwide. Existing business and strong demand for Giti Tire’s passenger and light truck tires in North America has made this significant investment in South Carolina possible.”

Giti generated about 16 percent of its $2.7 billion in fiscal 2012 sales — $430 million — from business in North America, where it goes to market under the GT Radial, Primewell, Dextero, and Runway brands.

Keep checking tirebusiness.com for more reports on Giti Tire’s new tire plant—including videos, photos and exclusive interviews with Tire Business.

Chester County is largely rural with about 33,000 residents in South Carolina’s Piedmont area about 50 miles southwest of Charlotte, N.C. A plant in Chester County would have direct access to Interstate 77.

Lei Huai Chin, managing director of Giti Tire Group, called Chester County an “excellent location for Giti Tire, offering an extensive and efficient infrastructure network including interstate highways, rail, close proximity to airports and a major metropolitan area to support the company’s needs and growth for many years to come.”

Mr. McNamara stressed the plant will be built with a “focus on maintaining a healthy balance with the environment and following Giti Tire’s green initiative.”

Giti’s project is the fourth greenfield tire plant to be located in South Carolina in the past four years, representing more than $3 billion in investment, according to Tire Business’ archives. In addition, Bridgestone Corp. and Michelin North America Inc. have announced several hundred million dollars more in expansions of existing factories in the state.

“This is another huge win for our state and Team South Carolina,” Gov. Haley said. “… Giti’s decision to come to our state is another great sign that our economic development efforts are paying off for the hard-working people of South Carolina.”

Mr. Hitt said the project “further bolsters our state’s reputation as a manufacturing powerhouse and the nation’s tire capital.

“We look forward to a long and successful partnership with Giti Tire in our state.”

South Carolina is offering $37.8 million in economic assistance and will be offering job creation credits once the plant reaches the target of 1,700 jobs, according to state officials. In addition, Gov. Haley’s office said readySC — a division of the South Carolina Technical College System — will assist with recruiting and training the firm’s initial workforce.

 

Brian Singleton, chairman of the Chester Development Association, said in a statement: “We…are anxious to work with them building this new world class tire manufacturing operation.”

Based on its estimated $2.8 billion to $3 billion in fiscal 2013 annual sales, Giti Tire Group is the 13th or 14th largest tire maker worldwide, according to Tire Business’ annual analysis of the global industry.

It has eight plants in China — five tire production and three materials support plants — and is a minority owner of P.T. Gajah Tunggal Tbk. of Indonesia, which gives it access to production from that firm’s tire manufacturing complex near Jakarta.

Gajah Tunggal in its own right reports more than $1 billion in annual revenue, a portion of which it derives from sales to Group Michelin, which holds a 10-percent ownership share in the Indonesian company.

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To reach this reporter: bdavis@crain.com; 330-865-6145. Follow Bruce on Twitter @reifenmensch.

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