GREENVILLE, S.C.-To accommodate increased demand for its products, Michelin North America will spend at least $500 million-and perhaps as much as $900 million-over the next five years to expand three South Carolina plants and build another in that state. Michelin anticipates spending $150 million to $280 million to build an off-the-road tire plant next to its 1.2 million-sq.-ft. radial passenger tire plant in Lexington. The new factory will employ 700.
In Greenville County, Michelin said it will spend between $130 million and $200 million to bolster radial passenger tire capacity. The expansion is expected to create 450 jobs.
The 1.2 million-sq.-ft. Spartanburg plant will expand its truck tire operations at a cost of between $110 million and $210 million. This phase of the project is slated to increase the unit's employment to 1,900 from 1,600, according to Michelin.
Michelin's Sandy Springs semi-finished products factory in Anderson County will receive $110 million to $210 million to upgrade and expand the 2.25 million-sq.-ft. facility to accommodate future growth, resulting in 180 new jobs.
All the county governments involved have said they will give Michelin tax breaks and other incentives, the tire maker said.
Additional details about the project will not be available until March, when Michelin anticipates the incentives provided by the local and state governments will be approved by South Carolina's General Assembly, a company spokesman said.
In addition, Michelin said it is working with South Carolina technical schools to provide pre-employment training outside of the counties where Michelin's plants are located.
Working with the schools creates a larger employment pool for the new positions created by the expansion plans and will allow the projects to benefit the entire state, according to Michelin.
The company said its annual payroll in South Carolina is more than $400 million for 9,000 employees. Michelin expects the project to create more than 1,600 additional jobs.
The firm said the expansions are needed to meet an increase in demand for Michelin products. The Greenville-based tire maker also said it selected South Carolina because of its already large presence there and the business-friendly environment.
``We have an excellent relationship with the state of South Carolina,'' said Carlos Ghosn, president and CEO of Michelin North America. ``The pro-business environment, the excellent vocational and technical training, and the willingness of the government to partner with us has made this state our first preference for investment since coming here in 1975.''
Five of Michelin's 19 North American manufacturing sites are located in South Carolina, as well as its research and development center, proving grounds and southeastern distribution center.
Michelin reportedly contributes $47 million in taxes annually to the state of South Carolina.
Globally, Michelin posts sales of more than $12 billion. In North America, the company has sales of more than $4 billion and employs 23,500.