As Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing Inc. (TNA) wraps up work on Phase III of a long-term project to expand the firm's White plant, company officials can consider additional expansion possibilities knowing they have secure financing they can access.
That financing is in the form of a $910 million bond facility approved last September by the Bartow County Joint Development Authority. The facility provides continuing tax incentives to Toyo, giving the company the “option of continuing our periodic investments (at the plant) well into the future,” the company said.
Toyo has yet to disclose what, if any, additional expansion plans or investments it has for the 6-year-old White factory, but the firm said in a prepared statement the plant “will undoubtedly continue to be the linchpin for the future growth strategy for both the Toyo and Nitto brands within the U.S.”
Officials from Georgia and Bartow County, including Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, indicated at a ceremony at the plant July 12 that the bond facility makes it possible for Toyo to create up to 470 new jobs at the plant throughout the rest of this decade. The original bond facility that was made available to TNA in 2004 had been used fully by year-end 2010, Toyo said.
Toyo has added 200 workers at the plant in the past year, raising employment at the non-union factory to 900.
The Phase III expansion, announced in 2008 and now wrapping up, doubled the size of the facility to 1.8 million square feet as part of a $270 million investment to boost annual capacity to 5.2 million units.
Jim Hawk, president and corporate officer of Toyo Tire North America Manufacturing, a wholly owned subsidiary of Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc., lauded the state and local authorities.
“The pro-business environment and cooperation from the state of Georgia and Bartow County have exceeded our expectations,” Mr. Hawk said, noting that the company's growth has proceeded more quickly than had initially been planned.
The facility—which manufactures Toyo- and Nitto-brand tires for passenger cars, SUVs and light trucks—began operating in late 2005 with about 350 employees.