Bridgestone to invest $1.2B in U.S., including new OTR plant

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Bridgestone to invest $1.2B in U.S., including new OTR plant

Post  Administrator on Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:14 am

Bridgestone to invest $1.2B in U.S., including new OTR plant

22 September 2011

Graniteville, South Carolina -- Bridgestone Americas will invest more than $1.2 billion in the coming two and a half years to build a radial OTR tyre plant in Aiken County, South Carolina, expand consumer tyre capacity at its existing Aiken plant and expand a steel cord factory in Clarksville, Tennessee.

The bulk of the investment will be for the 1.5 million-sq.-ft. OTR tyre plant, which is scheduled to begin production by the end of the first quarter of 2014 with 330 new employees.

Bridgestone did not disclose the new plant’s projected capacity, but a similar-sized investment under way in Japan is slated to raise the capacity of a 3-year-old plant in Kitakyushu to 130 metric tons a day.

This will be Bridgesone’s third plant worldwide for large and ultra-large OTR tyres. The firm’s others are in Shimonoseki and Kitakyushu, Japan.

Bridgestone Americas President Gary Garfield said the investment will enhance Bridgestone’s supply systems, improve its sourcing flexibility and strengthen its position as a leading competitor in the radial OTR tyre segment.

The plant, to be built on a greenfield site in Sage Mill Industrial Park, will be designed with a focus on the environment, Bridgestone said. The company plans to achieve LEED Construction Certification by incorporating state-of-the-art technology in its facility and equipment design.

The second part of the investment will be to expand capacity for passenger and light truck tyres at the Aiken plant by 8,000 tyres a daily, or nearly 29 percent beyond the capacity the firm had targeted with an expansion project announced just two months ago.

The expansion disclosed today will add 740,000 square feet of manufacturing space to the 12-year-old plant, bringing the total under roof to 2.74 million square feet.

The expansion will create more than 300 full-time and contractor jobs in Aiken County when fully on stream, which should happen by 2015.

Construction of both phases of the plant’s expansion is planned to begin in November and be completed by the first quarter of 2013, Nashville, Tennessee-based Bridgestone said.

Separately, Bridgestone said it is committing $75 million to expand capacity for OTR-tyre-grade steel cord at its plant in Clarksville.

The project will increase daily output by 10 percent and add 123,077 square feet to the plant. Capacity at the 15-year-old plant is 165 metric tons per day, the tyre maker said.

The expansion, which ties into the construction of the OTR tyre plant in Aiken County, will create 36 new jobs when the expanded capacity comes on stream by the fourth quarter of 2015.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley attended a ceremony at the Aiken plant to announce the expansions.

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