AGRU-AMERICA MOVES PIPE PLANT

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Agru-America Inc. will move its geomembrane and pipe plant to a new facility in Georgetown, S.C., by March.

The firm wants to expand and modernize but its leased Canton, Mass., plant does not have the space or layout for the program, according to Robert Pelletier, the firm's president. It has been producing at Canton since 1989.

Agru-America will invest $5 million in a 45,000-square-foot building in Georgetown. It also will install about $5 million in machinery there, including existing equipment from Canton. Pelletier said the machinery investment also contains new equipment to boost capacity later this year for one of his company's product lines, which he would not disclose. He would not reveal suppliers or other details for the new machinery.

Pelletier said his company runs a flat-die extrusion line at Canton that makes polyethylene geo-membranes up to 22 feet wide. It also has two pipe lines extruding polypropylene, PE and polyvinylidene fluoride for specialty applications such as chemical processing and semiconductor in- dustries. It has an agreement with Asahi/America Inc. of Malden, Mass., for the latter to market Agru-America's PVDF pipe.

Agru-America began construction on the Georgetown building last July but hurricanes Bertha and Fran stalled work for a month or more, Pelletier explained from Agru-America's administrative office in Salem, N.H. It owns about 20 acres at Georgetown next to a CSX Transportation Inc. rail line.

Pelletier said the Salem office also will relocate to Georgetown but Agru-America will keep its Conroe, Texas, sales office open. The company is a subsidiary of Agru-Alois Gruber GmbH of Bad Hall, Austria.