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Mueller Industries plans $26.5 million molding plant

By: Frank Esposito

October 12, 2012

MEMPHIS, TENN. (Oct. 12, 2 p.m. ET) — Mueller Industries Inc. is seeking a tax abatement that would support a $26.5 million injection molding expansion and create 78 new jobs in Portage, Mich.

Memphis, Tenn.-based Mueller is asking Portage city officials for a 12-year, 50 percent tax abatement on the project, which will establish a 210,000 square-foot site as the firm’s primary plastic fittings production plant. Mueller had done injection molding at the site until 2010, when it consolidated operations into a plant in Wynne, Ark.

That plant was destroyed by fire in Sept. 2011, leading Mueller to reconsider the Portage plant, which it had been trying to sell.

A 12-year tax abatement would save Mueller about $3.3 million, Portage community development director Vicki Georgeau said in an Oct. 11 phone interview. Twelve-year abatements are allowed in the state of Michigan, but Plymouth city policies limit abatements to six years on personal property and nine years on real property. Plymouth city council, however, could waive that requirement for Mueller, Georgeau said. The shorter abatements would save Mueller about $2.2 million.

City Council is expected to vote on the abatement at an Oct. 23 meeting. Council also will vote on Mueller’s request to add a rail spur to the site at that same meeting.

Mueller officials could not be reached for comment. The 95-year-old firm is a leading global producer of tubes and fittings made from a variety of metals and plastics. Mueller’s sales in 2011 totaled more than $2.4 billion.

Mueller’s investment in Portage would include $23.9 million for the purchase and relocation of machinery and equipment, as well as $2.6 million for the rail spur. The 78 new jobs would be created in the next two years.

“We’re excited to see Mueller come back to Portage,” Georgeau said. “Hopefully, they’ll expand here long-term.”