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Wellman planning $5.5 million expansion

By:

April 18, 2013

JOHNSONVILLE, S.C. — Wellman Plastics Recycling LLC is planning a $5.5 million expansion at its Johnsonville, S.C., headquarters.

Along with expanding its currently 2 million square foot manufacturing and research and development facility, the company will invest in new equipment and wastewater treatment upgrades. Wellman, a compounder and supplier of engineering and thermoplastic resins, also plans to add 50 new jobs at the plant, according to a resolution approved by the Florence County Council.

The resolution, named "Project Strongman", authorizes Wellman to apply for a $500,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Commerce to finance the wastewater treatment upgrades.

The expansion was reported by The (Florence) Morning News, an area newspaper. Wellman officials did not immediately return calls Thursday.

Wellman Plastics Recycling was formed following the bankruptcy and eventual dissolution of Wellman Inc., formerly one of the world's largest PET recyclers.

Wellman Inc. announced it was shuttering the Johnsonville facility in 2008. Private equity firm J.H. Whitney & Co. LLC purchased the plant, renamed it Wellman Plastics and Recycling, and ramped up production.

In its heyday, the plant employed more than 2,000. It currently employs 465, according to the Morning News.

Wellman also offers contract compounding and contract lab services. Through its subsidiary, Wellman Engineering Resins, the company offers nylon, polyester and polypropylene resin products, including a nylon alternative for the automotive industry made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled materials.