Toray Plastics America Inc. will spend $50 million to build its first U.S. polyethylene foam plant in Warren County, Va., near Front Royal. Initially the 100,000-foot-plant will operate one PE foam extrusion line when it opens in April 1997, according to Toray spokesman Harvey Greenhalgh. The plant will produce 6 million pounds per year of the material, trademarked Toraypef. Construction is slated for August.
The material will be used in laminated interior car parts, such as door panels and dashboard components, for both Japanese and American automakers in the United States, he said.
Warren County, with a population of 28,400, will assume the cost for the 90-acre site, worth about $1.1 million, said Ron George, county administrator. The county also will contribute $500,000 toward providing access roads and railroad service to the plant, he said.
Another $500,000 incentive, supplied by the state, will pay for site preparation, land grading and lighting, said Morgan Stewart, spokesman for the Secretariat of Commerce & Trade.
``We have a good institution of pro-business policies, all geared to helping businesses grow and succeed here,'' Stewart said.
Toray Plastics and Virginia officials have been discussing the deal for at least eight months, Greenhalgh said.
The company still is in the process of securing its environmental permit to build the plant, George said.
He said Warren County is working hard to bring jobs into the community. About five years ago Front Royal's largest employer closed down, killing about 750 jobs. Toray expects to employ 120 at the new plant by Jan. 1, 1998, he said.
Toray's presence also may translate into long-term growth for the region, George said.
``There is the opportunity for expansion at the site, and [Toray has] options on property in addition to the 90 acres,'' he said.
The Department of Economic Development offers worker training to every company that sets up shop in the state, through partnerships with local community colleges, Stewart said.
The Virginia plant's start-up date coincides with another recently announced Toray project. Also by April 1997, the firm will add a polyester film line at its North Kingstown, R.I., headquarters plant, a $100 million investment that will increase its capacity to 48 million pounds per year. In Japan, Toray produces 16.8 million pounds of PE foam annually, serving Japanese and European automotive markets.