Deerfield Urethane Inc. said it expects to break ground in March on a multimillion-dollar, 100,000-square-foot plant in Whately, Mass. The Bayer Corp. subsidiary - which extrudes thermoplastic urethane film used in conveyor belts, surgical gloves, coated fabrics, and in the bladders of official National Football League footballs - currently operates two 40,000-square-foot plants in South Deerfield, Mass. Those plants eventually will be consolidated into the new facility, according to Maurice H. Courtney, Deerfield president and chief executive officer.
Annual sales increases of about 15 percent for the past three years prompted the expansion plan, the company said. Deerfield also has boosted employment to 58 from 38 during the same period.
The firm expects to employ 120-130 within the next 10 years, Courtney said.
Deerfield's long-term plans also include eventually expanding the new plant to 160,000 square feet.
Economic incentives from the state - including a 5 percent investment credit against Deer-field's income taxes - played an important role in keeping the company in the same general location, Courtney said in a recent telephone interview.
``We are very glad that we are able to proceed with this project,'' he said.
Some overseas projects coming to fruition this year will bolster Deerfield's exports, which are about 10 percent of its sales, Courtney said.
The company also will release some new products in the next few months that will boost North American business, he said.
Deerfield was founded in 1978, and Bayer AG of Germany bought the firm in 1984. Bayer added it to the new Polymers Division of its Pittsburgh-based unit, Miles Inc., in 1992. Miles changed its name to Bayer Corp. last year.