Essel Propack Ltd., which bills itself as the world's largest maker of laminated and plastic tubes, said July 2 that it plans to open its first U.S. manufacturing plant.
The $21 million plant in Danville, Va., will supply all of Procter & Gamble Co.'s tubes in North America, including its Crest-brand toothpaste. The two companies signed a five-year deal in April.
Officials with Essel Propack, based in Mumbai, India, could not be reached. The publicly traded company claims 25 percent of the global market for laminated tubes, and has manufacturing operations in 10 countries.
The company plans to be operating by November in an already-constructed, 102,000-square-foot building in Danville, said Ron Bunch, Danville's director of economic development. The factory will employ 81.
When the company announced the P&G contract in April, it said it was looking at North Carolina for its factory because it will supply P&G operations in Greensboro, N.C., which is about 45 miles south of Danville. But Bunch said Danville touts some recent educational investments, including facilities that provide advanced manufacturing training and polymer research and product development. Danville also was able to move quickly because all utilities and permits are under the control of the city government, he said. The city built Essel's building.
Essel is the first new manufacturer to locate in Danville since 1996, state officials said. The area's economy has been hard hit by downturns in the furniture and textile industries, state officials said.
Manuel Diez, manager of Essel Propack America LLC, said in a statement put out by Virginia economic development officials that his firm chose Danville because it offered ``adequate industrial infrastructure, a skilled work force, a quality education system to train our employees, excellent transportation access, and significant cost benefits.''
Essel also will receive a $200,000 grant from the state Governor's Opportunity Fund and $200,000 from the Tobacco Region Opportunity Fund, which comes from the national tobacco settlement.
The company will receive additional tax breaks because it is locating in an enterprise zone, and Danville's Industrial Development Authority will provide $1.6 million in improvements.
Essel became the world's largest laminated tubing supplier in 2000, when it bought the tubing operations of Propack AG. Before that, the company had embarked on an aggressive international expansion, setting up operations in Egypt in 1993, China in 1997, Germany in 1998 and Nepal in 1999.
Essel has annual sales of about $125 million.