Coca-Cola Co. blow molder Southeastern Container Inc. will open a new plant in Kings Mountain, N.C., shifting a bulk of its bottle-making work from its headquarters facility.
The company, based in Enka, N.C., will move into a 301,400-square-foot site in Kings Mountain by January, said Scott Darnell, senior vice president of economic development with Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce in Shelby, N.C. The PET blow molder will invest $26 million in new injection stretch blow molding equipment, he said.
The facility is Southeastern's ninth, all in the eastern half of the United States, General Manager Bruce Sampson said in a news release.
The company currently blow molds bottles for Coke at its Enka headquarters. The Enka facility will continue primarily as an injection molding operation, the company said.
The Kings Mountain plant was built as a speculative building in a business park that Johnson Development Associates of Spartanburg, S.C., had completed in 2001, just before the economy soured, Darnell said. The building has been vacant, he said.
The bottle maker had been seeking a larger facility in the Southeast, Darnell said. The company plans to start with about 40 employees but will ramp up during the next 18 months to as many as 100 people, he added.
Southeastern Container is owned by a consortium of Coca-Cola bottling franchises in the eastern United States. According to news reports, the privately held company supplies as much as 60 percent of Coke's soft drink bottles in the United States.
The company will receive a 50 percent tax abatement from both the city and county over the next five years, Darnell said. The total tax package could save Southeastern Container as much as $785,000, he added.
The bottling company joined a growing list of injection molders, but few other blow molders, in that region of North Carolina near the Charlotte hub, Darnell said. Plastic housewares injection molder Sterilite Corp. considered the area for its new plant before choosing a Clinton, S.C., site earlier this year, he said.