Tubing extruder Zeus Inc. is spending $8.5 million to build a factory in Ireland, its first outside the United States, in a bid to expand its business in the European Union.
The 28,000-square-foot plant, in Letterkenny, Ireland, will start operating next year, supplying tubes for markets including medical, electronics and aerospace.
In a Sept. 23 announcement, the Orangeburg, S.C.-based firm also said it is trying to buy 2.9 acres adjacent to the plant for future expansion.
Company officials declined to disclose details. A news release from the Ireland Development Agency said the company will invest more than 7 million euros ($8.45 million) and create 150 jobs within five years.
John Worley, Zeus president and chief operating officer, attributed the expansion to a growing global economy and the need to be closer to customers - 16 of the world's 20 largest medical-device firms manufacture in Ireland.
Letterkenny has a large medical-technology industry, with more than 80 companies, and its workforce is good, he said.
Zeus had been shipping its products, made from fluoropolymers and other engineered plastics, to Europe. But the Irish plant will allow faster delivery and significantly reduce tariffs to all EU countries, said marketing director Karl Graffte. Tariffs and shipping sometimes add 40 percent to the cost of products.
The plant will not result in work shifting from any of the company's eight locations in the United States, he said.
``We are not transferring jobs or equipment overseas,'' Graffte said. ``This is pure growth.''
Company officials announced an expansion of the firm's Aiken, S.C., plant in July. The company, with 900 employees, claims to be one of the largest fluoropolymer extruders in the world.