Disposable food-service products maker Darnel Inc., a unit of Colombia's Ajover SA, will open its first stateside production facility, in Monroe, N.C., by the second quarter of 2007.
The company purchased a 249,000-square-foot facility on 34 acres in Monroe, according to a local development group, the Union County Partnership for Progress. Darnel will invest a total of $20 million during the next three years, including $14.8 million in equipment including sheet extrusion and thermoforming capacity. It will invest just over $1 million in building renovations.
The acreage ``gives them lots of room for expansion,'' said Maurice Ewing, president of the development group, in an Oct. 19 telephone interview. ``They could double the size of that building. Plastics is one of our core industries for Union County.''
Several factors went into the company choosing the site, officials said, including distribution access. Darnel also considered sites in Rock Hill, S.C., and Blacksburg, S.C.
Charley Odle will be operations director and Walt Harfmann general manager. Odle has 26 years of experience in the packaging industry; Harfmann has 24.
Odle said the site will have capacity in extrusion and thermoforming. The facility will start with 40 workers.
Darnel is a subsidiary of diversified consumer products firm Ajover of Cartagena, Colombia. The facility will be Ajover's first U.S. production site and will serve as Darnel's U.S. headquarters. Ajover is involved in making several product lines, including packaging, planters, construction materials like roofing, and certain resins, according to its Web site.
Ajover operates three plants in Colombia and one each in Istanbul, Turkey; Jordan Valley, Israel; and Pamplona, Spain.
Darnel received funding from several sources, including industrial revenue bonds and the One North Carolina Fund grant, through which it received $100,000. The Monroe City Council approved a five-year economic development grant for $360,000 and the county provided $164,000.