Audia International will spend more than $50 million to build a major plastic materials plant in Georgia.
Company representative Todd Gummersbach said in a May 20 news release that Washington, Pa.-based Audia looked in six states before choosing Georgia's Walker County. He added that Audia “is very impressed with the support and co-operation given by Walker County as we have searched for the right location.”
In a May 22 phone interview, Gummersbach declined to provide details of the project, but a local media report said that the new plant will cover 240,000 square feet on a 25-acre lot that's being given to Audia by Walker County government.
The site is in Noble, an unincorporated community in Walker County that's about 30 miles south of Chattanooga, Tenn. The county previously had paid $4.2 million for a 500-acre parcel that includes the land being given to Audia, said Larry Brooks, executive director of the Walker County Development Authority.
The Audia news release did not specify which products would be made there, but said that the plant “will support” the three U.S.-based materials firms owned by Audia - Washington Penn Plastic Co., a major polypropylene compounder also based in Washington; Uniform Color Co., a color concentrates maker in Holland, Mich.; and Southern Polymer Inc., a resin distributor in Atlanta.
The plant is set to open in the second half of 2015. Construction is expected to start later this year. Gummersbach said the plant is needed because of growth that Audia has seen in all of its markets, including automotive, appliance, construction, packaging and consumer.
Brooks said Audia is expected to receive a 10-year tax abatement from the county as well, but the value of that abatement hasn't been determined. “We're really excited about (the new plant) and we're elated that Audia chose Walker County,” he added in a May 22 phone interview.
Audia employs more than 1,000 at 10 manufacturing sites worldwide. Earlier this year, the firm bought a liquid masterbatch plant in France from BASF SE. Audia officials said at the time that they would run that plant as part of Uniform Color.