Belgium-based flooring company Beaulieu International Group will build a manufacturing plant in Cartersville, Ga., giving the business its first U.S. headquarters in a state where vinyl tile, rugs and carpeting are part of a rebounding economy.
BIG plans to invest $200 million at a 120-acre site it is buying in Bartow County and hire 350 workers in the next five years.
The plant is expected to be operating by the end of 2015. In its first phase of business, BIG will design and produce 47 million square yards of cushion vinyl for commercial and residential uses.
“We are experiencing growth across the globe for finished floor covering,” BIG CEO Geert Roelens said in a news release. “Our new plant in Cartersville will significantly increase our production and enable us to better supply the U.S. market.”
BIG reported annual sales of 1.5 billion euros ($2 billion) for 2013.
BIG received real estate and property tax breaks for the project. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal had visited Belgium to promote Georgia and meet corporate officials involved with the deal, which was put on a fast track with final documents approved July 14.
“Not only does this project have huge implications for the surrounding region, but the company's success in Georgia will attract other suppliers to the area,” the governor said in a news release.
Bartow County is home to 32 other international businesses. BIG employs 3,500 workers at 26 plants and nine sales offices in 13 countries.
The company has three business units: flooring solutions, which makes vinyl, luxury vinyl tile, wood, carpet and needle felt products; granules, which produces polypropylene granules for various applications; and engineered products, which works on technical textiles and sheets, fibers and yarns.
Georgia's workforce is skilled in floor manufacturing. More than 72 percent of the nation's carpet and rug mill factory jobs are located in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Economic Development.
However, vinyl flooring is gaining popularity, particularly luxury vinyl plank and tile (LVT), which replicates the look of hardwood planks, mosaic tile and stone.
Earlier this year, IVC Group started running its vinyl sheet plant in Dalton, Ga., around the clock ahead of plans to construct an $80 million LVT facility expected to open in early 2015. And Shaw Industries Group announced plans to get out of the area rug business and retool its plant in Ringgold, Ga., to make vinyl floors in early 2015. In addition, Madison Mills Inc. is doubling the size of its LVT facility in Madison, Ga.