Shawnee, Okla.-based Georg Fischer Central Plastics is building a 150,000-square-foot manufacturing facility for its metal division so its plastics business can grow at the current site.
The $30 million investment is expected to create up to 300 jobs at GF Central Plastics, which produces metal and polyethylene pipe and fittings used mostly in the gas and municipal water utilities markets.
"We simply don't have enough room to expand. I don't have any more offices. We don't have any more room to put equipment. That's why we're here today. We ended up buying these 40 acres," Bryan Lucas, president and managing director of GF Central Plastics, said at a Nov. 14 ground-breaking event for the second Shawnee site.
GF Central Plastics, a part of GF Piping Systems, which is owned by Georg Fischer Ltd., has been operating out of 550,000-square-foot plant that employs 550 people.
GF bought 40 acres north of a shopping mall to relocate its gas meter fabrication department from a not-for-profit economic development group called Shawnee Forward. After the meter department moves, it will free space for growth in the plastics manufacturing side of the business.
GF Central is North America's largest single-source manufacturer of metal and polyethylene pipe joining products in the gas and municipal water utility industry, according to a news release from the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.
The company's decision to invest in Shawnee reflects the hard work and dedication of employees, Lucas said.
"Their strong performance has been a critical asset for our company, and we're proud to give them added room to grow," he added.
The new facility also will house offices, a warehouse, and shipping and receiving services. The contractors will follow sustainable construction practices with plans to meet silver certification for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.
In other related news, GF's acquisition of Finland's Uponor Oyj closed Nov. 13, setting the combined companies on course to become a global leader in sustainable water and flow solutions, according to another news release.
GF had offered a bid of 2.1 billion euro ($2.26 billion) to acquire Uponor as Brussels-based Aliaxis SA pursued it.
The release says a new division called GF Uponor is being created to focus on building technology, such as heating and cooling, while the acquired company's infrastructure and utility business will move to GF Piping Systems.
Michael Rauterkus, who had been president and CEO of Uponor Corp., will become a member of GF's executive committee as president of the GF Uponor division.
Georg Fischer Piping Systems has estimated North American plastic pipe extrusion sales of $250 million, making it the 25th largest pipe, profile and tubing extruder, according to Plastics News data. The Irvine, Calif.-based unit of Georg Fischer Ltd. currently has eight North American factories.
Uponor Inc., the Apple Valley, Minn.-based unit of Uponor Oyj, has estimated North American pipe sales of $490 million, according to PN data. It has two North American plants.