(Tire Business report)
Richburg, South Carolina – Giti Tire Group, the predominantly Chinese tire maker based in Singapore, has selected a site in Chester County, South Carolina, for its first US tire plant.
The $560 million (€412.6m) project will, according to Giti, create 1,700 jobs over 10 years.
Giti Executive Chairman Enki Tan disclosed the company’s plans this morning (16 June) at a ceremony in Chester, accompanied by South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, secretary of commerce Bobby Hitt, Singapore ambassador Ashok Kumar Mipuir and other officials.
The 1.8 million-sq.-ft. (550,000-sq-metre) plant and distribution centre will be designed with a first-phase annual capacity of five million tires, Tan said, for both replacement and OE customers.
The factory will be engineered to allow for additional capacity “in response to future market demand and conditions,” said Tom McNamara, executive vice president of sales and marketing, Giti Tire (USA) Ltd., Giti Group’s Rancho Cucamonga, California-based sales and marketing subsidiary.
“Existing business and strong demand for Giti Tire’s passenger and light truck tires in North America has made this significant investment in South Carolina possible,” Tan said.
Giti generated about 16 percent of its $2.7 billion in fiscal 2012 sales – $430 million – from business in North America, where it goes to market under the GT Radial, Primewell, Dextero, and Runway brands.
Chester County is largely rural with about 33,000 residents in South Carolina’s Piedmont area about 50 miles southwest of Charlotte, North Carolina. A plant in Chester County would have direct access to Interstate 77 and has close proximity to airports and a major metropolitan area.
Giti’s project is the fourth greenfield tire plant to be located in South Carolina in the past four years, representing more than $3 billion in investment, according to Tire Business’ archives. In addition, Bridgestone Corp. and Michelin North America Inc. have announced several hundred million dollars more in expansions of existing factories in the state.
South Carolina officials did not disclose the amount of state and/or local economic assistance being offered, but Governor Haley’s office said readySC – division of the South Carolina Technical College System – will assist with recruiting and training the firm’s initial workforce.
Based on its estimated $2.8 billion to $3 billion in fiscal 2013 annual sales, Giti Tire Group is the 13th or 14th largest tire maker worldwide, according to Tire Business’ annual analysis of the global industry.
It has eight plants in China – five tire production and three materials support plants – and is a minority owner of P.T. Gajah Tunggal Tbk. of Indonesia, which gives it access to production from that firm’s tire manufacturing complex near Jakarta.
Gajah Tunngal in its own right reports more than $1 billion in annual revenue, a portion of which it derives from sales to Group Michelin, which holds a 10-percent ownership share in the Indonesian company.