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Michelin considering new plant in South Carolina

Michelin North America is searching for the right location for its so-called “Project Cougar,” a tire plant valued at some $550 million. One possible site is in Anderson County, South Carolina, where Michelin already operates a rubber mixing and semi-finished goods plant in Shady Springs, SC.

According to the Anderson Independent Mail, Michelin North America is seeking a land/incentives deal with plans to invest a purported $550 million. According to the newspaper, “Interim county administrator Rusty Burns confirmed Monday night (Feb. 6) that Michelin is the company that officials have been calling ‘Project Cougar’ during public meetings where incentives were discussed.

The newspaper said the county council held the second of three required votes on an incentive package on Feb. 6, and a public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 21.

“‘This is still very much a competition,’ Burns said. ‘We are competing with others in South Carolina and on other shores,’” the newspaper reported.

On Jan. 17, the Anderson County Council voted unanimously for a “conditional incentives agreement” it planned to take to the tiremaker. The deal reportedly “says larger incentives are available if the company completes what is considered an ‘enhanced investment project’ that creates a minimum of 125 jobs and includes a minimum investment of $150 million,” the Independent Mail reported. “Incentives for the company will be even larger, according to the agreement, if the business creates at least 300 jobs and invests a little more than $500 million in Anderson County.”

Based on more recent tire plant projects announced for the state – Continental Tire the Americas and Bridgestone Americas both committed to huge investments in the state last year – $550 million would not appear to be enough for more than one facility. But the newspaper noted that “Economic development director Burriss Nelson said during the county council’s January meeting that the proposed project amounts to a minimum investment of $550 million. He said that, over time, the company’s plan could grow into a larger project that would be in the ‘$600 million to $1 billion’ range.”

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