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Michelin to build new tyre plant

Published:Wednesday | April 11, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Michelin announced plans Tuesday to break ground on a new plant in Anderson County that could create 500 jobs making giant tyres for use on heavy equipment in mines, quarries and construction sites.

The company plans to spend US$750 million on the new plant and expanding a plant in Lexington that already makes the tyres. Demand for Earthmover tyres has increased more than 20 per cent since 2009, Michelin North America Chairman Pete Selleck said.

"Nearly every Earthmover tyre is sold before it is produced," Selleck said.

More than a third of Michelin's 22,000 North American employees work in South Carolina. The French tyre maker built its first American plant in South Carolina in 1973, and the Anderson County plant will be its ninth facility in the state.

"It's a tribute to the productivity of our employees and the pro-business environment in South Carolina that the company is expanding its Earthmover capacity in the state where we first began manufacturing in the United States," Selleck said.

The new plant will be located in Starr, next to an existing Michelin rubber processing plant. Michelin hopes to have it running at full capacity by 2015.

The state offered the company US$9.1 million in grants for infrastructure improvements at the site, said Amy Love, spokeswoman for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

South Carolina will produce more tyres than any other state in the nation in 2013, Selleck said.