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New jobs are coming to Laurens County - council holds a public hearing about an unnamed company - and Governor's New Initiative.
The County is experiencing jobs growth as an existing industry announced last Tuesday its intention to built its North American Headquarters here.
The company - Fibertex Nonwovens, Inc. - was identified by the State Commerce Department in an embargoed news release. The County Council took action March 23 on a fees ordinance. But a second company was not identified as the council conducted a public hearing about its fees ordinance.
There were no public comments about the unnamed company.
The Fibertex announcement means an investment of more than $49.5 million and 30 new jobs. The State is kicking in $100,000 “to assist with costs related to this project,” according to the news release.
The other company - Project Impact - plans to invest $20,5 million and create 60 new jobs. The council was told it will locate between Laurens and Clinton.
The two cities also have at least 3 subdivision projects in the works. Last Tuesday, Food Lion announced that it is hiring for its new store in Clinton, taking over the former Bi-Lo between Hwy 56, Jacobs Highway, and Hwy 72, South Broad Street; the store re-opens on April 21.
In the Fibertex formal announcement, Council Chairman Brown Patterson said,
“Laurens County continues to be a place where business thrives, especially international businesses such as Fibertex. We are excited about their continued growth in Laurens County and the opportunities they are creating for our citizens. We look forward to continuing our already great relationship with their fine company.”
The company is located at 100 Iso Parkway in Gray Court, northwest of Clinton.
The company makes spunlace products. Fibertex also acquired an 84-acre industrial plot adjacent to the company’s existing facilities, according to the formal announcement.
This is a high revenue project that “does not stress our workforce,” said Jonathan Coleman, executive director of the Laurens County Development Corporation. The Laurens County unemployment rate is just over 5%, tracking the overall state rate of joblessness. South Carolina unemployment has pretty much recovered from the double-digit figures early on in the year-long COVID-19 pandemic - pre-pandemic, Laurens County joblessness was between 2 and 3%.
Code-named Project Gray, the Fibertex expansion FILOT* received 3rd and final reading. Codenamed Project Impact, the unnamed industry’s FILOT reading was delayed.
Fibertex makes products for the wipes industry.
“Market trends are finding support in the added focus on health and hygiene, more emphasis on local production and on sustainability, which is to our benefit. With this new investment, we’ll be able to build an extremely strong position in the important North American market for, among other things, high-performance wipes for sanitizing and disinfection purposes in the healthcare/medical sector, sustainable personal care products, a range of industrial applications, as well as in the automotive industry and the construction sector,” said Fibertex Nonwovens, Inc. CEO Jorgen Bech Madsen.
*FILOT is the fee-in-lieu-of-taxes that industries pay instead of property taxes, provided for by state law.
BUSINESS: Gov. Henry McMaster Announces New Economic Development Initiative to Expand Recruitment of Pharmaceutical Companies, Shore Up Emergency Supply Chains
COLUMBIA – Governor Henry McMaster has issued Executive Order 2021-17, which directs the Department of Commerce to enhance recruitment efforts of pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers in South Carolina and directs state agencies to focus procurement efforts of medicines, medical devices, and medical supplies on those made in South Carolina.
The new initiative will safeguard South Carolina from supply chain disruptions experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic by working to manufacture even more essential, life-saving products in South Carolina, an announcement from the Governor’s Office said.
“This last year has made it very clear that relying on China for life-saving medical supplies is a risk we can no longer afford, and South Carolina can lead the way when it comes to bringing the manufacturing of those products back home to the United States," McMaster said.
“By successfully recruiting pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing companies to invest and locate here, we will bring good, high-paying jobs for our people and reliable access to the critical supplies we may need in an emergency.”
The Department of Commerce will work directly with SCBIO on the new initiative. SC BIO is a statewide, not-for-profit life sciences and economic development organization formed to promote and expand South Carolina’s life sciences industry.
“As a major driver and diversification of South Carolina’s growing economy, the surging impact, reach and significance of the multi-billion dollar life sciences industry in our state certainly warrants the strategic emphasis being placed on it by Governor McMaster,” noted SCBIO President and CEO Sam Konduros. “We’re honored by the Governor‘s profound support, and this bold Executive Order further demonstrates his ongoing commitment to empower our statewide mission to build, advance and grow the life sciences and pharmaceutical industry in the Palmetto State like never before.”
To further investment and job creation from businesses in the pharmaceutical industry, the governor’s Order directs the South Carolina Department of Commerce to:
-- Prioritize and enhance ongoing economic development and recruitment efforts by identifying, encouraging, and incentivizing pharmaceutical and medical supply manufacturers, both international and domestic, to locate research, development, and production facilities within the State of South Carolina.
-- Develop and execute international and domestic marketing campaigns that promote the State of South Carolina as a global leader in this Sector.
Facilitate, assist, and incentivize growth, expansion, investment, and employment opportunities at existing businesses and industries in the Sector located within the State of South Carolina.
-- Identify and advocate for statutory or regulatory changes or enhancements to the state’s existing economic development mechanisms for new business and industry investment or expansion in the Sector.
The Order also directs the Department of Commerce to review its existing operations and organizational structure to determine whether any changes would assist with the recruitment of pharmaceutical companies and to recommend any needed modifications to the General Assembly, if statutory authority is required to make them.
To further ensure supply chain security, the governor’s Order calls upon state agencies to prioritize South Carolina-made products in the procurement of medicines, medical devices, and medical supplies.
The move will benefit existing businesses and will give Commerce another resource to attract additional life science investment into South Carolina, the Governor’s Office said.