REGIONAL: Plastic manufacturer to establish first North American operation in Gaston County

Polykemi AB, a Swedish manufacturer of plastic compounds, will create 22 new jobs in Gaston County, Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday. The company will invest $11.8 million to locate its first U.S. production facility in the Gastonia Technology Park.

“We are pleased to welcome another global manufacturer that has selected North Carolina for their North American operations,” said Cooper. “Polykemi’s decision emphasizes our state’s world-class talent and affirms the strength of our economy in the global market.”

Polykemi AB, part of the Polykemi Group, has been providing custom plastic compounds for the automotive, furniture and household industries for more than 50 years. The plastic compounds are formulated into granules to be melted and injection molded for automotive components, household interiors and more. Polykemi is a third-generation family-owned company with sales offices worldwide and factories in Sweden and China, including a recycling operation and innovative packaging company. The new Gastonia manufacturing plant will be the company’s first North American operation and represents Polykemi’s single largest investment to date.

“Since creating our subsidiary Polykemi Inc. in 2012 our aim has been to establish a production site in the US and we are very happy to announce that this project is now becoming a reality,” said Johan Hugoson, CEO of Polykemi Inc. “Being present with our own production will enable us to get closer to our customers and to explore the many opportunities we see in the US market.”

“When international companies choose to expand, they are often attracted to our strong manufacturing workforce,” said Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders. “In addition to our talent, growing companies like Polykemi appreciate North Carolina’s robust infrastructure, market access, and affordability to increase their global success.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce led a team of partners in supporting Polykemi’s decision to establish a manufacturing plant in North Carolina. New positions include operations, maintenance, finance and managerial personnel. The average annual salary for all new positions is $59,132, creating a potential payroll impact of more than $1.3 million per year. Gaston County’s overall average annual wage is $42,018.

A performance-based grant of $50,000 from the One North Carolina Fund will help with Polykemi’s expansion to North Carolina. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance to local governments to help attract economic investment and to create jobs. Companies receive no money upfront and must meet job creation and capital investment targets to qualify for payment. All One NC grants require a matching grant from local governments and any award is contingent upon that condition being met.

“We are thrilled to welcome another international company to Gaston County,” said N.C. Rep. John Torbett. “Polykemi’s new addition to our business community is just the beginning of a strong partnership to grow our global reputation as a great place to do business. We welcome them to their new home.”

“Polykemi’s investment is a win for everyone,” said N.C. Sen. Kathy Harrington. “With a strong, capable workforce and great infrastructure, the people of Gastonia are ready to support the company for many years to come.”

Joining the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina were key partners in the project that included the North Carolina General Assembly, the North Carolina Community College System, Gaston College, Gaston County, Gaston County Economic Development Commission, City of Gastonia, Two Rivers Utilities, and Charlotte Regional Business Alliance.