Michelin finishes one project, looks to the next

By Ashley Boncimino
ashleyb@scbiznews.com
Published Dec. 12, 2013

After celebrating the completion of its newest facility in Anderson, tire-maker Michelin North America is already onto its next move, which could involve projects in Greenville County as early as 2014, said Chairman and President Pete Selleck.

Michelin North America Chairman and President Pete Selleck (center) speaks with former U.S. Education Secretary and S.C. Gov. Richard Riley (left) and former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins. (Photo by Ashley Boncimino)

Michelin North America Chairman and President Pete Selleck (center) speaks with former U.S. Education Secretary and S.C. Gov. Richard Riley (left) and former U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins. (Photo by Ashley Boncimino)

“We met with the County Council just recently,” said Selleck, commenting how Greenville County Council approved tax incentives for further Michelin expansion last December. If the manufacturer announces an expansion, Michelin will receive a 4% assessment ratio as part of a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement, a significant reduction from the 10.5% ratio usually put on manufacturers.

“They are projects related to redevelopment on our current sites, and also we have a few sites that we just can’t talk about,” said Selleck, who added expansion announcements could come as early as 2014. “We are growing in Greenville County.”

Selleck also said Michelin was working on forming a coalition of tire-makers in response to competitors Continental Tire and Bridgestone Americas expanding in the market. Continental Tire launched production at its Sumter plant in November. Bridgestone expanded in Aiken County in April.

The competitors haven’t affected Michelin business so far, because they’re located in different parts of the state, Selleck said.

“First of all, it validates our decision to be here. They looked around, and they saw our success and said, ‘If Michelin’s successful, there’s probably something behind that,’ ” said Selleck.

The coalition will enable tire-makers to “work in areas of common interest, particularly as it relates to the infrastructure, the highway systems and ports. We all have a common problem,” said Selleck.

S.C. State Ports Authority CEO and President Jim Newsome was among the state officials and business leaders that attended Michelin’s event in Anderson County Thursday, along with former S.C. Gov. Richard Riley and current Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell.

The new Anderson facility, called US10, is part of the $750 million investment Michelin announced in April 2012 to build the 800,000-square-foot facility and expand the company’s Lexington facility. Around 200 business leaders, state officials and employees attended the event at the facility, which will produce the world’s largest tires for more than 1,300 mining operations around the world. Commercial production will begin in January and tires will be available for sale mid-2014.

The facility was completed in 17 months, making it the fastest greenfield construction in Michelin’s history. It is Michelin’s 19th plant in North America, ninth in the state of South Carolina and third in Anderson County.

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