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Tire maker seeking developer for plant in Georgia

By Paul Welitzkin in New York ( China Daily USA )

Updated: 2017-09-22

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Sentury Tire company, which is planning a $530 million plant in LaGrange, Georgia, is seeking a developer/contractor to build the facility and then lease it back to the Chinese tire company for 25 years.

Rami Helminen, CEO of Sentury Tire North America, said the company is seeking a developer for the building so it can spend its capital on equipping the plant to make about 30,000 tires a day.

"We'd rather focus our own assets to the machinery and production equipment that is strategically the most important asset to us. Real estate lease is a good very long-term financing option," he said in an email on Wednesday. "We expect production to begin in the second half of 2019," he added.

Todd Torok, managing director at JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle) which is helping Sentury find someone to build the plant, said seeking a developer for the plant "is quite common with a specialized manufacturing building like this".

He said Chinese companies with US operations will be considered. "JLL is marketing this globally so we are interested in participants from Asia, the US or anywhere in North America," Torok said.

About a year ago Sentury, a unit of Qingdao Sentury Tire Co Ltd which is in Qingdao in Shandong province, said it would build the 1.7 million-square-foot building on a 430-acre site that is expected to employ about 1,000. Site preparation for the plant is scheduled to begin early next year in LaGrange, about 70 miles southwest of Atlanta.

Construction activity is strong across most of the US as the economy continues in an expansion mode, and Torok said this will not affect interest in the Sentury project.

"It actually helps," he said. "Numerous participants will want to take on this project because of its size."