Athens and Limestone officials finalize deal with plastics compa - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Athens and Limestone officials finalize deal with plastics company

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The company makes plastic products, mostly used for automotive parts. The company makes plastic products, mostly used for automotive parts.
LIMESTONE COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

The Athens City Council and the Limestone County Commission voted to approve an agreement with Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Friday morning. The company makes plastic products, mostly used for automotive parts.

Asahi Kasei will invest $30 million for the Athens plant. Combined, the city and the county will pay $1,278,576 of the infrastructure costs. The remaining $1,125,000 will be paid through grants. Officials said they are using the money from the land sale to Asahi Kasei. The Asahi Kasei Plastics North America Vice President, Prasad Puttangunta, said Athens was one of roughly a hundred potential sites for the company's second plant in the United States.

"One of the attractions is that the automotive growth in the area had been phenomenal, and we supply a lot of automotive companies," said Puttangunta. "So, that puts us in very close proximity to the automotive side, and puts us in very close proximity to some of our raw materials suppliers. Out of Florida, we have one supplier in Decatur, and we have several suppliers in Texas."

He added that the area's labor pool provides workers with knowledge about chemical and plastics. Limestone County Commission Chairman Stanley Menefee said the commission and the city council worked with company officials and Limestone County Economic Development Association President Tom Hill for months on the project.

"I personally love to create jobs," said Menefee. "I just love it. I think people are really happy when they have a job and can feed their families, take care of their families. That's what excites me."

Asahi Kasei officials said they hope to eventually employ 100 workers.

"We're hoping to break ground in the next couple of months on the site" said Puttangunta. "In about a year and a half, we expect the building to be fully operational with 35 to 40 workers, and beyond that, we have the ability to expand the building with more production lines to take us to the 50 employee mark, and then 75. So, within ten years we expect to maybe be at 100."

The plant will be the first business at the Elm Industrial Park off of Wilkinson Street.

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