Watco 2

Sand is loaded into a dump truck at Watco's Decatur River Port on Wednesday. The company plans a $2.69 million project that includes a conveyor system to offload sand from barges. [ERIC FLEISCHAUER/DECATUR DAILY]

Polyplex USA announced plans Wednesday to invest $90.6 million to expand production of specialized plastic film at its Decatur facility on Mallard Fox Drive Northwest and add 100 jobs when the project is complete.

The Polyplex project and two other projects presented Wednesday at a meeting of the city’s Industrial Development Board will mean a total of 125 new jobs and investments of nearly $97 million. The board approved tax abatements for each of the projects.

The other projects involve Watco Transloading LLC, which handles transfers of river shipments, and CSI Equipment Sales LLC, which plans a metal fabrication and manufacturing facility.

Polyplex USA President Amit Kalra said at the meeting that it has been “my dream to bring in a second manufacturing facility here.” According to Kalra, the project will solidify the company’s leadership position in the U.S. market and tap into the growing shift toward local supply in regional markets.

“We’re continuing to grow our operations in the U.S.,” Kalra said. He said close to $130 million has already been invested locally.

Polyplex, the parent company, was founded in India in 1984 and operates manufacturing and distribution facilities in India, Southeast Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The Polyplex USA project includes the construction of a new building and acquisition of machinery to manufacture plastic films and increase the production rate at its resin plant. Construction is expected to begin during the first half of the year with production to begin by the end of next year.

The project will add a second line of biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) film, which is used by customers in packaging, electrical and other industrial applications. When the expansion is complete, the Decatur facility will have the largest capacity BOPET film line in the world.

Some examples of the film’s uses, Kalra said, are food packaging, packaging for COVID-19 test kits and face shields.

Kalra explained that the plant uses chemicals to make resin which is used to create a thin plastic film.

Documents show the new Polyplex USA jobs will have an estimated average annual salary of $51,500, exclusive of benefits. Polyplex USA now has 179 employees with an average annual salary of $55,900, not including benefits.

Jeremy Nails, the CEO of the Morgan County Economic Development Association, said company officials looked at the site after last April’s severe storms, which left trees down across the site. Despite starting with that backdrop, the county EDA was able to present a competitive package and attract the expansion, Nails said.

The abatements will “help us offset some of our capital costs,” Kalra said.

The board approved tax abatements of about $274,100 a year for 10 years in state, city of Decatur and Morgan County non-educational property taxes and abatements of an estimated $973,875 in city of Decatur sales taxes and an estimated $1.29 million in state sales taxes during the capital investment period.

The project is expected to create new state, Morgan County, city of Hartselle and city of Decatur property school taxes of about $337,575 a year for 10 years and, of the new school taxes, Decatur City Schools will receive an estimated $253,200 a year.

Morgan County sales taxes created during the capital investment period would be $324,875, benefiting the Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County school systems.

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Watco facility

The board also approved tax abatements for other operations with plans to expand.

Watco Transloading LLC, which leases a facility on Red Hat Road in the Mallard-Fox Creek Industrial Park from the Decatur-Morgan County Port Authority, plans a $2.69 million project that includes installing a conveyor system to offload sand from barges and buying equipment to assist in removing, storing and loading sand onto trucks.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the (Decatur-Morgan County) Port Authority,” said Nails, who serves as the authority’s executive director. “We’re building $3 million in new warehouse space” at Mallard-Fox Creek Port to attract additional commodities.

The project will add five new employees within one year with an estimated average annual salary of $41,600, exclusive of benefits. Watco now has 14 employees with an average annual salary of $44,000, not including benefits.

Construction is expected to begin in March and be completed by Aug. 1.

Watco general manager Stan Bryant said the conveyor system allows material to be transferred from a barge to another barge or a truck.

The IDB approved abating about $26,250 over 10 years in state, city of Decatur and Morgan County non-educational property taxes, as well as $24,370 in city of Decatur sales taxes and an estimated $49,490 in state sales taxes during the capital investment period.

The project is expected to create $32,400 over 10 years in new Alabama, Morgan County, city of Decatur and city of Hartselle property school taxes. Documents show that $12,375 in Morgan County sales taxes created during the capital investment period will benefit the Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County school systems.

The amount of city of Decatur sales taxes created during the capital investment period is an estimated $8,130, which will benefit Decatur City Schools.

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CSI Equipment

In another development, CSI Equipment Sales LLC plans a project to allow it to operate a metal fabrication and manufacturing facility at 417 Ipsco Street N.W.

The $3.6 million project involves the purchase and renovation of an existing empty building by a related entity, CSI Property Management LLC, and acquisition of other equipment and related support facilities by CSI Equipment. CSI Equipment will occupy and lease the building.

Plans include 20 new employees within two years with an estimated average annual salary of $44,000, not including benefits. Construction is expected to begin March 15 and be completed by April 1, 2022.

The board approved an abatement for CSI Equipment Sales of about $42,000 over 10 years in state and Morgan County non-educational property taxes. The board also agreed to abate an estimated $16,500 in city of Decatur sales taxes and an estimated $34,500 in state sales taxes during the capital investment period.

The project is expected to create about $48,650 over 10 years in new state, Morgan County, city of Hartselle and city of Decatur property school taxes. An estimated $20,875 in Morgan County sales taxes created during the capital investment period would benefit the Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County school systems.

For CSI Property Management, the IDB approved abatements of about $55,000 over 10 years in state and Morgan County non-educational property taxes, and an estimated $3,000 in city of Decatur sales taxes and an estimated $6,000 in state sales taxes during the capital investment period.

The project is expected to create about $64,500 over 10 years in new state, Morgan County, city of Hartselle and city of Decatur property school taxes. The estimated amount of Morgan County sales taxes created during the capital investment period is $4,500, which will benefit the Decatur, Hartselle and Morgan County school systems.

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marian.accardi@decaturdaily.com or 256-340-2438. Twitter @DD_MAccardi.

(1) comment

Ben Dover

We'll see if it actually comes to that much.

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