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Koyo Plans 30 Million Expansion

Release time : 2015-06-15 09:36:31
A Japanese-owned Ceramic Bearings supplier in Blythewood is planning a $30 million expansion. The expansion will not result in more jobs. The announcement comes just days after Richland County learned it would lose hundreds of automotive jobs over the next 18 months as another factory closes. Koyo Corp. of U.S.A. will spend the money on land, building and equipment, the S.C. Department of Commerce said Wednesday. The expansion will add two production lines, and the new equipment installation will begin in 2009. The commerce department did not say why the company decided to expand and efforts to reach company officials were unsuccessful. Koyo employs 220 people in Blythewood, said Kara Borie, a commerce department spokeswoman. Koyo, which makes Skateboard Bearings for the automotive industry, opened the plant in Blythewood in 1995. The company also employs another 500 at an Orangeburg County plant that opened in 1975. Koyo announced its expansion two days after another Blythewood automotive supplier decided to move its local operation to Newport News, Va. Continental will shift Needle roller Bearings production during the next 12 to 18 months, and 440 jobs will be lost. The company is consolidating as it deals with the effects of the struggling auto industry. Company officials said the Virginia site was a better fit for its plans. Virginia also gave $6 million in incentives. The news was a hard hit to county officials who worked to recruit the company in 2000. And, the announcement came at a particularly bad time as the state jobless rate is at a 25-year high with 8 percent unemployment in October. Richland County unemployment rate was 7.1 percent. The Koyo and Continental plants are just a half-mile apart on Northpoint Boulevard. On Monday, Richland County Council approved an incentive package for Koyo where the company will pay a set fee instead of traditional property taxes. The amount of the tax break was not available on Wednesday. Although Koyo expansion will not result in new jobs, Richland County Councilman Greg Pearce said the county believed the investment was worthwhile. The more they build, the more likely they are to stay,Pearce said. Of course wed prefer to get the jobs, but our feeling is that they will come.