CLINTON, MISSISSIPPI -- Continental is investing more than $1.4 billion in a new truck tire manufacturing plant. The official groundbreaking ceremony took place on Nov. 3. The facility is located in Hinds County off Interstate 20, two miles from Clinton and 20 miles from the state capital of Jackson. It will employ about 2,500 people by the time it reaches full capacity in the next decade.
Continental expects to begin actual construction of the plant in 2018, following 18 months of clearing and preparation work at the 1,000-acre site.
"Building this new facility in Mississippi is a critical part of our growth strategy for Continental Tire, known as Vision 2025," said Nikolai Setzer, member of Continental’s Executive Board and head of Continental’s global tire business worldwide. "This is the first new plant, globally, for the truck tire business in more than ten years. We are convinced that the State of Mississippi provides the best options for Continental to grow our tire business."
Setzer said Continental looked at many prospective sites, including Mexico, before settling on Clinton.
"We looked at the entire picture, including where our customers are and how we get raw material into the plant," he said. "We looked at economic and political stability, currency exchange rates, the availability of a skilled labor force, sources of training and even the size of the available land plots."
Continental said growth in its commercial vehicle tire business has consistently exceeded the market over the last five years and the company continues to see customer demand for its products -- both new truck and bus tires as well as retreads, which are growing beyond the company’s existing capacity.
“This plant is a significant step in addressing our commitment to grow our commercial vehicle tire business in North America,” said Paul Williams, executive vice president, commercial vehicle tire, the Americas. “We thank the State of Mississippi, Hinds County and the City of Clinton, the Mississippi Development Authority, and Governor Phil Bryant for his leadership in bringing us to the Jackson area, and we look forward to a strong business relationship for years to come.”
The Continental deal was the largest economic development package to ever go through the Mississippi legislature.
“The groundbreaking of Continental’s new tire manufacturing plant in Central Mississippi marks a significant milestone in the development of the company’s newest state-of-the-art facility," Governor Bryant said. "I congratulate everyone involved with this monumental project and look forward to the plant’s progress.”
Following two years of consultation, Gov. Bryant (R) said the deal was finalized in a single day.
"We drafted the bill [on the economic incentive package], introduced it, it went through the Senate, it went through the House, and then it came to my desk," Bryant said at a reception the evening before the groundbreaking ceremony. "I had it signed by 1 o'clock that afternoon."
Published reports say the deal included approximately $600 million in state and local incentives as well as tax breaks from Hinds County and inventory and franchise tax breaks.
Not including the planned investment in Mississippi, Continental has invested nearly $2.5 billion in the past decade in manufacturing, technology, facilities and product development to grow its tire business in the Americas. Part of this investment has been the expansion of Continental’s tire plant in Mt. Vernon, Ill. and the new Sumter, S.C. facility.
The company’s parent company, Continental AG, headquartered in Hannover, Germany, had 2015 profits of approximately $3 billion on revenues of $43.5 billion.