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Samsung to invest $380M, launch new plant in Newberry

Chuck Crumbo
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Samsung Electronics plans to invest $380 million and launch a home appliance manufacturing operation in Newberry County’s former Caterpillar plant.

The facility, which Samsung expects to have up and running early next year, will employ 954 workers by 2020, according to a company news release today.

A program celebrating the Samsung announcement will be at 3 p.m. today at Memorial Park, next to the Opera House in downtown Newberry.

Samsung announced it would be moving into a facility in Newberry County. (Photo/Provided)

Samsung will be moving into a 453,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 284 Mawsons Way, which Caterpillar vacated in January. Caterpillar, a Joliet, Ill.-based manufacturer of heavy construction equipment like dump trucks and earthmovers, announced in April 2016 that it was closing the Newberry electric power generating set packaging facility and eliminating 352 jobs.

Samsung, a South Korea-based manufacturing conglomerate with U.S. headquarters in Ridgefield, N.J., said the Newberry plant is the latest in a series of investments expanding the company’s U.S. holdings and operations.

“We aspire to be the global leader in premium home appliances,” said Samsung Electronics CEO B.K. Yoon said in a statement. “This new investment will enable Samsung to increase the speed with which we can deliver premium home appliances that reflect the regional preferences of our fastest growing and most important consumer market.”

Samsung, which last year reported $173.4 billion in sales, said it began contemplating an expansion of its U.S. production base about three years ago and started talking to South Carolina officials in the fall of 2016. The company also was being courted by Alabama, according to media reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung looked at a vacant manufacturing facility in Blythewood and eventually settled on the Newberry location, which was built in 2006. The Cat plant was listed for sale at $17.65 million on the Newberry County Economic Development website.

Samsung settled on the Palmetto State because of its highly skilled workforce, robust supply chain and transportation infrastructure and commitment to public-private partnerships, the company release said.

“The fact that one of the world’s largest and most respected technology companies is choosing to invest in South Carolina speaks volumes about the innovation and excellence our talented workforce is capable of," Gov. Henry McMaster said in a statement. “I’m thrilled to strengthen our state’s partnership with Samsung and look forward to working with them to get this new facility up and running, and producing high-quality, made-in-South Carolina products.”

Added U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, “Samsung’s investment is great news for South Carolina and the United States, and it is a direct reflection of the fact that America is becoming an even stronger destination for global businesses looking to grow.”

When fully operational, the plant will employ workers across a broad range of advanced manufacturing roles, including crafters, operators, engineers and other technical and nontechnical positions. The plant also will support advanced research and development operations.

The facility will produce premium home appliances, including washing machines, starting early next year, the release said. 

Newberry marks Samsung’s second investment in South Carolina. The company operates a call center in Greenville that supports 800 full-time and contracted jobs.

“For nearly 40 years, Samsung has steadily expanded our operations in the United States – creating thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in cutting edge manufacturing facilities, research and development,” said Tim Baxter, president and CEO of Samsung Electronics America. “With this investment, Samsung is reaffirming its commitment to expanding its U.S. operations and deepening our connection to the American consumers, engineers and innovators who are driving global trends in consumer electronics.”

For Newberry County officials, the announcement not only means nearly 1,000 new jobs for the area, it also reaffirms the region’s manufacturing heritage.

“It’s incredibly exciting that a company of the size and caliber of Samsung would choose our community for such a large and important manufacturing project,” said Henry Livingston III, chairman of Newberry County Council. “We have a long manufacturing history here in Newberry County, and this writes a whole new chapter.”

Reach Chuck Crumbo at 803-726-7542.

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