News Column

Pet Food Maker to Invest $12.5 Million in Orangeburg

Dec 18, 2012

Lee Hendren

A $12.5 million investment over the next three years will allow Mars Petcare US to produce more Pedigree and Whiskas pet food at its Orangeburg facility.

"We have been a corporate citizen since 1995 ... and we're excited to continue to be rooted in Orangeburg County," site Manager Eudreon Curry told Orangeburg County Council on Monday.

Mars Petcare US operates a facility in the Orangeburg County Industrial Park off Rowesville Road, near the airport. When it opened as a Doane Pet Care facility in 1995, it employed 30. Today, Curry said, the facility has "90-plus associates" but no new jobs are being created by the expansion.

Curry said the company will install more equipment and purchase 3.75 acres adjacent to its facility to expand its drop lot, where trailers are loaded.

Economic development officials lauded the company's announcement.

"Mars Petcare is one of the world's leading pet care providers and we are proud to have them in our community," said Gregg Robinson, executive director of the Orangeburg County Development Commission. "We celebrate their decision to further invest in Orangeburg County."

"Great endorsement for Orangeburg County as another industrial family member wants to grow its business here," said Jeannine Kees, chair of the Orangeburg County Development Commission. "An announcement such as this is our best sales story for outside industry."

"As one of the leading pet care food manufacturers in the world, Mars Petcare has a significant international presence with operations in more than 73 countries," Central SC Alliance Chairman Jim Apple said. "Companies that have a global presence reinvest in locations where they can remain cost-competitive in the marketplace. We greatly appreciate this expansion announcement in Orangeburg County and congratulate the project team for their efforts."

County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. said in a statement that the expansion "is confirmation that Orangeburg County is a great place to live, play and work."

Council gave final approval Monday to an ordinance giving the company certain economic incentives, including a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement and a special source revenue credit.

Two months ago, Mars Petcare was ranked the ninth-best place to work among the state's large employers by the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce. The recognition included all of the company's South Carolina operations, including a plant in Columbia where the company plans to triple the number of employees and spend nearly $130 million over five years.

Source: (c)2012 The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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