Michelin North America Secures Tax Help for Possible New Indiana Plant
While Michelin North America officially says it has not committed to expanding its Woodburn, Indiana tyre plant, behind the scenes it has secured tax breaks to make that investment happen, reports Tire Review. The Allen County Council unanimously supported tax breaks, voting last week to provide incentives worth between $50 million to $75 million to the tyre-maker.
While no specifics for the plant expansion have been released, the local newspaper said the tax abatement application filed by MNA called for a 7,500-square-foot building, a 1,000-square-foot locker room, a new electrical substation, and a new cooling tower. MNA has kept mum on the entire process, neither committing nor retreating on purported plans for the Woodburn plant.
The Ft. Wayne Journal Gazette reported on 29 December that MNA was about to undertake a nearly $80 million makeover at the plant that would upgrade equipment and add capacity. The paper even quoted USW Local 715 president Jim Wetzel as saying the investment was being made. But the paper also noted, “Despite the presence of new machines and contractors to install them, the tyre manufacturer declined to confirm the investment.”
MNA issued a statement to the newspaper that said: “When deciding on possible future investments, state and local incentives are a strong plus. In this case, we have laid the groundwork for making improvements at the plant; however, at this point no final decisions have been made.” According to the Journal Gazette, MNA has filed paperwork with the state to install new tyre-making equipment.
After initial industry reports of the expansion came out, MNA issued yet another non-committal statement: “We appreciate the support we receive from Fort Wayne, Allen County and the state of Indiana. Michelin is constantly analyzing the competitive North American environment. When deciding on possible future investments, state and local incentives are a strong plus. In this case, we have laid the groundwork for making improvements at the plant; however, at this point no final decisions have been made.”