James Hardie today announced plans to spend an estimated US$98 million to build its tenth USA Fibre Cement manufacturing plant, in Virginia, to meet growing demand for the company’s products in the east-coast region of the United States.
The new plant will be located at Pulaski and will have an annual production capacity of 600 million standard feet – the largest of all James Hardie plants.
Construction of the plant will commence in March 2005 and will include two 300 million standard feet manufacturing lines. The first line is expected to be completed for the first quarter of fiscal year 2007.
As well as ensuring there is sufficient production capacity to meet growing demand, the new plant will enable James Hardie to reduce the cost of distributing its products in the east-coast region and, at the same time, improve service to its growing customer base throughout North America.
The new plant will increase James Hardie’s total annual production design capacity in North America to 3.1 billion standard feet when the first line is completed, and to 3.4 billion standard feet when the second is completed James Hardie CEO, Mr Louis Gries, said: “The east-coast region accounts for about one third of our North America sales, and demand in the region is growing rapidly.
“Currently, we supply this demand with product from our east-coast plants at Plant City, Florida; Summerville, South Carolina; and Blandon Pennsylvania, supplemented from our Peru, Illinois plant. Growing demand across all key regions of North America – including the central and north-east regions – means we need the new plant at Pulaski, Virginia to meet the expected ongoing east-coast demand.
“The site for the new plant was selected after detailed evaluations of numerous sites. It has excellent road and rail access and is close to secure raw material supplies of sand and cement.
“When the second line is completed, the Pulaski, Virginia plant will be our largest manufacturing plant in the world,” said Mr Gries.
The new plant will produce external siding and interior backerboard products for new residential construction, repair and remodel and manufactured housing markets.
Funding of the new plant will be from the company’s strong free cashflow and debt facilities.
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