Gov. Haley Barbour announced this afternoon that Wilh. Schulz GMBH has selected Tunica County as the site for its first manufacturing facility in the U .S. The facility, which carries a price tag of $300 million, is expected to create 500 jobs over the next five years.
Schulz, which is based in Germany, will manufacture in Tunica seamless steel pipes that are used for oil and gas distribution. Rainer Floeth, Schulz managing director and CFO, said 300 sites across the country competed for the project. He called the Tunica facility the "masterpiece of our long-term strategic plan," adding that the company started five years ago developing an initiative to build a manufacturing facility in the U.S. "This is the best market for this industry," Floeth said.
While the project’s cost will eventually reach $300 million, its first phase will require an investment from Schulz of $80 million and create 200 jobs. Barbour said lawmakers would take up legislation this week that would issue $15 million in state bonds. The state will also guarantee $20 million of the $60 million Schulz will borrow to purchase equipment for the facility. Barbour said Schulz would eventually repay the state all but about $3 million or $4 million of the its investment.
Construction of the project’s first phase, according to Floeth, will begin almost immediately with the hopes that it can come online some time on the first quarter of 2011.
This was the project Barbour referenced when he announced in mid-October that he would call a special session for lawmakers to consider state incentives for an advanced manufacturer in the Delta. Those plans were put on hold, however, and Barbour nor Floeth provided much detail when asked today what caused the delay. Barbour did say the hitch was not related to the agreement between Schulz and the state.