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UPDATED: CertainTeed Ceilings putting $24M in Meridian plant restart

MERIDIAN –In yet another sign that the building sector is coming back, CertainTeed Ceilings is restarting its manufacturing operations here after shutting down in 2009, making a $24 million investment in updating a plant that will eventually put more than 100 people to work in the next three years.

Production is expected to resume during the second quarter of 2014. The company and the Mississippi Development Authority made the announcement Monday morning in Meridian.

According to state officials, it will mean a $24 million investment at the same building the company purchased in 2005. By 2016, the company anticipates having 110 employees.

Valley Forge-based CertainTeed is a subsidiary of French building supply conglomerate Saint-Gobain. Certain Teed manufacturers a variety of exterior and interior building supplies for the U.S. market. The Meridian plant will rejoin a sister plant the sister plant in  L’Anse, Mich., in making ceiling tiles and acoustical wall panels used in commercial construction. CertainTeed also operates a ceiling tile grid production facility in Ellenton, Fla..

The company had stopped its Meridian production in 2009 during a market downturn, laying off 120 workers at the time. The company cited sluggish commercial building in choosing to close one of its two ceiling tile plants. CertainTeed selected Meridian for the shutdown because the plant there is older than the sister plant in  L’Anse, the MDA said.

Ceiling tiles have been manufactured in the Meridian facility since 1941 throughout various stages of ownership. CertainTeed took over the plant in 2005.

“When we idled the Meridian facility four years ago during the height of our country’s economic crisis, we weren’t sure when or if we’d ever be able to reopen this plant,” said John Crowe, president and CEO.

In a company press statement, Crowe said, “We celebrate the rebirth of this facility with the promise of quality jobs to be filled by hard working Mississippians.”

Skip Skaggs, director of existing business for the MDA, said CertainTeed decided to invest in reopening and updating the Meridian plant after new product demands created a tightening of capacity at the other plant. “That gave them the signal that this recovery does have legs,” he said.

The re-started Meridian plant will ramp up slowly but with the $24 million investment in equipment it can expand capacity as demand grows, Skaggs said.

The MDA assisted CertainTeed with improvements to a rail spur and a water line to help increase water capacity at the plant, according to Skaggs.

 

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