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Company to build new plant in Berkeley County, W.Va.

April 13, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A company that makes anti-bacterial products has chosen Berkeley County as the site for an $18 million manufacturing facility.

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Ecolab announced plans Tuesday in Charleston, W.Va., to begin construction later this year on a 200,000-square-foot plant across from the Quebecor Printing plant on W.Va. 9 between Martinsburg and Charles Town, W.Va.

The company will begin construction in August and expects the building to be finished in January.

Hiring for 70 plant employees and up to 30 office workers is to begin in late summer 2000, said Ecolab Director of Communications Lois West Duffy.

The plant will operate on shifts and Berkeley County Development Authority Executive Director Bob Crawford, said salaries at the plant will begin in the $7 to $8 an hour range.

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The St. Paul, Minn.-based Ecolab manufactures soap and anti-bacterial products for institutional and industrial clients that include Coca Cola, General Mills, Disney and McDonald's, said Duffy.

"Our motto is everything from the farm to the table," said Duffy.

Ecolab bills itself as the leading global developer and marketer of premium cleaning, sanitizing, maintenance and pest elimination products and services for the hospitality, health care and light industrial markets.

The company has 350,000 customers worldwide and recorded global sales last year of $2.8 billion, said Duffy.

Ecolab shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Pacific Exchange under the symbol ECL.

With 14 facilities across the U.S., Ecolab chose Berkeley County in part because of its proximity to Interstates 81 and 70 as distribution routes to East Coast customers, said Duffy.

A capable work force and a business-friendly community also played a major role, Al Schuman, president and CEO, said in a prepared release.

Ecolab will qualify for financial incentives through West Virginia and will be eligible for job training funds through Gov. Cecil Underwood's guaranteed work force training program, Underwood's office said.

West Virginia also offers a "Supertax" credit based on the number of jobs created and the amount of the investment, said West Virginia Development Office representative Jan Dickinson.

The amount of any tax credits would be determined after the plant is built and the jobs are in place, she said.

The company could also be in line for local financial incentives including property tax breaks from Berkeley County, said Crawford.

No financial figures have been determined for the amount of state and local incentives the company will receive, said Crawford.

State and local officials have been working with Ecolab since last year to land the plant for Berkeley County, said Crawford.

"We'll be adding another fine manufacturing company that will continue to diversify our economic base," said Crawford.

Berkeley County Commission President D. Wayne Dunham said the state will provide sewer and water lines to the plant. He said the county will still receive tax revenue from the land and building if the company is given a tax break on equipment.

"It's a win-win for the county and the company. They get the location they want and we get more jobs," Dunham said.

The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce and the Berkeley County Development Authority will introduce Ecolab to the Berkeley County business community this morning at an 8 a.m. presentation at the Holiday Inn in Martinsburg.

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