Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

November 1, 2012

Celanese to infuse Giles County operation with $150 million

PEARISBURG, Va. — A $150 million investment in a Giles County plant will enable the company to create new jobs and improve its energy production capability, Gov. Bob McDonnell said Wednesday.

The Celanese Corporation, a global technology and specialty materials company, will invest $150 million in its Giles County operation, McDonnell said.

The company, which manufactures cellulose acetate tow at the plant, will replace its coal-fired boilers with natural gas-fired boilers. McDonnell said the upgrade, in conjunction with other efforts at the site, will enable the creation of at least 22 full-time Celanese positions. The project also will create approximately 200 temporary construction jobs at the site.

McDonnell said the Giles County plant competed against global options for the investment.

“Celanese is one of the largest employers and offers some of the best-paying jobs in the region,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “Converting the Giles County facility to natural gas demonstrates that the company is really investing in the future of the operation. This tremendous investment will allow the plant to improve its energy production capability, while positioning Celanese for profitable growth and job creation in the years ahead. The company is essential to the economic vitality of the area, and I am confident that this upgrade guarantees Celanese’s continued viability and success in the New River Valley.”

Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng said the investment will keep the Celanese plant strong for years to come.

“This project is significant for both Celanese and Giles County,” Cheng added. “Natural gas is a cleaner energy source, thus reducing the company’s carbon footprint. And this significant investment helps ensure that Giles County will retain a valued employer and corporate partner and gain an additional 22 well-paid positions.”

“Celanese is excited about the opportunity this project represents, particularly in the areas of improved reliability and favorable progress against our environmental and sustainability goals,” Lou Purvis, vice president and general manager of Celanese Acetate, said in a press release. “We appreciate the support from Virginia and Giles County to help make this investment possible. We are proud of our 72 year history in the county and this project which will help ensure our future success.”

The Celenese plant is a Fortune 500 global technology and specialty materials company that engineers and manufactures a wide variety of products included in end-use application such as paints and coatings, textiles, automotive applications, consumer and medical applications, filter media, paper and packaging, chemical additives, construction, and consumer and industrial adhesives, according to the governor’s office.

The Giles County plant has been in operation since 1939. It is one of the world’s largest producers of cellulose acetate tow.

McDonnell said the Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Giles County and the New River Valley Economic Development Alliance to secure the project for Virginia.  McDonnell also approved a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Giles County with the project and a $1.5 million performance-based grant from the Virginia Investment Partnership program.

Dr. S. Lee Wheeler, chairman of the Giles County Industrial Development Authority, said the Celenese plant remains the county’s largest employer.

 “The importance of this decision cannot be overstated,” Wheeler said. “For 72 years Celanese has been Giles County’s largest employer and has provided generations of families with employment opportunities. The scale of this investment will benefit the entire region and we are very appreciative of the governor’s assistance, and Celanese’s confidence in the county.”

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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