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Yokohama Tire Breaks Ground For MS Facility

Tue, 09/24/2013 - 10:12am
The Associated Press

WEST POINT, Miss. (AP) — Yokohama Tire Corporation officials and state leaders gathered Monday for ceremonial ground breaking for a manufacturing facility that is expected to create hundreds of jobs.

Gov. Phil Bryant, company executives and others gathered for the ground breaking ceremony in West Point, where the company will manufacture commercial truck tires.

West Point is a town of about 11,000 people northeast of Starkville.

A news release from the governor's office says the first phase of the project represents a $300 million investment by Yokohama and will create 500 new jobs.

Alan Easome, senior director of new plant development for the company, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Monday that major site work will start soon, with tire production expected to begin in 2015.

The Mississippi Development Authority says that potential future expansions are projected to increase the company's investment to more than $1 billion and to raise employment from 500 to 2,000 jobs.

Takayuki Hamaya, chief operation officer, said the company has plans for future expansion, but the details haven't been finalized and the growth will be based on market conditions.

In April, state lawmakers approved a total of $130 million in incentives to assist with the project — $70 million was allotted for the initial phase.

Mississippi officials say part of the funding was used to purchase the 500-acre site and the rest is being used for site preparation, infrastructure and workforce training.

Yokohama Tire Corporation is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo, Japan-based The Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., a global manufacturing and sales company of premium tires since 1917.

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