Name revealed for new fiber glass company

The identity of a new $100 million company that's coming to Clarksville was revealed Tuesday after more than a month of speculation.

As it turns out, MW/MB LLC -- which was previously assumed to be a code name for the project during the business recruitment phase -- is actually the name of a corporation that's been established here by a partnership of Tamko Roofing Products Inc. and IKO Industries Ltd.

The plant, which will employ about 98 people, will make wet chopped fiber glass strands for Tamko, based in Joplin, Mo., and IKO of Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The Clarksville facility will provide a portion of the fiber glass needed by the two companies, but the two companies will continue to buy additional wet chop fiber glass from the merchant market. The new plant will have a manufacturing capacity of 150 million pounds and is expected to be in service by early 2006. Site work is under way.

"The product they'll make here is fiber glass strands that go into mats, which, in turn, go to roofing material. I think it's going to be a good, solid company for this community," Mike Evans, executive director of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, told The Leaf-Chronicle Tuesday afternoon.

"There have been two reasons for the secrecy up to now. One, these are family-owned, private companies, and two, they've been in the process for several weeks of working out the final stages of their contracts to buy fiber glass strand that they will be purchasing from the companies that will also soon be their competitors," Evans said.

"They had to maintain, and still have to maintain, a relationship with their suppliers even though to a certain extent they are now going to be competitors with those suppliers," he said. Names of suppliers were not released.

Evans said the IDB and representatives of the partnership may have a ground-breaking ceremony for the new company in August. Tamko and IKO spokespersons weren't ready to comment Tuesday, Evans said.

"I've met the two principals of the ownership, and they seem to be very nice, and very interesting individuals -- and they seem to be very impressed with our community and our site for their facility," Evans said.

"I'm mainly looking forward to continuing to build a relationship with them."

IKO bills itself as a world-class organization specializing in the development and manufacture of top-quality residential and commercial asphalt and modified bitumen roofing products, as well as other related building products.

Additionally, Tamko has grown to become a leading national manufacturer of residential and commercial roofing products, waterproofing, cements and coatings.

In a separate announcement, PPG Industries of Pittsburgh said it will be providing the engineering and process technology for the new Clarksville facility. PPG is one of the world's largest manufacturers of continuous-strand fiber glass, with eight facilities worldwide and 2003 sales of $8.8 billion.

Under a long-term services agreement, PPG also will provide bushings, technical services, technology updates and employee training for the plant, and negotiate for raw material supplies. Terms of that agreement were not disclosed.

"PPG's leadership in the fiber glass industry -- while not competing as a roofing products manufacturer -- uniquely positions us as a valuable partner in this venture," said Vicki Holt, vice president of PPG's fiber glass business, in a prepared statement.

Tamko and IKO each will take 50 percent of the production from the Clarksville facility for in-house use. O'Neal Contractors LLC, of Greenville, S.C., is general contractor for construction of the plant.

The local plant's payroll will include hourly and salaried workers, for a total estimated annual payroll of $3.8 million, according to the IDB.

The new industry is being built on 40 acres bought by the IDB on behalf of city and county taxpayers. The tract is part of the "Mimms property," named for the farming family that once owned it. It is located near North American Oxide and the Florim USA plant in the portion of the city-county Corporate Business Park near Exit 4 of Interstate 24.

600450 Name revealed for new fiber glass company
Date: 17 June 2004

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