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October 2, 2013

Company seeks Southern Indiana site for auto-parts factory

$25 million plant would employ 150

By Elizabeth Pearl — A company that manufactures car interior parts will consider Johnson County, and other southern Indiana communities, as a possible location for a new $25 million facility.

UGN Inc. plans to invest in a new facility and will hire 150 employees at the factory, where carpet for vehicles will be manufactured.

The location for the new facility will be chosen by the end of the year. Officials currently are considering all of Southern Indiana and parts of Ohio, Chief Executive Officer Peter Anthony said.

Johnson County meets several of the criteria the company has for its new location, Anthony said. The county is in the southern part of the state, is a well-established area and is near the interstate, he said.

The company needs a location with a skilled work force, including engineers, managers and hourly workers. So officials are looking for an area with universities and other companies nearby, Anthony said. Once the location is chosen, the pay rates for each job will be determined based on an analysis of similar positions in the area, he said.

The Illinois-based company makes and sells car carpets to manufacturers, such as Honda, Toyota and Nissan, he said. UGN Inc. has six factories in the U.S., including one in Valparaiso that opened in 1995, and locations in Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee.

UGN Inc. has sent letters of interest to the governors of both Indiana and Ohio, so government officials can start working on incentives that can be offered to the company, Anthony said.

The state government will then send out notices to cities and towns around the state who fit the company’s criteria, Franklin Mayor Joe McGuinness said. Each local government can then create their own incentives package for the company.

If Franklin is chosen, the city will base its incentives on the overall investment the company will put into the area, he said. City officials will look at the pay scale, benefits offered and skill level of the positions at the facility, he said.

“I’d rather have fewer high-quality jobs versus low-quality ones that pay little,” he said.

UGN Inc. has hired a real estate agent to scout existing buildings and vacant lots where a new facility could be built, Anthony said. Once the new location is chosen by the end of this year, work on the new facility can begin in the first quarter of 2014, he said.



*******************

SO YOU KNOW

• WHO: UGN Inc.

• WHAT THEY MAKE: Car interior parts, including carpeting for the trunk and floor and fabric for the ceiling.

• LOCATIONS: Six U.S. factories in Illinois, Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee and Valparaiso. The company is based in Illinois.

• NEW FACTORY: A $25 million facility is planned to be located in Southern Indiana or Ohio.

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