Updated: 3:19 p.m. Thursday, May 15, 2014 | Posted: 11:18 a.m. Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fuyao chairman wants Moraine plant to be company’s biggest

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Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang
Chris Stewart
Fuyao Chairman Cao Dewang said through an interpreter that he looks forward to being “a good neighbor and a friend” to the Dayton community after announcing the Chinese automotive glass manufacturer finished the deal to purchase a portion of the former General Motors Assembly plant in Moraine.

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Fuyao chairman photo
The chairman of Fuyao applauds the finalized purchase of the former GM plant in Moraine during a press conference at Sinclair Community College on Thursday. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

By Thomas Gnau

Staff Writer

Dayton —

Chinese automotive glass manufacturer Fuyao finished the deal to purchase a portion of the former General Motors Assembly plant in Moraine, the company’s chairman announced today.

Chairman Cao Dewang said through an interpreter that the company, which will be called Fuyao Glass America, looks forward to being “a good neighbor and a friend” to the Dayton community.

Dewang said he paid $15 million for the plant, adding hiring would begin next week for managers and engineers. Some people are already at the plant from China, the chairman said.

“We hope to make Moraine Fuyao’s biggest plant,” Dewang said.

The chairman also promised to bring a $400 million research and development center to the U.S. by 2016. He said the Moraine plant is the “first step” in the R&D center.

“We really like the site itself,” he said.

Since January, Fuyao has been researching its planned purchase of the plant.

Fuyao’s purchase of the plant is an important milestone in the community’s quest to return a large manufacturer to the site, which GM left in late 2008, at the depth of the Great Recession.

“The news on Fuyao and IRG closing on the sale of the building is another big step for job creation and record setting capital investment in the Dayton Region,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition. “The region is one step closer to backfilling one of our assets in the former GM site”

Hoagland said the Moraine plant has a good chance to land the research and development center.

Fuyao expects to employ about 800 people at the plant. State and local leaders hope Fuyao’s presence has a ripple effect, leading to suppliers, vendors and others establishing a local presence to work with the company.

“Fuyao’s commitment to repurposing the plant is great news for the City of Moraine and the residents of the Miami Valley,” Sen. Sherrod Brown said in statement. “Since 2009 I have worked with community leaders and the federal government to ensure the site was primed for redevelopment. With one in eight jobs connected to the auto industry in Ohio, Fuyao’s decision to locate to Moraine underscores the strengthen of Ohio’s manufacturing heritage and the unbeatable quality of our work force.”

The company first announced its intention to buy the plant on Jan. 10 at a public ceremony with Gov. John Kasich at the Ohio Statehouse. In the months since, Fuyao has researched the planned purchase for any potential problems.

The final deal may likely be contingent on the approval of state and local financial incentives for Fuyao, as well as possible aid from JobsOhio, the state’s development arm. The state Tax Credit Authority or other state agencies may weigh possible incentives in coming days.

This is the second strong piece of economic news for the Dayton region today. Earlier, JobsOhio announced that P&G will operate the Prologis distribution center in Union through a third-party logistics company, Exel. Hiring of 800 workers for that center will begin in November, an Exel spokeswoman told this newspaper.

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