BARNWELL, S.C. - More than $45 million in tax credits, allocated by the National New Markets Fund, The Innovative Fund, Dakotas America, and SunTrust Community Capital, will go toward funding a 250,000-square-foot, $200 million expansion of Swiss Krono's plant in Barnwell, South Carolina. Swiss Krono is one of the world's leading producers of engineered wood.
The project includes the construction of a new multi-density fiberboard manufacturing line, ancillary wood yard, energy plant and waste treatment facilities, and the installation of a fourth laminate flooring line. The expansion is expected to create 500 construction jobs and 105 permanent jobs at the plant. The rural area of Barnwell has 14.4 percent unemployment.
The addition of a multi-density fiberboard manufacturing line will allow the company to vertically integrate its business, resulting in substantial operational cost savings. The company will source its wood products locally.
"Swiss Krono is grateful to receive the benefit of new markets tax credits, allowing us to grow the commitment we made to this area over a decade ago," said Erik Christensen, president and CEO of the company's U.S. subsidiary. "This investment will set us up to continue that support for decades to come.”
The project is a boon to the local community, which is part of the SC Lowcountry Promise Zone, a federal program that gives high poverty communities opportunities to increase economic activity and leverage private investment. With 167 current employees, SWISS KRONO is one of Barnwell County’s largest employers. In 2015, the county ranked 8th lowest in S.C. for average weekly wages, which were 23.5 percent lower than the state average and 38 percent lower than the national average.
Swiss Krono is one of the world’s leading producers of engineered wood products with more than 5,100 employees working in Switzerland, France, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Russia and in the United States.
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