Chinese glass company to buy Moraine GM Plant, employ 800

By William Duffield Staff writer

January 10, 2014

MORAINE — A General Motors site that has set empty since Dec. 2008 will get new life as it was announced Friday that Fuyao North America Incorporated, a part of the Fuyao Glass Industry Group will be using part of the facility to establish a plant in the Dayton suburb for the making of auto glass.

The plant is expected to bring up to 800 jobs to an area that sorely needs work.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich made the announcement Friday morning at the Ohio Statehouse together with Fuyao Chairman and Founder Cao Dewang, who joined Kasich in the historic Governor’s Cabinet Room to sign the paperwork affirming Fuyao’s intent to purchase the plant from its current owner, Industrial Realty Group.

According to a release from Gov. Kasich’s office, the complex deal was brokered by JobsOhio, a private, non-profit corporation that advances job creation, capital investment and economic growth in Ohio.

Ohio was chosen for Fuyao’s first North American plant over competitive proposals from states across the midwest and south. Fuyao’s new facility will be the largest Chinese investment ever made in Ohio.

The company plans to acquire over 1.0 million square feet of the former GM Moraine plant and will begin glass manufacturing by the end of 2015. The project will move forward upon finalization of the due diligence process on the building and approval of federal, state and local incentives.

“Ohio is thrilled by its new partnership with Fuyao. Chairman Cao has a bold, long-term vision for his company and it’s great that Moraine, Montgomery County and Ohio are part of it,” Gov. Kasich said. “He is one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, winning Ernst and Young’s 2009 World Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

“He is also one of China’s most generous people, having been named China’s most generous philanthropist four times by China’s Hurun Report,” Kasich continued. “He’s the kind of a person we like to have in Ohio and his company’s investment reaffirms both our strong workforce and our state’s leadership role in automotive and glass manufacturing.”

Fuyao is the largest automotive glass supplier in China with 65 percent of the market and 18 percent of the global automotive glass market. The company currently has a presence in the U.S., Germany, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Brazil, and many other countries in the world.

“We appreciate Ohio’s strategic location, workforce and pro-business environment in making this decision to open our North American facility,” Cao Dewang said. “We are making such an investment in Moraine to better service our important OEM customers in the United States and North America.”

“The jobs resulting from Chairman Cao and the leadership of Fuyao Glass Industry Group’s decision to choose the former GM Moraine plant to locate their latest glass manufacturing facility is important to our local economy,” Congressman Mike Turner (OH-10) said Friday. “Our efforts to save the plant from demolition have paid off. This facility will directly provide hundreds of jobs to the Dayton community with the potential for additional jobs at suppliers and distribution centers.

“When I met with Chairman Cao in October I assured him that the highly trained and skilled workers in the Dayton community would be a valuable asset to their company.”

Turner added that the work by people here in Ohio should be applauded.

“I would like to commend the work done by Governor Kasich, the Dayton Development Coalition and JobsOhio for showcasing the talented workforce and existing infrastructure in our region to recruit new companies and provide additional jobs,” Turner said. “I would also like to thank the staff over at the U.S. Department of Commerce for working with me over the last several years in an effort to preserve the existing facility from demolition and making it a viable location for future manufacturing.

“I look forward to continuing to work with the leadership at Fuyao as they become an integral partner of the Dayton community.”

State Senator Chris Widener (R-Springfield) applauded the announcement.

“Our policy over the past three years has been to make it easy to do business in Ohio by reducing regulatory burdens, and creating a more fair tax structure so that businesses have the ability to move to Ohio and expand their operations,” Widener said. “This strategy has been paying off all across the state with announcements like this one in Moraine.

“With each new job, Ohio becomes an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Ohio’s senior senator in Washington, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), said he is pleased with the announcement.

“Bringing life back to this plant is not only a great thing for the residents of the Miami Valley, it shows what can happen when a community rallies behind a project and brings diverse stakeholders to the table,” Brown said. “Today’s good news would not have happened without the hard work and dedication of local officials, the Dayton Development Coalition, IRG, and others over the past six years who helped build the foundation for this exciting announcement.”

Late last year, the city of Moraine sought funding from Montgomery County for a project also involving JobsOhio, the state’s private development arm.

Industrial Realty Group acquired the former GM plant site in 2011 and renamed it “Progress Park.” Smaller companies already are operating there.

Montgomery County reportedly approved a $700,000 grant for an unnamed company, speculation is that that company is Fuyao. The company, reports continue, was seeking to invest $250 million in the former GM facility.

Stu Lichter, President and Chairman of the Boardof Industrial Realty Group was expected to sign the lease Friday at the Statehouse in Columbus. Lichter and a partner, Chris Semarjian, recently purchased the Super Valu warehouse on Bellbrook Avenue in Xenia under the the name Xenia Bellbrook LLC in late December 2013.

“It is enormously gratifying to be a part of bringing Fuyao to the Dayton area for their first North American manufacturing plant,” Lichter said.

Semarjian, owner of Industrial Commerce Limited (ICL), added “It is satisfying to know that our involvement in this project is making a substantial difference to the economic growth of the area by providing new jobs and opportunities to local industries to provide support and services.”

Fuyao, headquartered in Fuzhou, China, employs more than 18,000 workers globally and plans to use its new Moraine facility to supply its growing U.S. customer base, including GM, Chrysler, Hyundai, Honda and Kia.

Contact William Duffield at bduffield@civitasmedia.com or 937-372-4444 ext. 133.