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Michelin gets OK on tax incentives for possible expansion

By Liz Segrist
Published Dec. 5, 2012

Greenville County Council unanimously approved tax incentives for Greenville-based Michelin North America during its Tuesday meeting.

If the tire manufacturer announces an expansion, the county has approved a 4% assessment ratio as part of an “enhanced” fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement. This assessment ratio is on par with homeowners, and down from the usual 10.5% assessment ratio set for manufacturers.

This enhanced incentive agreement would require Michelin to invest at least $200 million and create at least 125 new, full-time jobs as part of the expansion, or alternatively invest at least $400 million, according to the county ordinance.

The tax incentives are in place if the tire manufacturer decides to expand manufacturing and related facilities at one or more locations within the county, said Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven.

“They’re waiting to see how the budget crisis and the fiscal cliff will play out. This fee in lieu plays a part, but it is just one factor in helping them choose Greenville County,” Kirven said. “We want them to expand here. Greenville is Michelin’s hometown.”

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A Michelin spokesman said these incentives make Greenville an attractive place to invest, but there’s no formal announcement at this time.

“Michelin is constantly exploring potential investment opportunities,” said Michelin Public Relations Manager Brian Remsberg in an emailed statement.

Michelin has six facilities in Greenville, which includes its North American headquarters, its manufacturing operational support and the Michelin Americas Research Co.

Of the remaining three, the largest Greenville facility is 1.4 million square feet. Its 1,200 employees produce radial passenger and light truck tires. Another Greenville facility is 65,000 square feet, and its 180 employees produce molds.

Michelin’s other Greenville facility produces radial passenger tires. Square footage and employment figures are not available for this facility.

If Michelin decides to expand but fails to meet the job numbers and investment set forth in the agreement, a 6% assessment ratio will be used, according to the ordinance.

Michelin announced plans in April to hire 500 people and invest $750 million between Anderson and Lexington counties to meet growing demand for the massive tires used on earth-moving equipment.

Michelin has 14 S.C. locations and currently employs more than 8,000 statewide. It has 24 U.S. facilities, according to the company.

Michelin designs, manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy duty trucks and motorcycles.