Tissue manufacturer investing $1B in Anderson Co.

COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - A New York-based tissue and paper towel manufacturer announced Friday it was investing $1 billion and adding 1,000 jobs to South Carolina over the next 10 years.

First Quality Tissue SE LLC will acquire the former Shaw Industries facility on Masters Boulevard where it will construct its new manufacturing facilities. In addition to First Quality's plans to create 1,000 new direct jobs over the next decade, construction of the new facilities will generate an immediate impact with an additional 550 construction jobs.

The move represents the largest capital investment in the Upstate since BMW moved into the area, according to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

"First Quality is very pleased to become part of Anderson County, SC, and we look forward to working together to create real opportunities with all our partners, both in government and the private sector, that will benefit the entire community," said Frank Ludovina, company representative for First Quality. "Among the factors that attracted First Quality to Anderson are the pool of skilled labor, positive work ethic and the availability of the infrastructure necessary to sustain our facility."

"How can anyone not get excited about $1 billion in investment and 1,000 jobs?" Anderson County Councilman Eddie Moore asked. "Now, that's what I call economic development. … This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship!"

Sanford said First Quality's investment ends a week that mean $1.2 billion in capital investment into the Palmetto State and 1,400 new jobs for South Carolinians.

"That's a new job every one minute and 42 seconds of this work week," he said.

After an extensive site selection process in which the company considered multiple locations in the United States, Anderson County was selected due to its proximity to the growing Southeastern market, infrastructure and low energy costs among other factors, according to a press release from the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

First Quality expects the initial operations to commence in 2011 and will begin the hiring process in the third quarter of 2010. The company anticipates hiring 200 positions at that time. ReadySC will assist with hiring and training of new employees for the new Anderson County facility. Individuals interested in applying for positions should visit the S.C. Tech Jobs website at www.sctechjobs.com in the months ahead.

First Quality Tissue currently operates two TAD tissue facilities with a combined capacity of approximately 150,000 tons per year. The initial plans for the Anderson County facility call for two additional TAD machines being installed consecutively, doubling First Quality's current capacity. The company is anticipating having the first machine operational in the third quarter of 2011 and the second machine on-line by third quarter 2012.

First Quality, which first began operations in Clinton County, PA, in 1988, started with six employees and as grown to more than 3,000 with manufacturing operations across several states.

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