09/03/08 — Reliance may not be coming to Kinston

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Reliance may not be coming to Kinston

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 3, 2008 1:45 PM


Assistant News Editor

Reliance Industries, which announced earlier this summer plans to bring more than 200 jobs to Lenoir County, may not be coming after all.

An official from the India-based company, which was opening its first North American plant, notified state and local leaders over the weekend via e-mail of the change of plans.

However, said Mark Pope, executive director of the Lenoir County Economic Development Department, they have not received any official word from the company.

He described the e-mail as more of an informal communication.

"It said nothing about why they're not coming," Pope said. "There's no reason. That's what we're kind of scratching our heads about.

"We really haven't had anything factual or concrete that they're not coming and Dupont doesn't have anything formally either."

Reliance was going to lease space from Dupont for its operation -- making a resin to be used in the packaging of soft drinks, juice and other products.

The only information he had, Pope explained, was that the decision had something to do with filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We're trying to verify. This is unusual. Of course we are dealing with another culture. ... We're just uncertain as to what's going on and if they decided not to come, why not -- if it's the economy or something else," Pope said.

The state and county had offered nearly $6 million in incentives.

But the potential cancellation of the 204 job, $215 million investment project comes on the heels of a very successful summer for Kinston and Lenoir County.

Sanderson Farms, which Pope explained had delayed its project earlier this summer, is back on track to create 1,600 jobs and $224.5 million in direct and indirect investments.

"They had pulled back a little bit because of the flooding in the Midwest," he said, as they hedged their bets on grain prices and supplies. "They just delayed a little bit."

But now, a portion of the land has been purchased and the county is swapping with the Council of State for the rest next week, and the project, which includes a processing center, a hatchery, a feed mill and a rail loop, is moving forward.

"Sanderson is still on go. They're still coming," Pope said.

He also said that things are moving smoothly ahead with Spirit AeroSystems, which is planning to create 1,000 jobs and $570 million in investment.

"They're on target. They're on the move. They've committed to 1,000 jobs, but I think they'll end up with more than that."