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Interstate Lane: March 2013

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TENNESSEE: $50M cancer research lab in Alcoa will create 525 new jobs

Medical sciences company ProNova Solutions is building a new headquarters facility and research and commercialization lab in Alcoa, Tenn., that will create 525 new jobs in east Tennessee.

Interstate_ProNova_logoProNova, in coordination with Provision Health Alliance, is developing next-generation proton therapy technology to treat cancer.  According to ProNova, proton therapy has a number of benefits over other cancer treatments, including a decrease in tissue damage, fewer debilitating side effects and a lower incidence of secondary cancers from radiation exposure.

ProNova is investing $50 million in the new facilities, which will include the construction of two buildings on 26 acres, built in phases over the next few years. The first phase will consist of a 30,000-s.f. two-story office and research building, with a 40,000-s.f. assembly and test area initially supporting 35 employees and growing to 110 by 2015.

Phase two will add a 120,000-s.f. two-story building with a projected staff of 110 in 2015,  expanding to a cumulative total of 525 by 2018.

Provision broke ground in April 2012 on a $119 million proton therapy cancer center in Knoxville that is expected to open in early 2014. The 90,000-s.f. facility will be able to treat 1,000 patients per year and will be integrated into the research program at the University of Tennessee to train future medical professionals.

OHIO: Huhtamaki buys former Ford site for food packaging facility

Huhtamaki’s new Batavia Township, Ohio, plant will produce paper drink cups and distribute products made throughout the Huhtamaki manufacturing network.
Huhtamaki’s new Batavia Township, Ohio, plant will produce paper drink cups and distribute products made throughout the Huhtamaki manufacturing network.

Huhtamaki, a global company that manufactures food packaging and tableware, has purchased part of the former Ford Motor Co. transmission plant in Batavia Township, where it plans to open a new converting facility and distribution center.

Huhtamaki expects capital investments at the site, which is located 25 miles east of Cincinnati, to exceed $60 million over the next three years and will result in the creation of 237 jobs.

Huhtamaki North America is a leading manufacturer of consumer goods packaging as well as tableware, cups, folding cartons, containers, carriers, trays and serviceware for the foodservice industry and for the retail market under the Chinet brand. Huhtamaki North America employs approximately 3,300 people in 17 manufacturing sites, including plants in Franklin and New Vienna, Ohio. The parent company, Huhtamäki Oyj, has its head office in Finland.

Fred Betzen, vice president of operations for Huhtamaki North America said the open space configuration of the former transmission plant – which closed in 2008 – was “ideally suited” for Huhtamaki’s needs, offering the space and infrastructure to meet production demands over the next several years.

Huhtamaki plans to begin production at the Batavia plant by the end of the year.

Business Briefs

INDIANA

Horizon Financial Management, a medical billing company, plans to expand its operations in Merrillville, Ind., creating up to 216 new jobs by 2016. The company is investing $1.9 million to lease, renovate and equip a 20,000-s.f. space approximately two miles from its current working facility and will move its operations into the new space when construction is completed at the end of August. The company currently employs 60 people in Merrillville.

OHIO

♦ Milacron, a global plastics company headquartered in Cincinnati, has agreed to acquire Toronto-based Mold-Masters for approximately $950 million. The transaction will create a company that encompasses five businesses: Milacron (plastics machinery), Mold-Masters (hot runners), DME (mold base technologies), Aftermarket (parts and services) and CIMCOOL Fluid Technology (metalworking fluids and services). In a statement announcing the merger, the companies said that the combined entity will produce greater opportunities for global expansion. The transaction is expected to close by the middle of the year.

Interstate_KrogerLogo♦ Cincinnati-based Kroger has ended its popular double coupon program at its 110 Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky stores, but says it is taking the expense of operating the program and investing it into lower prices storewide. For example, a three-pound bag of onions that previously sold for $1.99 is now 99 cents; the price for a 24-pack of Kroger bottled water has dropped from $3.19 to $2.48. The switch comes as more shoppers are utilizing digital coupons loaded to the store’s customer loyalty card, which have never been subject to doubling. For now, the company does not plan to change the double coupon policy outside of the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area.

TENNESSEE

♦ Huf North America is investing $20 million to add 52,000-s.f. to its existing plant in Greeneville, Tenn., where it produces automotive lock sets for clients that include Volkswagen, BMW, Ford, Chrysler and GM. The expansion will make room for a plastic injection molding and paint facility and will create 100 new manufacturing jobs.

♦ After initially announcing that it would close its fruit spread plant in Memphis, the J.M. Smucker Co. has decided instead to convert the facility to a peanut butter manufacturing plant for its Jif brand. The Ohio-based company is investing $55.6 million in the facility conversion and will add 65 new jobs to the current staff of 60.

♦ Schrader Electronics is investing $10 million to expand its plant in Springfield, Tenn. and plans to add 76 new jobs to support the expansion. Schrader is a pioneer in tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), a vehicle safety feature that is now standard on all cars and light trucks sold in North America, and is a leading supplier of TPMS sensors, valves, tools and training worldwide.

PINNACLE AIRLINES CORP. LOGO♦ Pinnacle Airlines Corp. has announced that it will move its headquarter operations from Memphis to Minnesota after an extensive evaluation of the most cost-effective option as the company emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy. “We had the responsibility to explore every aspect of our business to find opportunities to reduce costs, including evaluating our property leases, to find the most economical options for Pinnacle,” said Pinnacle President and CEO John Spanjers. “Our analysis covered everything from the available labor pool and operational alignment to economic incentives. Both Memphis and the state of Minnesota presented very strong cases. In the end, it was an economic decision.” The company currently has approximately 500 employees at its Memphis headquarters, but according to a report by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the company expects to move only 200 employees to Minneapolis. Tentative plans call for the move to Minnesota to be complete by May.

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