Investment expected to create 25 new jobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. (NAT) (TSXV: NAT) (OTCBB: NADVF), which produces and markets CRAiLAR®, a natural fiber made from flax and other bast fibers, plans to open a facility in Florence County. An initial $8 million investment will create 25 jobs as part of the company’s move to the county.
“We thank the state of South Carolina, Florence County and all those who helped to establish the company’s presence in South Carolina,” said Ken Barker, CEO of NAT. “We are proud to see our investments and hard work beginning to pay off in the form of the production of CRAiLAR for commercial use. We're particularly excited that Hanesbrands, our first production partner for Crailar, is being recognized this month for its sustainability efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and that it cited the use of our flax fiber, produced out of our test facility in Kingstree, in its EcoSmart socks available at retail in April. We look forward to further establishing our commercial, agricultural and civic partnerships in the state.”
NAT will locate its operations in the 143,500-square-foot Delta Mills Cypress plant on Old River Road in Pamplico, S.C. Flax, grown as a winter crop in Florence and surrounding counties, will be processed out of the new facility in Pamplico to produce its CRAiLAR fiber. The proprietary CRAiLAR process is the first to remove the binding agents from flax that contribute to its stiff texture by bathing it in a proprietary enzyme wash. The result is a textile fiber that merges the strength and durability of flax with the most desirable attributes of cotton. NAT is scheduled to begin operations there in Q2 2012. Since August 2011, Carolina Eastern Precision Ag of Pamplico has provided agronomic consultation to NAT in the region.
“We are constantly working to bring investments and jobs to all areas of our state, but it’s always exciting to see a company invest in one of South Carolina’s rural areas. We celebrate Naturally Advanced Technologies decision to locate in Pamplico and create 25 new jobs,” said Gov. Nikki Haley.
“South Carolina has a strong history in the textile, advanced materials and agribusiness sectors, and today’s announcement builds on all three. Every one of these jobs will have an impact in Pamplico and we appreciate Naturally Advanced Technologies’ decision to do business in South Carolina,” said Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt.
“On behalf of the State of South Carolina, I would like to congratulate Naturally Advanced Technologies for their commitment to Florence County. As the State Senator and a resident of Florence County, I am thrilled to see another new capital investment and an increase in jobs. This company has enormous growth potential here in South Carolina.” said state Senator Hugh K. Leatherman.
“The long-term lease with an option to purchase the Pamplico facility is a testament to Florence County’s pro-business climate and ability to attract top performing companies. On behalf of the partnership, I would like to thank Florence County Council, the South Carolina Department of Commerce, NESA and all other parties that contributed to making this project a reality for our community. Without the support of Florence County Progress Inc., and our many allies, we would not be able to successfully bring outstanding companies like Naturally Advanced Technologies to Florence County,” stated Florence County Economic Development Partnership Chairman Dr. Charles Gould.
“Once again, Florence County has proven its dedication to grow and prosper economically,” stated Florence County Council Chairman K.G. “Rusty” Smith. “Our aggressive economic development agency, natural resources, workforce, and strategic location have secured us yet another success. Some of NAT’s clients are the most recognizable brands in the world. We look forward to a long and prosperous partnership with NAT.”
NAT’s 2011 business activities included purchasing agreements with HanesBrands, Georgia-Pacific and Brilliant Global Knitwear, along with development agreements with Levi Strauss & Co., Cintas, Carhartt, Ashland, Westex, and Target.
Senator J. Yancey McGill commented, “NAT has made a wonderful decision to locate a facility here and our community will welcome them with open-arms. This announcement is just one more indication of the total team effort we have in Florence County and my congratulations to the entire economic development team on this good news.”
NAT finalized plans this week for a long-term lease with an option to purchase the building, and its full execution is contingent upon tax and job creation incentives in review with Florence County. A first hearing took place on February 16 and a second is scheduled for March 15. A final environmental and incentives review is scheduled for hearing on April 19 and would complete the process. The South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved a set aside grant for $263,500 for building upfit and job development credits, which will be available when hiring targets are met.
TSX Venture Exchange recently named NAT to its 2012 TSX Venture 50, a list assembled based on quantitative measurement of top performing publicly traded companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). NAT was ranked fourth in the Clean Tech sector.
The company is in the process of taking applications for employment. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should visit www.naturallyadvanced.com.
For additional information contact the Florence County Economic Development Partnership at 843-676-8796 or www.fcedp.com.
About Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc.
Naturally Advanced Technologies Inc. develops renewable and environmentally sustainable biomass resources from flax, hemp and other bast fibers. The company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, CRAiLAR® Fiber Technologies Inc., has developed proprietary technologies for production of bast fibers, cellulose pulp, and their resulting by-products in collaboration with Canada's National Research Council. CRAiLAR technology offers cost-effective and environmentally sustainable processing and production of natural, bast fibers resulting in increased performance characteristics for use in textile, industrial, energy, medical and composite material applications. The company was founded in 1998 as a provider of environmentally friendly, socially responsible clothing. For more information, visit www.naturallyadvanced.com.