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A major manufacturer in Lexington is moving forward with its $50 million expansion

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Egger Wood Products said Thursday it is proceeding with the next expansion of its Lexington manufacturing plant, adding up to 40 jobs and spending $50 million to build a recycling center and add another production line.

The Austrian company announced plans in July 2017 for its $700 million, 1-million-square-foot plant, which opened in September 2020. It makes particleboard and thermally fused laminate at the plant.

As of Thursday, Egger said its Lexington workforce is at 450 — 50 more than it projected would be created in a $300 million Phase 1 expected to take six years.

Overall, it has pledged to have 770 employees at full production capacity in 2035.

Egger said the latest capital investment will be comprised of $30 million for the recycling center and $20 million for the planned third production line projected to be operational by the end of 2022.

Egger’s customers include those in the furniture, wood distribution, building and do-it-yourself industries.

The third line was added in part to help Egger address supply chain disruptions, particularly for its growing U.S. and Canadian marketplaces.

“This facility was created with the intention of adding a third and fourth lamination line as market demand increased,” Carsten Ritterbach, plant manager for commercial services, said in a statement.

Egger reported in September having $3.64 billion in fiscal 2021 sales, up 8.9% from the previous fiscal year.

Egger said the revenue growth came in part from new North American sales in the housing construction and furniture sectors. The Decorative Products Americas division, which includes market development activities in Lexington, increased revenues by more than 32% to $212.9 million.

“In light of the supply chain disruptions experienced around the world this year, increasing production capacity is one of the best ways we can serve our customers in the United States and Canada,” Ritterbach said.

The third production line will increase capacity of thermally fused laminate products by at least 50%, as well as expand the product mix for the North American marketplace.

Those products require production lines that use short-cycle presses to fuse resin-soaked decor papers onto particleboard, forming a sealed, non-porous surface. The process allows for a variety of colors and textures for use in furniture and interior design applications.

The manufacturer projects new recycling facilities will become operational in early 2023.

Egger said it currently uses pre-consumer recycled materials, like sawdust and wood chips from sawmills and other wood producers.

The new investment includes large scale grinders and sifters that will allow for the recycling of wooden construction waste, such as boxes, pallets and trimmed wood into additional raw material for particleboard production.

“These recycling facilities will increase availability of raw materials within 90 miles of our facility while furthering Egger’s sustainability goals,” Ritterbach said.

“This will reduce delivery costs and vehicle emissions, while also keeping this waste wood out of local landfills.”

Egger plans to build more than 4.5 million square feet of production space during the three phases on more than 200 acres.

Altogether, Egger has 20 plants globally with a workforce of 10,400.

The average Egger salary is $40,000, according to the Davidson County Economic Development Commission.

Egger has been made eligible for up to $5.3 million in performance-based incentives from the state Job Development Investment Grant, up to $2.5 million from the One North Carolina Fund, and $2.5 million in matching local incentives.

336-727-7376

@rcraverWSJ

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