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Ardagh talks expansion in Winston-Salem in light of incentives from city and Forsyth County
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Ardagh talks expansion in Winston-Salem in light of incentives from city and Forsyth County

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Metal can manufacturer Ardagh Group is sending strong signals that local efforts to woo a company expansion here have paid off.

Fresh on the heels of approval by Winston-Salem, Forsyth County on Thursday approved incentives meant to encourage a local maker of aluminum cans to expand operations here.

The county incentives amount to $2.75 million and would be paid out over five years to Ardagh Group’s American division, which has its largest American can-manufacturing plant on Old Milwaukee Lane in Winston-Salem.

In a letter to the county, Ardagh officials used words that very strongly suggest the expansion will happen here rather than elsewhere:

“This latest expansion at Winston-Salem is indicative of Ardagh’s consistent commitment to supporting customer growth,” Claude Marbach, the chief executive of Ardagh Metal — Beverage North America, was quoted as saying by Joshua Markus, Ardagh’s general counsel for North America.

With support from Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, Markus said, “the facility will continue to produce beverage cans in multiple sizes for a variety of categories, including sparking water, soft drinks, teas and alcoholic beverages.”

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Company officials said the expansion is part of a $2.1 billion investment worldwide that’s being carried out to meet growing demand for beverage cans — cans that the company said are attractive environmentally because of their high recycling rates.

In return for the incentives, the company is promising to bring at least 94 jobs paying an average wage of $77,300 per year plus benefits, and invest $195 million in machinery, equipment and building improvements.

On Monday, Winston-Salem approved incentives amounting to $2.4 million, also paid out over five years.

In both cases, the amount of the incentives is tied to how much additional revenue the company brings in to the city and county.

Ardagh has 243 full-time employees here and operates six high-speed can production lines. Should the company decide to carry out the expansion here, it would add two additional lines.

In addition to the local incentives, it is possible Ardagh will get state incentives totaling $750,000.

Officials have said Ardagh is also considering sites in South Carolina and Georgia, but that didn’t come up on Thursday during the meeting of the board of commissioners.

Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines said Thursday night he was optimistic about the expansion after the county’s action and the company’s letter to commissioners.

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@wyoungWSJ

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Winston-Salem chapter of the NAACP said in a news release that Commissioner Tonya McDaniel did nothing illegal in applying for a grant of more than $40,000, though she did show a lapse of judgment. Arnita Miles, a community activist and a former Winston-Salem police officer, publicly accused McDaniel of misappropriating the money and called on her to resign from her commissioner seat. 

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