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Published: Tuesday, 7/26/2011

Monroe factory to add 30 local jobs

Steel-bar factory puts $67M into upgrades

BY SHEENA HARRISON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Gerdau Special Steel North America, a maker of steel bars for the automotive and trucking industries, is spending $67 million to upgrade a facility in Monroe and add 30 local jobs. Construction has begun.

Gerdau's North American division is based near Jackson, Mich., and is part of Brazil-based steel manufacturer Gerdau.

The company's multimillion-dollar investment is being used to install new equipment, construct new infrastructure, and boost production of steel bars through 2013, the company said in a statement.

"This new capital investment program for Monroe is indicative of Gerdau's optimism over the North American market, where we are seeing a market recovery from the historical low points witnessed earlier," Andre Gerdau Johannpete, chief executive officer, said in the statement.

The company employs about 150 at the facility in Monroe and plans to add about 30 jobs, said Dan Swallow, Monroe's director of economic and community development.

The city is considering whether to provide Gerdau a 50 percent property tax abatement for up to 12 years for the project.

Mr. Swallow noted that the Monroe upgrades are part of a $320 million investment in Gerdau's North American facilities.

The Michigan Economic Growth Authority approved a $9.2 million state tax credit in November for Gerdau's Monroe expansion as well as improvements at Gerdau plants near Jackson and Lansing.

Michigan competed with Arkansas for Gerdau's investment, according to the Michigan Economic Development Corp.



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