NAPOLEON - Campbell Soup Co. plans to spend $50 million to upgrade and expand its northwest Ohio soup and juice factories, part of which will add new products such as beverages based on nutrient-packed sweet potatoes and its classic tomato soup in a microwaveable bowl.
The project, to be completed over 18 months involves 25 elements, with the single biggest being the installation of a $17 million soup cooker, said company spokesman John Faulkner.
Campbell Soup has 1,200 full-time and 500 seasonal employees at the Napoleon factories, which primarily make soups and juices for one of the nation's largest packaged food companies. The latest investment will not create jobs but helps ensure employment, Mr. Faulkner said.
"The more products you can provide, the better off you are keeping people busy," he said.
The Camden, N.J., company expects to spend $2 million on equipment to produce juices based on sweet potatoes, but Mr. Faulkner declined to comment further on the product. The firm is adding the capability to make microwavable bowls of classic tomato soup, which this fall will join the microwavable lineup of classic vegetable and chicken noodle, he said.
Henry County commissioners yesterday approved a 60 percent tax abatement over 10 years for the project, echoing a nod received this week from Harrison Township trustees..
The value of the abatement will depend on how tax reform shakes out and the timing of the investment, said Denise Dahl, executive director of the Henry County Community Improvement Corp.
"It's a substantial investment at a time when companies aren't doing substantial investments," she said.
Campbell Soup pays $4 million in taxes locally, Mr. Faulkner said.
The Ohio Department of Development has not received an application from Campbell's for tax incentives.
Campbell Soup has made a series of investments in its Napoleon factories, spending about $26 million last year to meet increasing demand for juice in plastic bottles.
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