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Mohawk Invests $60 Million To Expand Oak River North Extrusion And Yarn Site

Mohawk Industries Inc., Calhoun, Ga., will invest $60 million to expand its Oak River North Extrusion and Yarn manufacturing facility in Bennettsville, Marlboro County, S.C. The plant, which began operations in 2006 and underwent a previous expansion in 2008, currently employs more than 400 people. The new investment will enable the addition of 87,500 square feet of manufacturing space as well as new yarn conversion equipment, and also is expected to create 150 new jobs at that facility over the next two years.

Oak River North produces bulk continuous filament yarn from nylon 6, polyester and triexta polytrimethylene terephthalate polymers for various Mohawk carpet products. The partially biobased triexta yarn, made from DuPont™ Sorona® polymer, is used to produce Mohawk's SmartStrand carpets.

Demand for Oak River North's products has increased while the need for other extruded products has dropped in recent years, and Mohawk has had to scale back production at other facilities, according to Larry Perugini, the company's vice president, yarn and extrusion manufacturing.

"We have been very pleased with the results of the Oak River North Extrusion and Yarn operations. The people at the facility have been key contributors to our company's success, and we are grateful for their good work and dedication," Perugini said.

"In some other areas of the state, we've actually reduced jobs, with the economy being what it is, and this is an expansion in an area where it's desperately needed," he said. "As Mohawk's needs for fiber and yarn evolve with changes in consumer demand, we have to analyze our assets and invest at locations that can help us fulfill our customers' preferences."

News of the expansion is certainly welcome for the residents of Marlboro County, which registered an unemployment rate of 17.6 percent in May 2010 — third-highest among all counties in South Carolina — compared with the statewide average of 11.0 percent, according to the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

July/August 2010

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