Kumho Not Ready to Start South Bibb Plant

12:43 PM, Aug 24, 2012   |    comments
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Kumho Tires says it still plans to build its $225 million plant in south Bibb County -- but isn't ready to say when.

Clifford Whitby, Chairman of the Macon-Bibb Industrial Authority, says company officials met with the authority Thursday for an update.

He said Kumho talked about being hurt by the global economic decline and asked Macon-Bibb officials to "work" with them.

Delays on the plant mean local authorities may have to modify public bonds issued for the project, he said.

But he said the company remains committed to building in the Sofkee Industrial Park

Whitby said, "We are getting very close to be able an announce a date when Kumho will be able to start construction on Highway 247 in Bibb County."

The South Korean company manufactures high-end high-performance tires.

In May 2008, they announced plans for the south Bibb plant and said it would employ more than 400 people in high-paying manufacturing jobs.

The plant was originally scheduled to open in 2009, but Kumho has delayed its start at least twice.

Last year, they said work on the plant may not start until 2013.

Mayor Robert Reichert attended Thursday's meeting with Kumho. His spokesman, Chris Floore, said the mayor is excited that the plant is still coming, but he had no further information on the start date.

David Koh, spokesman for Kumho's American headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., said any update on the Macon plant would have to come from corporate headquarters in South Korea.

Last week, Reuters reported that the "cash-strapped" company's stock in South Korea tumbled for eight days after Kumho announced a possible capital writeoff later this year. That means the company would adjust its books to show that some of its assets are overvalued.


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