published Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Italian tile firm to build plant in Loudon, Tenn.

Gov. Bill Haslam
Gov. Bill Haslam
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

PLANNED HIRING

Ceramica Del Conca is expected to start ramping up employment in early fall of 2013, an official said.

Four years of trying to attract an Italian company to East Tennessee paid off with plans by the business to invest $70 million in a new plant, officials said Wednesday.

Ceramica Del Conca, a $120 million-a-year maker of ceramic floor and wall tile, is aiming to hire nearly 180 workers for the facility it wants to build in Loudon County, about 80 miles northeast of Chattanooga.

Kathy Knight, assistant director of the county's Economic Development Agency, said the company liked Loudon's proximity to the raw materials it takes to make its products.

"They'll be using some out of Tennessee and North Carolina," she said.

Knight said Del Conca will erect a 320,000-square-foot facility for making its products, which are used in residential and commercial buildings.

Paolo Mularoni, president of Del Conca USA, said the new facilities will help it service the American and Canadian markets.

"Loudon is geographically located close to main U.S. highways and in close proximity to our sources of raw materials," he said in a statement.

The company, founded in 1979, sells its products to retailers such as Lowe's, said Knight. She said she's hopeful the announcement is an indicator of an improving residential and commercial building market.

The Del Conca site, located in Sugarlimb Industrial Park, also will serve as a research, showroom and administrative facility for the business, according to the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

"We're very appreciative of the investment in our state," Gov. Bill Haslam said in a news release.

The new jobs will include managerial, technical and engineering, administrative, production and distribution slots.

The Loudon facility is expected to begin operating by the end of next year with hiring done in two phases. After the first 100 workers are brought on board, the remaining 78 will be hired within six years, according to officials.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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