A major producer of specialty chemicals and coatings is expanding its Chattanooga plant and adding to its workforce.
Akzo Nobel is spending almost $6.7 million on an addition to its Mueller Avenue facility, said Brent Burke, the site manager for the plant known for many years as Alco Chemical.
The expansion at the plant, which produces about 120 million pounds of various products annually, will be used to make additives in the paper-making process, he said.
Business: maker of decorative paints, performance coatings and specialty chemicals
Employees: 55,000 in 80 countries
Revenues: $5.5 billion (third quarter)
Net income: $201 million (third quarter)
"It will be for one of our sister divisions," said Burke. "We'll ship it to another location. It will be used in various paper-making facilities across the country."
Plans are to add seven employees, pushing the plant's workforce to about 108 workers, he said. The addition is slated for a June 30 completion, the site manager said.
J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing, said the city is fortunate to have companies make investments in long-standing plants and create jobs.
"We know existing industries create more of our jobs in the long term," he said.
Tim Spires, Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association chief, said Akzo Nobel and its predecessor Alco are longtime members.
"It's exciting news to hear from them that they've got an opportunity to grow and add jobs," he said. "It shows confidence in the community."
David DeVaney, NAI Charter Real Estate Corp. president, said his commercial real estate business is working with several companies that wouldn't have given Chattanooga a look a few years ago.
He said companies such as Volkswagen and Amazon have helped put the city on the radar screens of other businesses.
"In the Southeast, our story is being heard," De-Vaney said.
Holland-based Akzo is a global Fortune 500 company that bought Alco's parent, Imperial Chemical Industries, in 2008.
Burke said Akzo's Chattanooga facility makes a variety of products, including an additive that goes into paper as well as polymer used in laundry detergents. Also, he said, the company produces water treatment chemicals.
Burke said business so far this year is up by more than 6 percent over 2010.
Akzo brands include Dulux, Sikkens, International and Eka.