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CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Gov. Phil Bredesen is scheduled to be here this morning to announce that a German-based chemical company with facilities worldwide will make a $1 billion investment in Bradley County.

The company - reported to be Wacker Chemie AG - is expected to employ nearly 600 people in its first phase at a plant built near the Hiwassee River off Interstate 75 in Charleston, Tenn. Planning and engineering will take about two years, local officials have said.

The governor's communications office Wednesday called the announcement a "major economic development project."

The company requested anonymity during negotiations and was referred to as "M-M Cleveland LLC" during local discussions and votes on about $10 million in local and $17 million in state incentives.

Even on the eve of the announcement, local officials would not confirm the name. But sources close to the negotiations confirmed that the plant is Wacker Chemie AG, a global firm with products ranging from the automotive and transportation sector to energy, plastics and composites to textiles.

It is believed the Charleston plant will make products used in solar energy production.

This is the third $1 billion plant announcement in a year in Tennessee and the second recent big investment by a German company.

In December, Gov. Bredesen announced that Hemlock Semiconductor and Dow Corning will build a $1 billion-plus solar panel plant in Clarksville, Tenn.

Last July, Germany-based Volkswagen said it would build an assembly plant at Enterprise South industrial park in Chattanooga.

This morning's announcement will be at the Dixon Center at Lee University. Gov. Bredesen will be accompanied by state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matt Kisber; U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and TVA Senior Vice President John Bradley, along with local officials, according to a news release.

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