Samsung will invest $380 million in a Newberry County plant that will make home appliances and create 950 jobs during the next three years.
The South Korea-based company will initially make washing machines at the former Caterpillar plant at 284 Mawsons Way in Newberry, near the interchange of I-26 and S.C. 219. The facility is expected to be in operation in early 2018.
“South Carolina is home to national baseball and basketball champions,” said Newberry County Council Chairman Buddy Livingston, referring to national championships won this year by Clemson University’s football and USC women’s basketball teams. “Now it can claim another title – we feel like we won the world cup of electronics and manufacturers.”
Gov. Henry McMaster said Samsung’s decision “will change the very fabric of the Newberry community.”
Samsung will become the second-largest employer in the county, behind Kraft Foods, officials said. The company is one of the world’s leading builders of appliances, televisions, smartphones, cameras and digital appliances.
“For nearly 40 years, Samsung has steadily expanded our operations in the United States, creating thousands of jobs and investing billions of dollars in cutting-edge manufacturing facilities, research and development,” Samsung Electronics America chief executive Tim Baxter said in a news release. “With this investment, Samsung is reaffirming its commitment to expanding its U.S. operations and deepening our connection to American consumers, engineers and innovators.”
Samsung began contemplating an expansion of its U.S. production base nearly three years ago and initiated discussions with South Carolina last fall, company officials said.
Newberry County was selected because of its skilled workforce, robust supply chain, location near I-26 that provides access to the Port of Charleston and a commitment to public-private partnerships, the company said.
“This new investment will enable Samsung to increase the speed with which we can deliver premium home appliances that reflect the regional preferences of our fastest-growing and most important consumer market,” said B.K. Yoon, a company executive who oversees electronics manufacturers.
Newberry County was one of two finalists in the nation for the project, Livingston said. McMaster hosted Samsung executives at the Governor’s Mansion this spring as part of the effort to recruit the company to South Carolina.
“This is huge, no two ways about it,” said Rick Farmer, Newberry County’s economic development director.
Samsung’s arrival is good news for the nearly 300 workers at the Caterpillar plant, which is closing, Farmer said. Wages are expected to average “in the neighborhood” of $18 per hour, he said.
Those interested in applying for a job at the plant may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Eventually, applicants will be able to visit readysc.org, but information about the Newberry plant was not yet on that website Wednesday afternoon.
The plant will employ workers in a variety of manufacturing roles, including craftsmen, operators, engineers and other technical and non-technical positions, the company said.
Newberry County’s jobless rate was 3.2 percent in May, the fourth-lowest in the state.
The S.C. Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits for the project.
Staff Writer Tim Flach contributed to this report.
Location: 40 miles northwest of downtown Columbia. Home to Newberry College. One of four counties surrounding Lake Murray.
Population: Slightly more than 38,000, according to U.S. Census estimate, spread across seven small towns and farms.
Size: 647 square miles
Joblessness: 3.2 percent unemployment rate in May, down from 4.3 percent a year ago
Major employers: Kraft Foods, Georgia-Pacific and Kiswire