South Korean company buys Rogersville plant

Jeff Bobo • Sep 18, 2007 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — A South Korean company has purchased the former Assured Casting plant in Rogersville and is expected to begin operations with up to 100 new employees by spring of 2008.

The Sam Dong Co. Ltd. of South Korea announced Tuesday it had acquired the plant at 300 Industrial Park Drive in Rogersville, which has been vacant since Assured Casting closed its doors in 2005.

The plant previously manufactured aluminum castings, but Sam Dong will retrofit it to produce specialty magnet wire products used in electrical transformers, electric motors and generators. Sam Dong has been in business in South Korea for 30 years and exports its products globally.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Sam Dong CEO Ee Joo Lee said his company is excited about this strategic opportunity for growth in North America.

Leon Molloy, president of the North American branch of the company, said Rogersville is the ideal location for Sam Dong to locate this new facility. Molloy added that from the company’s new Rogersville location “the North American market and some export opportunities can be very effectively served.”

“Sam Dong looks forward to being part of the industrial community of Hawkins County and will move very quickly to convert the factory to this new product,” Molloy said.

The 80,000-square-foot plant is located on 10 acres in the Rogersville Industrial Park. Modifications to the building and installation of equipment will begin immediately, and Hawkins County Industrial Recruiter Lynn Lawson said the plant is expected to open in March.

Assured Casting employed about 150 people when it ceased operation in 2005. Sam Dong expects to employ 25 to 50 people initially and up to 100 when it reaches full production.

Lawson said that for the time being, employment inquiries can be made at his office at 272-7668. There’s no word yet on when the hiring process will begin.

Sam Dong became aware of the former Assured Casting plant through the Northeast Tennessee Regional Industrial Development Association, which is funded by the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“They were looking for an existing plant that could be converted to their needs fairly easily,” Lawson said. “We were in competition with a plant somewhere in Virginia. Before making the decision they talked to our other industries. They liked the school system, the banking institutions worked with them, and they were very pleased with our responsiveness and the people they met.”

Lawson said the plant has also been offered tax incentives from the Industrial Board, but no incentives have been finalized as of yet.

The plant manager will be Sun Gi Park from South Korea, but Lawson said the vast majority of the plant employees will be hired locally.

“They haven’t said anything about salaries yet, but I think they’ll be very competitive,” Lawson said. “They’re looking for good people, so they told me they expect to pay pretty good with benefits.”

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