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SKC opens new plant

Elaborate flower arrangements from area businesses and industries greeted SKC executives arriving for the ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning.

Elaborate flower arrangements from area businesses and industries greeted SKC executives arriving for the ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday morning.

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Local officials and SKC representatives donned white gloves and cut the ribbon with red-tassled silver scissors.

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Covington Mayor Kim Carter accepts a $30,000 check from SKC Chairman Shin Won Choi. Board of Commissioners Chairman Kathy Morgan later accepted a $20,000 check. SKC is donating a total of $50,000 to six local organizations.

COVINGTON -- Officials with SKC Inc. are operating under the notion that the future is here, and they are ready to meet it head on.

The industry officially opened its new photovoltaic films plant at the Covington site off Hazelbrand Road on Tuesday morning. The new plant produces a film called ethylene vinyl acetate, or EVA, that protects and weatherproofs solar panels. It's part of SKC's focus on renewable energy, based on market studies and customer demand, said David Kim, director of SKC's EVA Division. The plant produced its first roll of film on Sept. 15.

SKC is already a world leader, with a more than 45 percent global market share in polyester film production, and now aims to "become a one-stop total photovoltaic films solutions provider," Kim said.

SKC President Jang Suk Park said the company has taken to heart the philosophy of "Think globally, act locally."

"We have heard the voice of our customers and we've implemented their wishes," he said.

Covington Mayor Kim Carter was on hand, with a host of other local officials, to offer congratulations.

"Our partnership over the years has continued to blossom and grow. We are grateful to have SKC in our community and you all ... are a great corporate citizen," she said.

In celebration of the expansion, SKC officials announced that they are donating $50,000 to community organizations. The money will be divided between the following agencies: Miracle League of Newton County; Newton County College and Career Academy; Newton County Relay for Life; the Arts Association in Newton County; Covington Police Department; and Operation Sandbox.

The first phase of the expansion is expected to generate 100 jobs. The second phase is set to begin construction after 2013. All told, the expansion represents a $100 million investment and will create 120 new jobs and allow for retention of 250 jobs.

The state offered SKC an $8.5 million incentive package to expand in Georgia. The company was also looking at sites in other states, including Arizona and California. Local officials also offered a seven-year tax abatement for both phases of the build out, with the company to pay no taxes for the first three years and collections increasing incrementally by 25 percent the following four years. The Newton County Industrial Development Authority was awarded an Economic Development Growth and Expansion award of $350,000 to purchase machinery and equipment for the expansion.

SKC opened another expansion last year, the polyurethane systems plant, which produces polyurethane foam used as cushion for car seats and furniture and as insulation for homes, refrigerators and other appliances.