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YOUNGSTOWN Exal plans to add jobs



Published: Wed, August 1, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The container-maker wants to expand its plant and add new manufacturing equipment.

By ROGER G. SMITH

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Not many companies are expanding while the national economy is stalled. One that is, however, is in the city.

Exal Corp. wants to invest $12.6 million in a project that will create 66 solid-paying jobs over the next four years.

The project would include Exal's buying its building, enlarging it and adding expensive equipment for another manufacturing line.

The company has applied for a 10-year, 75-percent tax abatement on all real and personal property connected with the project. The application will go to city council at a special meeting later this month.

About the company: Exal makes aluminum containers, such as aerosol cans, for a wide range of industries.

Despite the notoriously cyclical aluminum industry, economic downturns don't hurt the company as they do many others, said David Bozanich, deputy city finance director in the economic development office. That's why Exal can expand now, he said.

The company, which opened in 1993 in the Performance Place Industrial Park, estimates sales at $30 million a year.

The company is technologically advanced and pays solid wages, about $32,500 a year plus benefits. That makes it a prime example of a business the city is glad to have.

"We'd like to have 10 more of them if we could," Bozanich said. "These types of projects make the community work."

What's planned: One step is Exal's spending $3.3 million to buy the building it occupies. The company leases the building from a developer who put it up and had the original tax abatement. In July, the city approved a move that assigns the abatement to Exal.

Adding 72,000 square feet to the building for a fifth manufacturing line, at a cost of $2.8 million, is another step. The company wants to start building immediately and finish in October.

The application indicates that sixth, seventh and eighth manufacturing lines could come in the next few years.

Company officials weren't available to comment Tuesday.

The biggest single investment would be spending $6 million in high-tech equipment for the new manufacturing line.

The building will house an additional $500,000 in inventory, rounding out the expansion.

Exal estimates its investment in the plant so far at $45.7 million.

Payroll growth: The company has 108 full-time workers now. It would add 15 to 18 workers in each of the next four years, 66 total by 2004.

The jobs will add $2.1 million to the company's $4.3 million annual payroll.

The new jobs will generate $11,000 to $13,000 in city income tax a year in each of the four years.

The project would generate $255,000 in personal property taxes and $154,000 in real property taxes over the 10-year tax abatement.

rgsmith@vindy.com




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