SEMCORP Selects Western Ohio for $916M Plant

The project represents the state's largest foreign direct investment.

SEMCORP Advanced Materials Group has selected Sidney, Ohio, as the site of a $916 million manufacturing facility that will make separator film, a key component in batteries for electric vehicles.

Aerial view of the Sidney Ohio Industrial Park in Sidney, Ohio. Image courtesy of Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership

SEMCORP Advanced Materials Group has selected Sidney, Ohio, as the site of a $916 million manufacturing facility that will make separator film, a key component in batteries for electric vehicles. The 850,000-square-foot manufacturing plant will create nearly 1,200 jobs with an annual payroll of $73 million.

The facility will be the largest foreign direct investment in Ohio and one of the biggest investments in the Chinese company’s history. It will also make SEMCORP the largest manufacturer of separator film for EV batteries in the U.S. As the push for more electric vehicles grows in the U.S., SEMCORP’s products will be used by leading EV battery makers across North America.

The company was also considering Texas before deciding on Sidney, located in Shelby County, about 35 miles north of Dayton, Ohio, in the western part of the state.

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James Shih, SEMCORP’s group vice president of global projects, said in a prepared statement the company chose Sidney because of the state’s impressive commitment to vocational education, preparedness for a large-scale project like SEMCORP’s, the strong work ethic in the region and proximity to key customers.

Shelby County is part of the I-75 corridor, with four interchanges within the Sidney city limits. I-70 is 30 minutes south of Sidney. With access to both interstates, Sidney is a day’s drive from most major Eastern and Midwestern cities. There are two airports, Sidney Municipal Airport and Dayton International Airport, as well as railroad access through the region.

Tax incentives

State and local incentives, including tax breaks, also helped sweeten the deal in Ohio. In March, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 15-year, 2.1 percent tax credit with an estimated value of $22.7 million that requires SEMCORP to operate the plant for at least 18 years.

The city of Sidney has recently approved a Job Creation Tax Credit and Enterprise Zone Agreement that gives SEMCORP a 15-year tax credit of about $1.2 million. That could increase to as much as $1.5 million a year if the company creates more jobs than initially estimated, according to the Dayton Business Journal. The business journal reported Sidney is also making road and infrastructure improvements in the area and has received $2 million in grants from the Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Department of Development for the work.

The facility will be built at the 250-acre Sidney Ohio Industrial Park off Millcreek and Kutcher roads.

Jim Hill, executive director, Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership, said SEMCORP will be purchasing the entire site and “plans to proceed with construction as soon as possible.” The plant could be completed by next year, according to the Dayton Daily News.

Hill said approximately half the site will be developed in phase one of the project. “The site will accommodate a second phase that could happen at a later date,” he added.

Ready for development

The industrial park has been flagged for major industrial development since 2016 and has been authenticated, meaning it is entitled and ready for development, by JobsOhio’s SiteOhio program in 2021. The authenticated site status ensures the site is free of any detriments that may slow or stop the development.

“Our strong manufacturing history, proactive workforce development initiative and well-infrastructured, SiteOhio Authenticated Industrial Park were significant factors in the SEMCORP decision,” Hill told Commercial Property Executive. He noted that annual manufacturing exports in the county total $7.1 billion and Shelby County is number one per capita in manufacturing employment in the state.

The Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership was among a group of state, local and economic professionals who teamed up to demonstrate why Ohio was the best location for the SEMCORP investment, said J.P. Nauseef, JobsOhio president & CEO. Officials with the City of Sidney, Shelby County and Dayton Development Coalition were also part of the effort.

SEMCORP’s decision to locate in Sidney comes nearly four months after Intel revealed plans to build a massive central Ohio manufacturing campus with an initial $20 billion investment that could eventually reach $100 billion. Located east of Columbus in Licking County, the company will build multiple semiconductor plants on a nearly 1,000-acre site.

Hill said site selection on the SEMCORP project started in Sidney in April 2021, long before the Intel announcement.

“But the Intel decision has solidified Ohio’s position as an advanced manufacturing leader,” Hill told CPE.

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