An Italian producer of biostimulants for the agriculture industry has tweaked its initial planned investment and job creation numbers at its 46,000-square-foot Orangeburg plant.

Valagro announced Jan. 16 it is increasing its capital investment to $27.3 million from initial plans of $14.1 million and decreasing its full-time jobs to 33 from its initial 47, according to Orangeburg County Attorney Jerrod Anderson.

The company will invest about $18.3 million in buildings and $8.9 in machinery and equipment.

Valagro officials break ground Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019, on the Italian company’s first manufacturing facility in the United States at the Orange…

“They wish to extend the initial investment period to an additional eight years with an option of coming back for an extension of those eight years to 10 years, pending a resolution by the county if necessary after the eight years,” Anderson told council during its January meeting.

Orangeburg County Council gave unanimous first reading by title only, amending the tax incentive agreement with the company.

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Council gave the reading under the project code name “Renew.” Companies typically do not want their names revealed until third and final reading.

“The capital investment and job projections provided in 2018 were based on the original plan for the Orangeburg site to produce two technologies: plant biostimulants and micronutrients,” Valagro Global Head of Communications, Biologicals Kate White said. “In the four years since, market dynamics, market expansion, inflation impact on cost of goods and the unprecedented global pandemic required an adjustment in our sourcing plans.”

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“As a result, Valagro has decided to focus on, and expand, the production of plant biostimulants at the Orangeburg site only,” White continued. “Our additional investment of $13.2 million ensures higher volumes of plant biostimulants while enhancing sustainability measures for the site, including rainwater retention and process water recycling systems.

“As growers increasingly adopt more sustainable biological technologies, we are building a flexible design for the site, to address expected growth and expansion.”

Council initially gave first reading by title only in June 2023, but other readings were not done as Valagro was still working out details of the project, according to Harold Young, Orangeburg County administrator. Valagro at that time had not begun construction.

The county entered into an incentive agreement with Valagro in 2018, but the company was not able to fulfill the requirements to receive the performance-based, five-year incentives.

Valagro, which first announced plans to locate in Orangeburg in 2018, was purchased in October 2020 by Syngenta Crop Protection, a subsidiary of Sygenta Group.

The transaction delayed the company’s progress at its Orangeburg plant.

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Upon the purchase of Valagro, Syngenta conducted its own due diligence to see if there were other options within its existing manufacturing base to accommodate the capacity that would be provided but concluded Orangeburg remains the most attractive option and the capital project was subsequently sanctioned.

Valagro has continued to operate as an independent brand within the Syngenta Crop Protection business.

The company is locating at 397 Millennium Drive at the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park.

The property is located near Allied Air and HT Hackney.

The Orangeburg County operation is Valagro’s first manufacturing facility in the United States.

The building’s targeted completion date is the fourth quarter of this year.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.

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