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Olin moving East Alton, Ill., plant to Mississippi
Thursday November 4, 2010, 11:21 am EDT

Olin moving East Alton, Ill., ammunition operations to Mississippi

EAST ALTON, Ill. (AP) -- Despite the urging of two federal lawmakers, Olin Corp. says it is moving an ammunition plant and 1,000 jobs from Illinois to Mississippi.

The Clayton, Mo.-based Olin said Wednesday that its Winchester Centerfire Operations in East Alton will be relocated to Oxford, Miss.

The move was opposed by Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Jerry Costello, who wrote a letter in August to Olin President and CEO Joseph Rupp.

In the letter, the legislators said they had worked hard on Capitol Hill to help Olin get sizable government contracts. Those deals included supplying Winchester munitions to the Army and a $54 million deal the lawmakers called "the largest ammunition contract in the history of federal law enforcement."

The relocation is expected to take place over several years.

Rupp said in a statement that Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and the state "stepped forward with significant incentives."

Rupp said Mississippi offered an undisclosed amount of incentives to attract Olin, which announced in August it could save $30 million by moving its Centerfire operations to Oxford.

Part of the incentives package includes the Mississippi Development Authority providing Lafayette County with $25 million through the Mississippi Industry Incentive Financing Revolving Fund to build a new 500,000-square-foot building for Olin. It will be next to the current Winchester facility in Oxford and will be publicly owned. The county also is providing the site and site preparation work.

Barbour, in a statement issued by the MDA, said Olin will invest about $100 million to create 1,000 new jobs over the next five years.

"Having a business climate where existing operations can expand and new industries can thrive is a point of pride for all Mississippians." said Barbour.

MDA spokeswoman Sally Williams said a memorandum of understanding between the state and Olin is in the works, and details of the lease agreement have not been worked out, she said. It's not clear when the hiring process will start.

Max Hipp, president and CEO of the Oxford/Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, said the decision "demonstrates Olin-Winchester's confidence in our community and reflects positively on our area's work force."

"Those jobs will (create) a lot of indirect jobs, a lot of good payroll", said Hipp.

Source: Associated Press

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