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Japanese candy plant to create 90 jobs near Mebane

Posted September 3, 2013

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— A Japanese candy maker will open its first U.S. plant in Orange County, creating 90 jobs over the next three years, officials said Tuesday.

Morinaga & Co. Ltd. plans to invest $48 million in the 120,000-square-foot plant in the Buckhorn Economic Development District, off Interstate 40/85 east of Mebane. The average salary for the jobs will be $38,000 a year, plus benefits.

Founded in 1899 in Tokyo, Morinaga produces an array of confectionaries, such as milk caramel, chocolates, cookies, cocoa mix, ice cream sandwiches and sundae cups and has $1.75 billion in annual sales. Its North Carolina plant will produce a fruit-flavored soft candy called Hi-Chew, which is a top seller in Japan.

"North Carolina is well-known as a state which provides a remarkable business environment,” Masao Hoshino, chief executive of Morinaga's U.S. subsidiary, said in a statement. “We feel honored to be a member of the community and are determined to do our very best to contribute to the state, as well as to make our business in the U.S. a success.”

Morinaga has qualified for a grant of up to $264,000 from the One North Carolina Fund, which provides financial assistance to attract business projects to the state. Companies receive no money up front and must meet job and investment targets to obtain the funds.

Orange County and Mebane also have offered financial incentives to land the project, County Manager Frank Clifton said. The county's incentives, which haven't been disclosed, will be discussed at an upcoming public hearing and then voted on by the Board of Commissioners.

The state Department of Transportation also has agreed to improve access to the plant, and the Hillsborough campus of Durham Technical Community College will help train Morinaga's workers, Clifton said.

22 Comments

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  • zacksmill Sep 4, 2013

    Japan has to start making everything abroad now to avoid the radiation contamination. Look for lots more companies to flee Japan. If I was younger, I would learn Japanese and be an interpreter. Big money!

  • btneast Sep 4, 2013

    Does anyone really believe the average job will pay $38? Dont forget that ocean beach property I have for sale in Montana.

    That's not what it said.......the overall average salary for all jobs is 38K. You do know how an average is calculated? Some will make more than that, but some will make less......

  • superman Sep 4, 2013

    Does anyone really believe the average job will pay $38? Dont forget that ocean beach property I have for sale in Montana.

  • rushbot Sep 4, 2013

    the united states has had a colonial relationship with japan for years..a colony ships raw materials to the "motherland" and receives finished product in return.. ..i hope this plant makes yuzu jelly candy and allow us colonials to buy them..they are fantastic!!!

  • btneast Sep 4, 2013

    Are we to come to the conclusion that Japan is offshoreing jobs TO the US, and making products to thip back TO JAPAN? Is that what the US has come to? Yikes!

    It's a global economy now. If you restrict your customer base to just the U.S., you will not survive.

  • JPE Sep 4, 2013

    Are we to come to the conclusion that Japan is offshoreing jobs TO the US, and making products to thip back TO JAPAN?
    Is that what the US has come to?
    Yikes!

  • Bill Brasky Sep 3, 2013

    "I'll believe this when it actually happens...Orange Co. is "NOT" pro business", says I am not who you think I am

    Orange county has the lowest unemployment in the state.

  • whiffer1 Sep 3, 2013

    Well isn't that just about the sweetest thing you ever heard.

  • greymomma Sep 3, 2013

    I am very familiar with the area, but where the heck is the Buckhorn Economic Development District? Are they talking about the flea market grounds, the Petro/Dunkin Doughnuts station, or the north side of the interstate like Industry drive?

  • Triumph Sep 3, 2013

    "I'll believe this when it actually happens...Orange Co. is "NOT" pro business", says I am not who you think I am

    And you don't know what you think you know. It will happen.

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