Haley: India trip yields jobs for rural South Carolina county

Gov. Nikki Haley is shown in November 2014 speaking before the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in New Delhi. She says the 10-day trade mission to India helped bring 65 jobs and a $20 million invesement to rural Williamsburg County.

About 65 jobs and a $20 million investment are coming to a rural area with one of the highest unemployment rates in South Carolina.

United Phosphorus Inc., a maker of insecticides and other specialty chemicals for the agricultural and aquatics markets, plans to set up its first U.S. production site in Kingstree, Gov. Nikki Haley’s office announced Wednesday.

The company plans to start hiring by late 2016 and ramp up employment in the Williamsburg County seat over the next several years.

Haley said the Kingstree deal took root after she and other South Carolina officials met with UPI executives during a 10-day trade mission to India in 2014. The Pennsylvania-based company’s ownership group is from Mumbai.

The S.C. Commerce Department said UPI said will renovate and modernize an existing 520,000-square-foot building on 60 acres at 1457 Eastland Ave.

“The opening of our first U.S. full production facility will allow UPI to locally enhance our new product development pipeline that is expected to produce over twelve new products in the next eighteen months,” executive Vicente Gongora said in a statement. “Our new facility will allow us to meet that demand and provide the market flexibility that is needed for high value brands, as well as to better serve our customers.”

The state Coordinating Council for Economic Development provided a $600,000 grant to the county to offset property improvement costs. UPI can claim South Carolina tax credits based on the jobs it creates.

Williamsburg County’s unemployment rate of 8.7 percent for March was the sixth highest in the state.

UPI’s parent is UPL Limited, formerly United Phosphorus Ltd. It is a global crop-protection and seed company with customers in more than 123 countries.