Synthetic Graphite Manufacturer Expanding in South Carolina

Project will create 100 new jobs.

Showa Denko Carbon Inc., a Ridgeville, S.C.-based manufacturer of synthetic graphite for electric-arc-furnace steelmaking and other industrial applications, plans to expand its Ridgeville operations.

The company likely will invest several hundred million dollars, creating approximately 100 new jobs, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

Showa Denko Carbon started operations in 1983 and was acquired by the Japan-based chemical producer Showa Denko KK in 1988. The company produces graphite electrodes and granular graphite used by the steel and automotive industries.

Showa Denko Carbon expects the expansion to be completed by mid-2013.

"We operate quietly in rural Dorchester County, but our impact has been significant in the U.S. electric-furnace steel industry and around the world," Robert Whitten, president and CEO of Showa Denko Carbon. "Because our business has been successful and we see growing demand for high-quality graphite electrodes, we have decided to expand within the overall framework of SDK's new medium-term business plan, PEGASUS. We believe this decision will be good for our customers and the community."

Showa Denko Carbon has operated the plant in Dorchester County since 1988 and supplies approximately 40% of the nation's large-diameter, ultrahigh-power graphite electrodes from the facility, according to the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

"Showa Denko's decision to expand in our market sends a powerful message to industry leaders worldwide," said Sean Bennett, chairman of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. "It's especially exciting when a global company with such deep roots in our region is not only successful but also sees future growth opportunities here."

The company's Ridgeville operations employ more than 220 people. The company expects to begin hiring by 2012.

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