A 30-year-old Irish manufacturer of paper and plastic bags will create 87 full-time jobs when it opens its first U.S. plant in Delaware next month.
AB Group Packaging is expected to open its new manufacturing facility in the Newark area, according to Pete Bothum, a spokesman for the Delaware Economic Development Office (DEDO).
The company is currently in leasing negotiations and an exact site has not yet been determined, he said.
DEDO's Council on Development Finance on Monday approved a pair of Strategic Loan Fund grants for the company. A $253,365 performance grant will be tied to the company making the promised new hires by 2017, while the firm will be eligible for a $120,000 capital expenditure grant once it spends $4 million on improvements at the future site of its new plant.
"Our management team was completely bowled over by the 'can do' attitude, fantastic training centers and support structure in place," AB Group Packaging CEO Dermot Brady said of Delaware in a statement released Tuesday. "We were looking for the very best America has to offer and we believe we have found it here."
Founded in 1985, AB Group Packaging makes products for commercial retailers such as T.J. Maxx, Nike and Hard Rock Café, as well as flexible packaging products for industrial customers like Ball Packaging, Crown Cork and Weber Charcoal.
AB Group Packaging's move to the U.S. follows last year's announcement that its largest customer, the Irish clothing retailer Primark, had signed leases to operate stores inside or in place of seven Sears' locations in the Northeast, including Pennsylvania's King of Prussia and Willow Grove Park malls.
AB Group Packaging currently operates plants in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom. A plant the company opened in South Wales in 2010 began with 34 workers and how employs 90, with plans to grow to 200 workers in the next three years, according to a release issued by DEDO on Tuesday.
Brady, who founded the company with his father, has indicated he expects to see the same type of growth in Delaware.
"Mr. Brady is looking for people with the right attitude and work ethic. I believe he will find that here in Delaware," DEDO Director Alan Levin said in a statement. "Delaware boasts a well-trained, highly skilled middle class workforce that can staff this round of hiring, as well as any future expansions."
Information about when the company will begin hiring at its Newark-area plant, minimum requirements for those jobs and a salary pay range were not immediately available.