New Braunfels lands CGT’s new factory

January 6, 2016

Canadian firm plans plant slated to cost $80 million, to add 275 jobs to area

By Zeke MacCormack, San Antonio express

SAN ANTONIO – In the largest successful business recruitment for New Braunfels in decades, a Canadian firm that manufactures coated fabrics and films for industrial uses plans to invest $80 million in a new factory there that will create 275 new jobs.
The announcement by Canadian General Tower and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday capped months of negotiations over city, county and state incentives to lure the firm that also had considered sites in South Carolina and Tennessee.

“Thanks to our skilled workforce, low-tax and low-regulation climate, Texas will continue to attract industry leaders like CGT,” Abbott said in a prepared statement on the deal struck with CGT U.S. Ltd. “We are proving that when given the opportunity, the Lone Star State can compete and win against any economy in the world.”

He said the state offered a $2 million Texas Enterprise Fund grant to the firm, which manufactures pool liners, automotive parts coverings, roofing and decking. It employs 650 people and has factories in China and in its home of Ontario.
“This new facility will enhance our customer experience by providing an additional source of CGT’s premium vinyl cover stock for our automotive and industrial customers,” CEO Craig Richardson said in the release.

Construction is expected to start soon on a 240,000-square-foot manufacturing plant, slated for completion by year’s end, on 28 acres in a new industrial park.

The initial investment is projected at $17 million for the building, $30 million in machinery and equipment, and $13 million in inventory, officials said, with jobs there slated to pay an average of $41,000 annually.

The site is behind the Wal-Mart distribution center on Interstate 35, which New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce President Michael Meek called the last local business comparable to CGT’s magnitude that the city landed, in the 1980s.

“It really took a team effort by multiple entities to make this happen,” Meek said.

Under an incentive package that Comal County commissioners authorized last month, 60 percent of property taxes paid by CGT to the county over the next decade will be refunded if the firm invests at least $50 million locally and creates 150 or more jobs by 2019.

“We’re trying to bring in high-quality, higher-paying jobs, not just entry-level jobs,” Comal County Judge Sherman Krause said. “So many people who live here now drive to San Antonio and even Austin to work, and this is an opportunity to get quality jobs closer to home.”

New Braunfels also put out the welcome mat, authorizing $1.6 million in incentives for CGT over the next decade if it meets certain job-creation and investment benchmarks.

The firm agreed to invest $35 million by Jan. 1, 2017, and $50 million by January 2018, officials said, and to have a full-time workforce of 80 or more by the end of 2018, 150 by the end of 2019 and 200 by 2022.

“We feel comfortable we can meet all of those milestones,” Mike Robins, the company’s chief financial officer, told City Council at its Dec. 14 meeting.

Even with the incentives, New Braunfels Development Coordinator Jeff Jewell said the city is expected to bank nearly $2 million from CGT over the next decade through property taxes, sales taxes and franchise fees.

A visit to CGT’s headquarters in Ontario last fall convinced Mayor Barron Casteel the firm was a good fit for New Braunfels, where he said its initial product line is expected to include coverings for automotive dashboards and door panels.

“This is the type of industry we want to locate here. The value is real,” Casteel said, noting, “They’re not looking to relocate jobs. They’re looking to hire locally.”


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