Munitions maker to invest $60 million in Georgia factory and hire 600 people

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ELLABELL, Ga. (AP) — An Italian company will invest $60 million on the Georgian coast to build a munitions manufacturing and distribution plant, with plans to hire 600 people.

Norma Precision will build its plant near the site of the new Hyundai electric vehicle plant in Bryan County, just northwest of the coastal city of Savannah, Georgia.

In July, Italian arms maker Beretta purchased Norma Precision and other ammunition makers from RUAG International, a Swiss government-owned company, for an undisclosed price. Norma Precision had previously announced that it was moving its headquarters to Georgia, setting up a factory in the Savannah suburb of Garden City.

Norma said 88 current employees in Georgia will be offered transfers. Employees will earn an average of $57,000 a year, company spokeswoman Rose de Vries said.

Last year, Norma Precision said it imported more than 400 containers of ammunition from factories in Europe, while delivering more than 30 million rounds of ammunition manufactured in the United States. De Vries said Norma would also export ammunition from the Georgia factory.

Norma Precision will benefit from a Georgia tax credit allowing her to deduct $3,500 per job annually from state income tax, up to $10.5 million over five years. If Norma Precision does not owe as much income tax, it will be able to recoup the remainder of the credit from income tax payments made by workers.

Bryan County officials also approved 10-year property tax relief for the company. It could be worth $2.7 million, depending on tax rates and property values, said Justin Farquhar, vice chairman of the Development Authority of Bryan County.

It’s the latest firearms-focused company to come to Georgia. Gunmaker Remington Firearms announced last year that it would move from New York to LaGrange, Georgia, investing $100 million in a factory and research operations and hiring 856 people over five years.

Gun and ammunition manufacturers left their traditional homes in the Northeastern United States as people there became more hostile to guns, finding the American South and West more politically hospitable.

Beretta officials said they were trying to expand Norma’s sales and brand in the United States. Pietro Gusalli Beretta, president and CEO of family-owned Beretta Holding, said Norma, which is rooted in Sweden, has been manufacturing ammunition in the United States for 12 years and has seen four years of “steady growth”.

With the purchase of RUAG, Beretta said its annual sales amounted to nearly 1.4 billion euros ($1.43 billion). Worldwide ammunition sales were approximately 500 million euros ($510 million).

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