In a special session on September 2nd, the Mississippi State Legislature approved a $100 million economic development package for Herzliya-based HCL CleanTech which is planning to invest a reported $1 billion to establish a number of operations in the state including the company’s headquarters in Olive Branch, a small-scale commercial facility and research and development center in Grenada, and three large-scale commercial plants that the company intends to locate in the Booneville, Hattiesburg and Natchez areas. The incentive bill included a $95 million loan and $5 million grant that could be used for training, infrastructure or equipment.
“HCL CleanTech is delighted to receive this incentive package from the State of Mississippi to move our company’s headquarters, R&D and four commercial factories to Mississippi. Just as the Midwest, with its thriving agriculture, created significant economic wealth since the 1970’s, the Southeastern wood basket carries the enormous potential to be the nexus for a new breed of industries, ranging from renewable plastics to drop-in biofuels. We thank Governor Barbour for his vision and business acumen that put Mississippi at the core of this new industrial revolution,” said HCL Cleantech’s CEO Philippe Lavielle.
“We’re excited that the state will be the place where Israeli technologies will join the best of US forestry, engineering and manufacturing to extract great values from wood,” added Eran Baniel, General Manager & VP Business Development of HCL Cleantech Ltd. in Israel.
HCL CleanTech expects to create 800 jobs in the state with an average salary of $67,000 plus benefits. Later, they plan to relocate their existing pilot facility to Mississippi from Oxford, North Carolina. HCL CleanTech converts biomass to sugars that can be utilized as industrial bio-products.
“HCL CleanTech shows how Mississippi has become a top site for high-tech, high-skilled manufacturing, with high paying jobs for our citizens,” said Governor Haley Barbour.
AICC has been involved with HCL CleanTech since they first began to look at the US market. “We have supported their successful efforts for BIRD Foundation funding, and are very excited that they have chosen to make this very impressive investment in the Southeast,” added Tom Glaser, President of the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce, SE Region that also represents BIRD in 6 Southeastern states.