Church & Dwight to Close N.J. Facility, Build New Plant in Penn. for $170M

Church & Dwight Co., which manufactures personal care and household products under the Arm and Hammer label and other major brands, said today it is closing its North Brunswick, N.J., facility and building a new 1.1 million-square-foot laundry detergent manufacturing plant and distribution center in York County, Penn. It will be the largest capital expenditure in the 165-year history of the company, said James Craigie, chairman & CEO. Construction and transition expenses are expected to cost $170 million, with $150 million of that being capital expenditures, company officials said during a morning conference call with investors. They said much of it would be financed with cash on hand. The company had $208 million cash at the end of the first quarter, according to its financial results released May 6. Development of the new plant, located on 232 acres in Jackson Township, Penn., will begin in September. The site is expected to be open by the end of 2009 and be fully operational by 2010. At that time, Church & Dwight will shutter its leased New Jersey factory and distribution center. Craigie said there are about 400 full-time and part-time employees at the New Jersey plant. About 300 workers will be needed to staff the Pennsylvania facility. Craigie said this morning that plans for the new plant had been in the works for about a year. Part of the problem with the New Jersey facility is that operations are located in five separate buildings and there is no room for expansion, he noted. The York County site was chosen for its location, which is about 100 miles from Philadelphia, and proximity to major highways and railroads. “This new site will allow us to continue to grow our fabric care business in a facility that can handle the current and anticipated additional base volume growth for our core businesses, support future potential acquisitions and position our business to be among the industry leaders in low-cost production and distribution in the future,” Craigie said. Craigie said the fabric care part of Church & Dwight’s business has grown substantially over the last 10 years, both organically and through acquisitions, particularly the purchase in 2006 of Orange Glo International for $325 million in cash. That acquisition brought brands like OxiClean, Kaboom and Orange Glo into the company, which is already well known for its Arm and Hammer products as well as value-added laundry detergent Xtra among other consumer products. The company will build the new plant with environmentally-conscious goals like reducing energy consumption by 30 percent, and solid waste and industrial effluent from manufacturing operations by 50 percent. Renewable energy sources will also be used for on-site processing needs, according to Craigie.