Cronus Chemicals to choose Illinois or Iowa for plant within 60 days

26 July 2013 22:21  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Cronus Chemicals will make a decision within 30-60 days on whether to select Illinois or Iowa as the site of its ammonia fertilizer plant, company officials said on Friday.

On Thursday, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed an economic bill that will provide an estimated $14.5m (€10.9m) in tax breaks for the fertilizer producer, while Iowa has apparently offered an economic package whose incentives according to Illinois officials are estimated to be valued at $35m.

Iowa economic officials have not commented on the forthcoming decision beyond acknowledging that there have been discussions with Cronus regarding the plant and the potential to locate the facility within Iowa.

“Getting the governor to sign that bill and getting the incentives passed was critical to putting Illinois onto the same footing as Iowa in terms of how the incentives are shaping up. At this point, Cronus is working to finalize all the cost estimates at each of the respective sites,” said Dave Lundy, Cronus spokesperson.

“Once they have a strong understanding of what that looks like, and that includes working with contractors and working through various cost expenses, they’ll be making a decision and we will be making an announcement on our site selection," he added.

Delaware-based Cronus has announced plans to construct a $1.1bn fertilizer facility with an anticipated annually production capacity of 800,000 tons/year of ammonia, which would be converted into 1.4m tons of granular urea.

Construction of the plant is expected to take up to 30 months, and currently Cronus has a start date set for early 2016. The facility is expect to create up to 225 full-time jobs when at full capacity and employ between 1,000-2,000 workers for the construction phase.

Cronus Chemicals is headed by veteran fertilizer executive Erzin Atac, the former president of Transammonia Fertilizer, and is owned by Swiss and Turkish investors.

Illinois officials are remaining confident that their state will be chosen and point to the fact that if fully utilized the incentives could be worth $30m when infrastructure improvements and utility tax abatements are accounted into the package.

“I can’t say 100% for sure, but I am pretty positive we have built a framework here that makes it almost irresistible for the company when they see the infrastructure there as well as the incentive package that we crafted on their behalf,” said State Representative Adam Brown. “They pretty much outlined exactly what they would need from us, and eventually we met those goals.”

Brown said another advantage for Cronus selecting Illinois is that a natural gas pipeline is already in place within the vicinity of the proposed site, as well as easy access to an interstate highway and railroad operations.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Mark Milam
+1 713 525 2653

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