UPDATE: Saint Jean in Heber Springs to Expand, Add 250 Jobs, Spend $14 Million

Saint Jean Industries, an auto parts manufacturer and supplier, said Friday that it will expand its manufacturing plant in Heber Springs, creating about 250 jobs and investing $14 million in the expansion.

At Heber Springs, Saint Jean makes aluminum parts for the automotive industry. The company said the expansion is a result of "several significant orders placed with the company."

It said the orders came from companies such as ZF, a German supplier to the automotive industry that placed orders for General Motors and Ford.

Saint Jean, of Belleville, France, bought the facility, then owned by Superior Industries International Inc., in 2006. Saint Jean also has manufacturing facilities in France, Croatia and Germany.

Before expansion, Saint Jean employed 180 people. The company said the expansion will bring the plant's total employment to more than 430 people.

"We're so proud of this expansion and the relationship we've built with Saint Jean," Heber Springs Mayor Jackie McPherson said in a news release. "This is encouraging news for Heber Springs, Cleburne County and the State of Arkansas. We look forward to Saint Jean's continued success, along with all of our existing industries."

Saint Jean will be eligible for tax incentives, if it meets certain job and payroll goals, said Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the Arkansas Economic Development Commission.

He said he didn't know what those incentives would be worth until they are completed.

The company also received a $500,000 community development block grant to go toward upgrading a loading dock, Hardin said.

Heber Springs has experienced a surge in growth in the last few years, as reported in this November cover story in Arkansas Business.