Ikea Supplier Vinh Long to Employ 75 at Former Bosch Plant in Morrilton

Vinh Long, a manufacturer of a home furnishing products, said Thursday that it would move a new  manufacturing facility in the former Bosch building in Morrilton and employ 75 people.

The new facility, to be known as Vinh Long-Arkansas Ltd., will make storage furniture and kitchen cabinets for potential retailers in North America including Ikea. Vinh Long, headquartered in Vietnam, will invest $5 million in the Morrilton facility.

Vinh Long-Arkansas plans to begin production this summer. Hiring will begin this spring.

Vietnam's Ambassador to the U.S., Nguyen Quoc Cuong, joined Madam Phan Thi My Hanh, the company's chairman of the board and general director, and Gov. Mike Beebe at Wednesday's announcement.

"We see great potential for wood-based products manufactured in Arkansas for several reasons, including the fact that Arkansas’s sustainable supply of raw materials fits into our global vision of creating a better life for all people," Hanh said. "Strong support from the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and city officials has allowed us to speed up our timeline to get our product to market quickly and efficiently."

The state kicked in a variety of incentives, including an income tax credit of 2 percent of total payroll for five years, sales tax refunds on materials and equipment and training assistance. The company is also getting a $300,000 grant to help pay for upgrading the factory.

The new business will use the former Bosch factory, which employed 140 people before it shuttered in 2011. The plant had opened in 2006 and produced wood and plastic components used in audio speakers.

Vinh Long-Arkansas is a wholly owned subsidiary of Vinh Long Joint Stock Co. in Vietnam.

Vinh Long Import-Export Manufacturing Joint Stock Company was founded in 1976, starting operations from a small weaving group representing for local women. The company has grown to become one of Vietnam's largest natural fiber manufacturers.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)