Welspun to Build $100 Million Plant at Little Rock Port

Welspun Gujarat Stahl Rohren Ltd. of Mumbai, India, plans to build a $100 million manufacturing facility on 740 acres adjacent to the Little Rock Port Authority — the largest single industrial investment in Little Rock history, officials say.
Once completed, the plant will be capable of producing 300,000 net tons of tubular steel pipes annually for use in the oil and gas industry. The company will hire about 300 workers and hopes to begin production by spring 2008.
Welspun Gujarat officials cited the waterway and rail access and enthusiasm, friendliness and cooperation of local officials in deciding on Little Rock over Memphis, St. Louis and New Orleans.
“This is a great day for Arkansas,” Gov. Mike Beebe said. “Welspun could have chosen many other locations for its investment, but its leadership chose Arkansas. Our work force, our infrastructure, and the natural benefits of the Arkansas River convinced Welspun to become our partners in progress. We welcome the excellent manufacturing jobs they will be providing for Arkansans.”
Welspun Gujarat Stahl Rohren is the pipe division of the $1 billion Welspun Group, the fastest growing company in India. Welspun has more than 18,000 employees and a presence in more than 50 countries. From its beginning in 1985, Welspun has become the largest vertically integrated manufacturer of terry towels in Asia and fourth largest in the world. It exports terry towels to 14 out of top 20 retailers in the world, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Dillard’s Inc.
“We are happy to be here at Little Rock today — which has the advantage of a talented work force, the right transportation opportunities, and above all, the right geographical location,” said B.K. Goenka, vice chairman and managing director of Welspun. “We look forward to a long and prosperous future as partners in Little Rock.”
Welspun Gujarat also has manufacturing facilities in Dahej and Anjar in Gujarat, India.
"Little Rock continues to prove that we are a world-class site for companies expanding their business opportunities. I appreciate the power of partnerships that enabled this deal to become a reality, and I welcome Welspun to the city of Little Rock with open arms," said Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola.
Stodola said the new plant will bring additional growth opportunities for central Arkansas and Little Rock.
With the majority of its production exported to the United States, Welspun has a very strong presence in the country and takes pride in supplying pipes for the world’s deepest pipeline for the “Independence Trail” project in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Since our inception, we have ventured into unexplored territories and have emerged as global leaders,” said Braja Mishra, CEO and executive director of Welspun Gujarat. “Today, after setting our foot in Arkansas, we hope to continue to prove our engineering excellence and be a comprehensive provider for state-of-the-art pipes and related niche products for the transportation of oil and gas.”
The Arkansas Economic Development Commission approved a $5 million guarantee on an industrial development bond for a Welspun plant in June. There’s also $3.25 million for infrastructure funds, a $6 million Arkansas Development & Finance Authority guarantee and $500 per employee for training, according to Joe Holmes, director of marketing and communications at AEDC. He also said there were performance-based incentives that could not be disclosed.
May Construction Co. of Little Rock will handle the construction.