ELLABELL, Ga. (AP) — An Italian-owned company will invest $60 million in coastal Georgia to build a plant to make and distribute ammunition, with plans to hire 600 people.
Norma Precision will build its facility near the site of the new Hyundai electric vehicle plant in Bryan County, just northwest of the Georgia coastal city of Savannah.
In July, Italian gun maker Beretta bought Norma Precision and other ammunition makers from RUAG International, a company owned by the Swiss government, for an undisclosed price. Norma Precision had already announced that it was moving its headquarters to Georgia, setting up a factory in the Savannah suburb of Garden City.
Norma said 88 current employees in Georgia would be offered transfers. Employees will make an average of $57,000 a year, said company spokesperson Rose de Vries.
Last year, Norma Precision said it imported more than 400 containers of ammunition from factories in Europe, while also delivering more than 30 million cartridges of ammunition made in the U.S. De Vries said Norma would also export ammunition from the Georgia plant.
Norma Precision will qualify for a Georgia tax credit allowing it to annually deduct $3,500 per job from state income taxes, up to $10.5 million over five years. If Norma Precision doesn’t owe that much income tax, it will be able to recover the rest of the credit from state income tax payments made by workers.
Bryan County officials have also approved a 10-year property tax break for the company. That could be worth $2.7 million, depending on tax rates and property values, said Justin Farquhar, vice president of the Development Authority of Bryan County.
It's the latest gun-oriented company to move to Georgia. Gun maker Remington Firearms announced last year that it would move from New York to LaGrange, Georgia, investing $100 million in a factory and research operation and hiring 856 people over five years.
Gun and ammunition makers have been leaving their traditional homes in the U.S. Northeast as people there have become more hostile to guns, finding the American South and West more politically welcoming.
Beretta officials said they're trying to expand the sales and brand of Norma in the United States. Pietro Gusalli Beretta, president and CEO of family-owned Beretta Holding, said Norma, which is rooted in Sweden, has been making ammunition in the United States for 12 years and has seen four years of “steady growth.”
With the RUAG purchase, Beretta has said its yearly sales are nearly 1.4 billion euros ($1.43 billion) Ammunition sales worldwide are around 500 million euros ($510 million).