Rheem will spend $20 million in Arkansas to expand its plant and create 100 new jobs.

The maker of heating and air products aims to expand its Fort Smith facility, which would boost the plant’s production capacity, which is almost 50 years old.

A training and innovation center is also planned where distributors and contractors will work with its products and learn about product enhancement.

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Other upgrades will include redesigned entry and traffic flow patterns to improve safety, access, and congestion.

Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said: “We are excited to see Rheem grow and succeed in Fort Smith.

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“Rheem is creating both corporate and manufacturing jobs that spur economic development and raise the quality of life for employees and their families.”

Japanese company Paloma owns the Atlanta-based company.

Rheem manufactures water heaters, commercial and residential boilers, and commercial refrigeration systems in addition to HVAC equipment.

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After more than a decade of job cuts, the firm is growing its Fort Smith operation.

In 2012, it announced that it would cut up to 100 hourly staff in order to react to “changing business conditions.”

A year ago, the company stated that it would slash 250 jobs when it relocated certain operations to Mexico.

These layoffs followed the removal of up to 235 posts in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.

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Rheem will receive several state incentives for the expansion project.

The Advantage Arkansas Program offers a state income tax credit based on the number of new employees recruited as a result of the project.

The Tax Back Program reimburses sales tax on building supplies, taxable machinery, and project-related equipment.

Source: Arkansas Business

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