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The Greenbrier Cos. Inc. of Lake Oswego, Ore., will invest $16 million in its newly acquired Marmaduke tank rail-car production plant to support future growth and create at least 35 jobs within one year, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission said Wednesday.

The Greene County factory, which opened in 1999, employs 850.

Greenbrier, an international supplier of rail cars and marine barges, announced in April that it was acquiring the American Railcar Industries' facilities in northeast Arkansas. In addition to the Marmaduke operations, the sale included two plants in Paragould, one of which manufactures freight cars.

Greenbrier acquired the facilities from hedge-fund ITE Management as part of a $430 million deal comprised of $350 million in cash, $30 million for capital expenditures on rail-car lining facilities and improvements at other facilities, and $50 million in convertible notes.

The northeast Arkansas plants joined five other operations, including American Railcar Industries' engineering facilities in St. Charles, in the sale.

The deal was completed last month, the commission said in its news release.

In a statement, William Furman, Greenbrier's chairman and chief executive, said the Marmaduke operations would help the company deliver on three strategic initiatives.

"First, strengthening our core North American engineering and manufacturing business," he said. "Next, growing our operations at scale in new and existing markets; and lastly, extending our talent base. The expansion of our facility in Marmaduke will further position Greenbrier for continued growth for many years to come."

State and local officials welcomed the investment, which ends the uncertainty that often accompanies acquisitions.

"Even though Greenbrier is new to Arkansas, the company already has a rich presence here through American Railcar, and I am delighted to see that relationship continue," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said. "This investment will go a long way in improving the lives of many Northeast Arkansas families, and we are proud to be a part of the company's success."

"ARI has been a great corporate citizen in Marmaduke for many years, and we are excited that Greenbrier plans on continuing with the partnership," Marmaduke Mayor Steve Dixon said. "We have a world-class workforce that has played an integral role in ARI's success, and we are confident that we will do the same for Greenbrier."

American Railcar opened its hopper rail-car assembly factory in Paragould in 1995, the first major rail-car assembly plant in the company's manufacturing network, the news release said. The company's Marmaduke facility opened four years later to produce tank cars.

In 2009, a joint venture axle and manufacturing facility, Axis LLC, began operations in Paragould, and an American Railcar component subsidiary, Corbitt Manufacturing, opened a plant in Paragould in 2016.

The investment announced Wednesday builds on American Railcar's $10.5 million expansion in 2015 for improvements to its Marmaduke facility and acquisition of new equipment, the commission said. At that time, the company also announced 75 jobs would be created.

American Railcar traces its history to 1864 when Milton Car Works was formed in Milton, Pa., by Murray, Dougal and Co., to build some of the world's first tank cars. After 130 years of acquisitions, American Railcar Industries Inc. was formed in 1994.

Greenbrier Cos., an international supplier of equipment and services to global freight transportation markets, designs, builds and markets freight rail cars and marine barges in North America.

Greenbrier Cos. shares fell 28 cents to close Wednesday at $25.72.

Business on 08/08/2019

Print Headline: Rail-car maker putting in $16M


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