Friday, 13 January 2012 22:06

Industrial Development Board approves MICOR Industries abatement

Decatur Daily
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Company says expansion will allow it to make parts for sniper rifles

The Decatur-Morgan County Industrial Development Board on Thursday approved tax abatements totaling $190,540 to facilitate an expansion at Micor Industries.

Company officials said the expansion will permit them to diversify into contract manufacturing of energy components and the production of parts for sniper rifles.

The $3.1 million expansion will add 40 jobs and more than double the size of the plant, according to company officials.

Company founder and president Mike Heath estimated the 40 employees would add $1.25 million to Micor’s annual payroll — not including benefits — which averages $31,250 a year per worker.

Founded in 2000 and incorporated in 2004, Micor’s 62 employees work at two plants, one on State Docks Road and the other on Finley Island Road.

Micor Vice President Dave Ponegalek said the company may consolidate the plants during the expansion.

He said property is available on State Docks Road.

In recent years, Micor’s main focus has been to manufacture and machine defense-related parts, such as machine-gun parts and muzzle-flash suppressors.

“We’re beginning to change our focus away from defense a bit — no surprise there — and go into the energy sector,” Heath said.

The Texas native said expected customers include large original-equipment manufacturers, such as Halliburton Co. Most such customers are based in Texas, and Heath said he felt pressure to locate his plant there while meeting with customers in a recent trip to Houston.

“Everywhere I looked, Houston was booming. Buildings are going up, homes, growth everywhere,” Heath said. “I want to move some of that to here. This is my home.”

In addition to energy components, Micor will manufacture the Leader .50 BMG sniper rifle, designed by Charles St. George, an Australian native who now resides in Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Last year, Micor considered acquiring bankrupt Sabre Defense Industries of Tennessee, which planned to manufacture the rifle for St. George. Micor passed on the acquisition, but has since signed an exclusive licensing agreement to manufacture the rifle for the gun designer.

According to trade journal Defense Review, the rifle will cost about $6,800. Ponegalek said 200 people — mostly civilians — have placed orders. Other expected customers include the U.S. and foreign military.

“A business strategy for us has been to migrate out of the build-to-print (manufacturing),” Heath said. “We wanted to also have some of our own products.”

Ponegalek said Micor has a different approach in manufacturing.

“A lot of other gun companies are buying their parts and bringing them in and assembling them. Our philosophy is to do them in-house and assemble them here, which creates even more jobs here,” he said.

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