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Billion-dollar company expanding operations in Texas, this time in Bryan

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(The Center Square) – Another global billion-dollar company is expanding operations in Texas, this time in Bryan, Texas.

A subsidiary of the famous French multinational company Saint-Gobain, CertainTeed Roofing, recently broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art roofing manufacturing and distribution center in Bryan, Texas. It’s the latest in a long line of companies that expanded operations in Texas this year, continuing a trend of previous years.

The multi-year project “reaffirms Saint-Gobain’s position as the leader in light and sustainable construction, allowing the company to better serve its customers with quality roofing products in the southern United States,” the company said in a statement.

The groundbreaking took place at the future site of the facility, where CertainTeed Roofing presented a $20,000 check to Bryan Independent School District’s Education Foundation to support its Career and Technical Education Center. CertainTeed, which produces exterior and interior building products, says it is a “strong supporter of STEM education and building pipelines for careers in manufacturing,” which is why it donated the money.

Mark Rayfield, President and CEO of Saint-Gobain North America and CertainTeed, said, “It’s critical that we find meaningful ways to invest in the talent of the future for the manufacturing industry, and we’re committed to building a long-term partnership with the Bryan ISD Technical Education Center.”

The CertainTeed expansion project involves a $140 million capital investment that is expected to create 130 new jobs and relies on several taxpayer-funded programs.

One is Chapter 313 of the Texas Tax Code, which allowed school districts to offer large tax breaks for 10 years to multi-billion dollar companies as an incentive to relocate their businesses to rural areas. The school districts don’t directly “feel” the hefty financial losses because taxpayers subsidize the difference through sales and other state-collected taxes, opponents of the program have argued. Taxpayers actually pay far more over time, reducing the value of their earnings, The Center Square has previously reported.

The Texas Legislative Budget Board previously estimated extending the Chapter 313 program past its sunset date of Dec. 31, 2022, would cost an estimated $9.6 billion in “local school district revenue losses” between 2023 and 2049. It sunset on Dec. 31, 2022, only to be resurrected under a different name during the regular legislative session this year. It has been described as one of the greatest corporate welfare programs in Texas.

CertainTeed also received a Texas Enterprise Fund grant of $546,000 and was offered a $1,000 Veteran Created Job Bonus.

The expansion project, Saint-Gobain says, “was supported by direct contributions of land, a zero-cost rail easement, locally supported industrial infrastructure, and ten years of property tax savings from the Chapter 313 program, will allow the company to grow its presence and product offerings in Texas and the southern United States. The co-location of the manufacturing facility with a distribution center will reduce the distance product must travel to market, lowering the company’s carbon footprint and aligning with Saint-Gobain’s global goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.”

The company is also working with Union Pacific to fully optimize rail transportation.

Gov. Greg Abbott lauded the expansion, saying, “CertainTeed’s new roofing manufacturing and distribution center in Bryan is an important addition to the state’s booming manufacturing industry. Texas has been the top exporting state in the nation for the last 21 years in a row, and it’s thanks to our state’s hardworking manufacturers that ‘Made in Texas’ has never been a more powerful global brand.”

“Exceptional global companies, like CertainTeed, are investing in Texas because we offer unmatched business operating advantages, including a world-class business climate, highly skilled workforce, reasonable regulations, and lower taxes,” the governor said earlier this year when the project was first announced. “Located in the heart of the Texas Triangle, Bryan is a prime location for CertainTeed’s new manufacturing and distribution facility.”

Compagnie de Saint-Gobain S.A., a French multinational corporation, was founded in 1665 in Paris to manufacture glass for the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. It launched Saint-Gobain North America, entering the North American market in 1967, through a joint venture with CertainTeed.

Headquartered in Malvern, Pennsylvania, its North American operation employs more than 15,000 people at more than 160 locations and reports annual sales exceeding $6.5 billion, according to its website.

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