July 9, 2008

FMC to Close Plant in August It’s Shifting Work Elsewhere


An international chemical company will lose its Northeast Florida presence after six decades in operation.

FMC Corp. confirmed Monday that its plant on Talleyrand Avenue in Jacksonville will close, laying off 29 employees by Aug. 31.

Employees were told in early May that the plant would close.

The company plans to move the manufacturing of its solvent- based, liquid insecticide to an existing plant in either Wyoming, Ill., or Middleport, N.Y.

Insecticide is made and packaged at the Jacksonville plant before being sold to agricultural businesses and pest control companies that use it for home and lawn care.

"The market has gone to water-based insecticides, microencapsulation and new technologies," FMC spokesman Jim Fitzwater said.

"We decided not to invest in these at our Jacksonville location."

First Coast Manufacturers Association President Lad Daniels said FMC stood out for its partnerships with local public schools, global reach and an "exemplary safety record" of 30 years with no accidents that caused an employee to miss a day's work at the local plant.

FMC also spent $22 million in 1996 to remove pesticide- contaminated waste and soil. The cleanup was part of a federal environmental lawsuit with more than 100 defendants, including FMC.

Daniels sees the company's choice of shifting production from one location to another typical in an expanding and contracting economy.

"I don't know if you'll see this accelerate, but I think you'll constantly see companies reevaluating where they do production," Daniels said.

FMC plans to sell or lease the property it has owned since 1947.

Duval County property appraiser records show the site has a market value of $1.6 million.

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