Philip Morris Concord NC plants to close one year early..

April 23, 2009 - Philip Morris USA (PM) Concord NC cigarette plant (Cabarrus county cigarette manufacturing facility) will be permanently closed by the end of July 2009, more than a year ahead of schedule, the company has announced.

Plans to close the giant cigarette plant and consolidate its operations to a facility in Richmond, Va., were first announced in 2007. The shutdown was scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010. About 500 workers have already relocated to Richmond. A group of 141 workers were laid off in February and 1,300 people are still employed.

The accelerated closing was announced Wednesday in Philip Morris parent company Altria Group Inc.’s quarterly earnings statement. The company says closing the plant ahead of schedule will help “address manufacturing overcapacity resulting from ongoing declines in U.S. cigarette volume,” including the projected impact of a recent federal tax increase.

The plan to close the 2.4 million-square-foot Concord plant is part of a larger cost-saving plan by Altria to consolidate its facilities. The decision leaves the 1.6 million-square-foot plant in Richmond as Philip Morris’ only U.S. cigarette factory.

Philip Morris is Concord’s top taxpayer. In 2006, the company paid nearly $5 million in municipal taxes. Real estate consultant Jones Lang LaSalle has been selected to market the 2,100-acre property.

Reference: Philip Morris shuttering Concord plant a year early. The Business Journal of the Greater Triad Area, 4/22/2009.