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Swedish bandage maker marks Brunswick startup

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Swedish bandage maker marks Brunswick startup

BRUNSWICK — A Swedish wound-care manufacturer Tuesday celebrated the opening of a $47 million facility at Brunswick Landing.

Senior executives said the plant will help grow the company's business in the U.S. and employ nearly 50 people by the end of the year.

The opening of Molnlycke Health Care's new manufacturing plant marks another landmark for Brunswick Landing, which defense and development officials have lauded as a national model for base redevelopment.

"Increasing our production capacity in America is one of the key elements of our strategy for sustainable expansion," Pierre Guyot, Molnlycke's chief executive officer, said in a statement, "and today's opening reinforces our position as the No. 1 player in the advanced wound care market."

The new 79,000-square-foot Molnlycke Manufacturing plant will be fully operational this year, according to site director Mark Dignum.

"It's really exciting. It feels like it's been a long road, but it's great to see everything come together, " Dignum said. "We have the building finally. We have most of the equipment in place now, and the majority of the team. Bringing those people together is what's going to bring the factory to life."

While it cost Molnlycke about $14 million to build the new facility, Dignum said, it cost the company $47 million in total investments to get the plant up and running.

Dignum said the facility is expected to produce about 23 million wound-care dressings in 2014. But once production has ramped up, and depending on market demand, the plant could eventually  produce as many as 100 million a year.

"It purely depends on how the market continues to grow," he said.

Molnlycke decided to build at Brunswick Landing because of its proximity to Wiscasset, home of Rynel, a subsidiary bought by the company in 2010. Rynel  creates the foam used in Molnlycke's advanced bandage product and helped it establish a U.S. presence.

Dignum said a tax increment financing plan approved by the Brunswick Town Council last December was another key factor. Molnlycke is expected to receive nearly $3 million in TIF revenue from the town over a 20-year period.

As described in the company's TIF application, the revenue will be used for "site improvements, building construction, machinery, and equipment purchases, project financing and employee training."

Molnlycke is also deciding whether to expand its facilities at Brunswick or Wiscasset with another subsidiary it purchased in 2012.

"That's still being considered," Dignum said, "There are a number of options. It really comes down to the most viable business plan."

Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, which is charged with redeveloping the former naval air base that closed in 2011, turned over the facility to Molnlycke in March.

At the time, state Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais said the company "will make Maine a more competitive state."

MRRA has since attracted other companies, including Tempus Jets, and has nearly reached capacity on property conveyed by the U.S. Navy.

"Most of what we have ... is either under contract, we're negotiating with somebody, or has been sold or leased," MRRA Chairman John Peters said. "We're almost out of inventory, which is a wonderful thing."

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.