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Growing again: Century Tube Corp. expands its Pine Bluff facility.

THE PRESENCE OF CENTury Tube Corp. in Pine Bluff continues to have a major impact on the southeast Arkansas city.

In late October, the Japanese-owned company announced plans for yet another major expansion at its Pine Bluff plant.

Last week, Wallace Gieringer, president of the Jefferson County Industrial Foundation, was in Osaka, Japan, at the foundation's office there. That unusual locale is a result of the relationship between Century Tube, its parent company, Daiwa Steel Tube Industries Co. of Osaka, and Pine Bluff.

It was Daiwa officials who broached the idea to Gieringer about an Osaka branch office for the Jefferson County Industrial Foundation. Osaka is a highly industrialized city of almost 14 million people.

The thinking is that an office on location in Japan will allow Jefferson County to attract more Far East companies like Century Tube.

Without a doubt, Century Tube has been good to Pine Bluff.

Its latest expansion is more evidence.

Century Tube will increase its Jefferson County work force by 25 employees and invest $3.8 million in its existing facility to produce "door impact beams" for automobiles.

Completion in '93

Already, Century Tube employs 200 at its Pine Bluff site, which it will expand for the seventh time in the past 13 years.

The latest expansion will result in 10,000 SF of production space, modification of the existing auto tube mill and installation of special heat treating equipment.

Construction has begun. It should be completed early next year.

A company spokesman says door impact beams are installed in automobile doors to help absorb side impact. It is a new auto safety standard required by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"The addition of the door impact beam to our product line provides Century with a tremendous opportunity to diversify and sustain our growth here in Pine Bluff," says Robert Pfautz, executive vice president of the company.

Matsuichi Nakamura, chairman and president of Century Tube, said in a statement released by the company that the latest product development is "a step forward in strengthening the concept of doing business on a world stage."

"This investment reflects Century's confidence in our company vision to produce high-quality products manufactured by combining the benefits of international technologies, abilities and know-how in a borderless global economy," Nakamura said in the statement. "Our continuing growth in Pine Bluff is manifestation of our vision ..."

Century Tube opened its plant in Pine Bluff on Oct. 18, 1979, with a payroll of 20 people.
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Title Annotation:Across Arkansas; Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Author:Webb, Kane
Publication:Arkansas Business
Date:Nov 16, 1992
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