- Associated Press - Monday, June 1, 2015

NEWPORT, Ark. (AP) - Southwest Steel Processing announced Monday that it plans an $18 million expansion of its plant in Newport and to add 100 jobs at the facility.

“The expansion at Southwest Steel Processing of a second forging line will significantly increase our ability to provide high-quality, competitively price forged steel parts to our customers,” Ken Copeland, president of Southwest Steel Processing, said in a news release following the announcement attended by local officials and Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

“We are pleased to have the help and support of Gov. Hutchinson, Arkansas Economic Development Commission, Arkansas Development Finance Authority and the City of Newport Economic Development Commission that makes this expansion possible,” Copeland said.

In February 2014, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and Arkansas Development Finance Authority approved an $11 million bond to help support the expansion.

“This type of expansion is not possible without a strong, talented workforce already in place,” Hutchinson said. “Thanks to the existing employees of Southwest Steel Processing for their significant role in making this project a reality. We appreciate the company’s decision to continue growing in Arkansas.”

Southwest Steel Processing manufactures railcar and oil and gas components and is a partnership between Cleveland-based Park Ohio and Arkansas Steel Associates LLC of Newport.

The company said the additional 100 jobs will bring total employment at the plant to 220.

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