- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 2, 2015

OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (AP) - Drug distributor AmerisourceBergen says it will invest $48 million to build a warehouse in DeSoto County, hiring 129 people.

Chuck Ball, senior vice president of distribution services for AmerisourceBergen, said construction in the Crossroads Distribution Center, just east of the Olive Branch airport, will begin this summer and be done in 2017. The company will construct a 400,000 square-foot building with room to expand to 550,000 square feet.

Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman Tammy Craft said the state will provide $1.1 million in grants to relocate and install equipment and for infrastructure. DeSoto County and the city of Olive Branch will each give $30,000 in matching funds. The company has not applied for property tax breaks, but would be eligible to receive them. Craft didn’t estimate what such breaks would be worth. The company could also be eligible for health care incentives offered by Mississippi.

The company said it could not determine what average workers would make.

AmerisourceBergen, based in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, also announced new distribution centers Tuesday in Shakopee, Minnesota, and Newburgh, New York. The company said it’s expanding from its 26 current distribution centers to improve efficiency and better deliver drugs for patients. At the moment, Craft said, AmerisourceBergen doesn’t have a facility in the Memphis, Tennessee, area.

“North Mississippi is a prime location for companies with distribution needs, and I know the company’s Olive Branch location will provide ease-of-access to major transportation networks, allowing AmerisourceBergen to efficiently and effectively serve its customers,” Gov. Phil Bryant said in a statement.

The company has said that a joint venture with the parent company of Walgreens is driving strong growth in its distribution business. The company also distributes drugs to hospitals and other pharmacies, handling nearly 35 percent of all pharmaceuticals used in the United States.

“We grow when our customers grow,” Bob Mauch, executive vice of the company’s distribution business, said in a statement.

AmerisourceBergen posted $276 million in profits on $120 billion in revenue in 2014, good for 28th on the Fortune 500 list ranking companies by revenue.

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