The maker of the Arm & Hammer product line has announced it will close its North Brunswick laundry detergent manufacturing facility and open a new plant in Pennsylvania next year.

Church & Dwight, headquartered on North Harrison Street, has operated its laundry detergent plant on Jersey Avenue since 2001. The firm will begin construction of a 1.1 million-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center in York County, Pennsylvania, in September. The move will affect roughly 300 workers here, to whom the company plans to provide severance and transition benefits. The new plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2009.

The new facility will be located on 232 acres in Jackson, Pennsylvania, roughly 100 miles west of Philadelphia. It will feature a geothermal energy system that is expected to create a 30 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 50-percent reduction in solid waste and industrial effluent. CFO Matthew Farrell called the North Brunswick complex “wildly inefficient,” as it features five unconnected buildings abutting a residential neighborhood. The new site was chosen after a year long search that included six states. “We started with New Jersey,” Farrell said. “But we had very specific needs.”

One of those needs is to be near a large body of water, and the Susquehanna River runs close by the site. The new site also will be situated close to major highways and railroads. Farrell said the company settled on Pennsylvania because the costs were right, the zoning allows for expansion, and the land will allow construction to be ready by the end of next year.

Chairman and CEO James Craigie said the new, larger site will allow for growth in the company’s internal manufacturing operations as well as its outward expansion — itself a major issue for Church & Dwight over the last 10 years. Since 2001 the company has acquired several of its competitors, including Unilever, Orange Glo, and the consumer products business of Carter Wallace. Last month the company reported a $56.2 million stock value (trading at 81 cents per share), which is up from $45.1 million in 2007. It also reported $552.9 million in net sales, which is up 7.5 percent from last year.

However, Church & Dwight expects to invest approximately $170 million on the transition to Pennsylvania and to lose as much as 24 cents per share through 2009, due to accelerated depreciation of the North Brunswick complex, severance, and other one-time costs.

Farrell said Church & Dwight will maintain its operations on North Harrison Road and in Lakewood, leaving roughly 1,000 jobs in New Jersey. In the ensuing 18 months, Farrell said, the company will provide job placement services such as resume writing and interviewing skills to it staff. Workers with compatible skills and a willingness to relocate could be offered jobs in Lakewood or Pennsylvania; others will be given a severance package, he said.

The company will run its North Brunswick facilities concurrently with the one in Pennsylvania through the end of 2009, Farrell said. After it closes Church & Dwight will sublet it for the five-year duration of the lease.

Church & Dwight (USA Detergent) (TTGL), 1735 Jersey Avenue, North Brunswick 08902; 732-828-1800; fax, 732-246-7733. Frank Orlando, president.

Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (CHD), 469 North Harrison Street, CN 5297, Princeton 08543-5297; 609-683-5900; fax, 609-497-7177. James R. Craigie, president, CEO, chairman. Home page: www.churchdwight.com.

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