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      Essex Holdings announces $54 million investment in Marion County

      Essex Holdings announced Wednesday it would make a $54 million investment in Marion County, adding 215 jobs.

      The company packages Jasmine brand long grain rice.

      "We are excited about the opportunity to establish our new manufacturing facility in Marion County. This new facility will increase our operational capacity and hence represents an important step for our company's growth. South Carolina has a great business environment, and we strongly believe that this integration will be a bona fide step to further give added value to our food division's operations. We look forward to starting our operations there and appreciate all the support we've received from state and local officials," said Dr. Navin Xavier, president and CEO for Essex Holdings.

      Rodney Berry, with Marion County Economic Development, says the jobs will pay in excess of $13.90 per hour.

      Governor Nikki Haley attended Wednesday's news conference announcing the investment.

      "More and more companies are seeing South Carolina as the 'it' state for doing business, and today's announcement by Essex Holdings is another sign of that. The company's decision to set up operations in Marion is also a big win for one of our state's rural areas. We celebrate Essex Holdings' commitment to invest $54.4 million and create 215 new jobs in Marion," said Gov. Nikki Haley.

      The company will locate in the former Blumenthal Mills textile plant that closed in 2009.

      Since January 2011, South Carolina has recruited more than $8 billion in capital investment and more than 21,000 jobs in the manufacturing sector.

      The company will begin hiring for the new positions in May. Anyone interested in job opportunities with the company should visit

      Marion County consistently has one of the highest unemployment rates in South Carolina.