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New ownership
Local company purchases empty Komatsu plant
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The former Komastu forklift plant in Lochridge Industrial Park was purchased for $4 million by local business Kelly Products, owned by Keith Kelly.

Kelly could not be reached for comment during the past few weeks, but he appears to be the owner of several local companies including Contract Packaging, Kelly Products and Kelly Registration Services, according to county tax documents and various company websites.

It’s unclear what’s planned for the former 311,861-square-foot Komatsu building, which is located on 42.56 acres in one of Covington’s most prominent industrial parks. The building was purchased April 30 but appears to have remained vacant.

Shannon Davis, the local chamber’s economic development director, said the site was the largest available industrial site within the city limits.

"Contract Packaging has been a longstanding corporate citizen and significant employer of Covington/Newton County. We are pleased to see its business grow to a size where more production space is necessary and perhaps more employees will be added," Davis said in an e-mail. "The Chamber and local officials congratulate them on their success and will partner with Contract Packaging to assist in future growth."

Contract Packaging is located at 13100 Independence Drive, behind the Home Depot on Ga. Highway 142. According to its website, Contract Packaging is the insecticide business, including offering services in: packaging, quality control, state regulatory services, and insecticide supply contracts.

Kelly Registration Services was formed in 1995 and develops personal computer and internet based programs for companies in the pesticide business and state departments of agriculture. Earlier this year, Kelly Registration launched a new website with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture that will list all approved pesticides, according to a story by the Business Wire publication. Kelly Registration’s headquarters are located at 10115 Highway 142 North, and it moved to the city in 1996, according to its website.

Komatsu closed its forklift-manufacturing plant in Covington in December 2009 and cut around 160 jobs, based on a March 2009 press release from the company. The Covington operations were moved to Newberry, S.C. as part of a company-wide consolidation effort, made necessary by the collapse of the domestic construction market.