Micor Industries of Decatur expects to add 40 employees with a $3.1 million expansion, according to president and founder Mike Heath.
The State Docks Road contract manufacturer and machining company, which added 15 employees last year, employs 62. The additional employees will add $1.25 million to the company payroll, officials said.
“This year looks like a growth year for us, especially large components in the energy sector,” Heath said. “The equipment is very, very expensive, and square footage becomes more of an issue because the components are much bigger.”
Heath said the company, which previously focused on defense systems, is expanding into the energy sector, including sub-sea oil-drilling equipment, offshore rig parts and nuclear-plant components.
Customers served by the expanded facility would include original equipment manufacturers in the energy sector, such as Exxon.
He said the expansion will add about 30,000 square feet to Micor’s footprint.
Heath started Micor as a small machine company in 2000, incorporating in 2004. By 2008 — when the Alabama Technology Network and the Business Council of Alabama named it the emerging manufacturer of the year — it had 50 employees, annual sales over $7 million and seven five-year contracts with the Department of Defense.
In 2010, Alliant Techsystems selected Micor to provide parts and assemblies for 40 mm MK-19 machine guns in a contract that runs through this year. Under the contract, Micor manufactured 137 individual parts and assemblies on a monthly basis.
The company is AS9100 certified. The certification, an aerospace quality standard system, allows Micor to compete in the aerospace, nuclear and medical sectors. Micor also manufactures muzzle-flash suppressors and other parts for firearms.
Micor also produces the Common Remote Operating System, used in Iraq to reduce exposure to enemy fire for weapon operators.
The company will apply Thursday to the Decatur Industrial Development Board for a tax abatement for the planned expansion, at which time it will provide details on the timing and scope of the expansion.
In documents filed with IDB on Tuesday, Micor requested an abatement of non-educational city, county and state property taxes of $9,404 a year for 10 years. It also requested a $96,500 abatement of sales and use taxes it will incur during construction of the expansion.
“We had a tax abatement about five years ago, and it seemed to work out very well for the city, the area and us as well,” Heath said.
The previous abatement, requested in 2005 when the City Council rather than the IDB ruled on the requests, provoked controversy, especially from former City Councilman Ray Metzger.
At the time, Micor had 12 employees in rented space. The City Council ultimately approved an abatement of $16,900 in state construction-related sales and use taxes, plus an annual abatement of $3,841 for 10 years. The abatements facilitated Micor’s construction of its State Docks Road facility.
Micor projected it would employ 29 employees by mid-2008, but beat its estimate by 21 employees.
Barney Lovelace, the lawyer for IDB, said abatements may not be ideal, but they are sometimes necessary.
“As long as other states and other cities in Alabama are offering abatements, to be competitive, we will have to do the same in Decatur and Morgan County,” Lovelace said.
Jeremy Nails, president of the Morgan County Economic Development Association, said the need for abatements is not limited to out-of-town companies considering a Decatur location.
“Supporting our local companies is important,” Nails said. “If we don’t incentivize them to create new jobs and investment in our town, some other town will certainly try to recruit them out of Decatur.”
IDB will consider Micor’s abatement request Thursday at 10 a.m. at Lovelace’s office, 214 Johnston St. S.E.