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Blood-product maker Kedrion expands in Melville

Blood-products maker Grifols has sold this Duryea Road

Blood-products maker Grifols has sold this Duryea Road site to rival Kedrion, which plans renovations and an addition in about two years, its executives said Thursday. (Aug. 23, 2012) Credit: Chris Ware

A manufacturer of blood products used in the treatment of hemophilia and serious injuries is planning an $85-million expansion in Melville, instead of Italy.

Officials of the U.S. subsidiary of Kedrion Group, which is based in Tuscany, Italy, said Thursday it had bought a factory at 155 Duryea Rd. owned by Grifols, also a producer of blood products.

David Brochu, U.S. operations vice president at Kedrion, said the company would renovate the 105,000-square-foot building and construct a 48,000-square-foot addition. It also plans to install $42 million in equipment.

The project is expected to create 80 jobs within five years. Kedrion has pledged to keep 150 people who work at the plant now for Grifols. They earn $60,430 per year, on average, records show.

"Our intention is everyone will stay with the operation," Brochu told Thursday's meeting of the Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency.

The agency offered Kedrion $4.8 million in tax breaks to make the 30-year-old Melville factory more competitive with counterparts in Italy. Kedrion estimated it would cost $10 million less to expand in Europe.

Suffolk's incentive package consists of a $3.8-million sales-tax exemption on materials and equipment, and a property-tax savings of $945,000 over 15 years.

Kedrion "can easily put this [expansion] anywhere," said IDA vice chairman David Rosenberg. "We want them to grow here, to help build our bio-tech industry."

Later, Kedrion's U.S. chief executive, Chris Lamb, said in an interview that Grifols will exit the Melville factory in about two years. Grifols, based in Barcelona, Spain, sold the plant to satisfy federal antitrust concerns over its 2011 merger with Talecris Biotherapeutics Holding Corp.

The local Kedrion operation will produce human plasma protein intermediates for therapies that treat hemophilia, immune deficiency, wounds, burns and trauma.

The IDA also backed a $5.5- million project for DRI Relays Inc., a maker of switches found in airplanes, trains and spacecraft.

The company wants to buy 60 Commerce Dr. in Hauppauge for $3.7 million to replace space it now rents nearby. Renovations costing $1 million also are planned.

DRI expects to add five people to its workforce of 108 as it transfers production of sockets from India to here. Salaries average $52,778 a year.

DRI has been courted by other states. So, after some debate, the IDA board agreed to cut the company's property-tax bill by $218,000 over 12 years; it had requested a 15-year deal.

DRI also will receive a $41,000 sales-tax exemption and a $36,000 break on the mortgage recording tax.

Some IDA directors said DRI should create more jobs to receive the property-tax cut.

Others, led by Joanne Minieri, the county's economic-development commissioner, said protecting the current workforce was crucial. With the wobbly economy, she said, "retaining jobs is much more important than creating new ones . . . and they will own the building; if they continue to lease, they could move."

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