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Chemical manufacturer to invest in Seaford plant

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The Royale Group intends to acquire the former BASF plant in Seaford as early as next month. | PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYALE GROUP

SEAFORD – Royale Pigments & Chemicals, a growing manufacturer in Delaware, will invest $2.35 million into a new production plant in Seaford, repurposing a closed facility in the Sussex County town.

Royale first arrived in Delaware in 2020, when it acquired IMS Chemblend and its facility at 400 Carson Drive in Bear, changing the operation’s name to AWSM Solutions Delaware and relocating Royale’s corporate headquarters from New Jersey to the New Castle County property.

The company, led by CEO Jonathan Logue, a veteran executive from the paper and chemicals business, develops, produces, imports and exports specialty chemicals. More than half of its products are used in the production of semiconductor chips, with the rest falling into a variety of uses from firefighting equipment to pharmaceuticals to an organic alternative to the herbicide Roundup.

After investing $750,000 into its Bear facility and growing its headcount from three to 24 employees there – it’s currently hiring for another six employees – Royale began to look at expanding to meet product demand, Logue said.

“We’re looking at bringing some of the molecules that we manufacture in Asia back to the United States by the request from our customers,” he explained, noting that the semiconductor-linked chemicals in particular were being sought.

Royale Group CEO John Logue responds to a question from the Council on Development Finance on Monday. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

To meet that demand, Royale began looking at expanding its operations, looking at sites throughout the tri-state region. In the end, it eyed the former BASF polymer plant at 100 Industrial Park Blvd. in Seaford that is now owned by Delmarva Central Railroad.

The railroad operates a transloading facility at the on-site rail spur located there, but the building itself is underutilized with no active operations. Logue said they would invest in a refurbishment of the plant and eventually hire up to 29 people, including chemical operation, maintenance/warehouse and manager/supervisor positions, over the next three years to operate it.

In addition to Royale, a secondary tenant would be sought in the future to utilize the site and create additional investment and job growth, Logue said.

To support the project, the state’s investment board, the Council on Development Finance, unanimously approved on Monday a jobs performance grant of $177,930 to create and retain the new jobs, and a capital expenditure grant of $70,500 to acquire and equip the Seaford site. The $248,430 would come from the taxpayer-backed Strategic Fund and be dependent on benchmarks.

In a Monday afternoon statement, Seaford Mayor David Genshaw said his town was excited to welcome the new employer.

“Our city has seen an incredible wave of revitalization with the help of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership, and we are grateful for their support and for Royale Pigments & Chemicals for choosing Seaford,” he said, referring to the state’s economic development agency which helped land the project.

The investment by Royale adds to recent economic development wins for the western Sussex town, which also landed an Amazon delivery station last year and has partnered with KRM Development to build a new multimillion-dollar business park meant to revive a town economy that has struggled since the famed DuPont nylon plant closed.

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