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Japan's Daikin launches huge US air-conditioner plant

The $410-million facility replaces four older factories

WALLER, U.S. -- More than 400 people, including local politicians and a former Japanese prime minister, attended a ceremony Wednesday to mark the launch of Japan's Daikin Industries' $410 million air-conditioner factory in the U.S. state of Texas near Houston.

"Our new factory will be No. 1 in the U.S. for competitiveness," Daikin Chairman Noriyuki Inoue said at the event.

The factory, built by the company's U.S. subsidiary, Goodman Global, consolidates the operations of four older plants in the country. Daikin acquired Goodman Global in 2012 for $3.7 billion.

Among the attendees were former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and the vice chairman of Japanese motor manufacturer Nidec.

The factory covers a total space of 370,000 sq. meters, making it the second biggest of its kind in the U.S.

It stands on a 2-million-sq.-meter plot and produces commercial- and residential-use air conditioners.

Daikin plans to nearly double the number of workers at the factory to about 8,000 by March 2019. It envisions an annual capacity of 3 million units.

The company decided in 2015 to build the massive plant in response to growing U.S. demand. 

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