Pipe manufacturer seeks funding for new Minot plant

A Missouri company that makes poyethylene pipe is seeking $800,000 in assistance from the MAGIC Fund to build a plant in Minot.

United Poly Systems was established in 2011 to produce high-density polyethylene pipe. The company currently operates a plant in Springfield, Mo.

HDPE pipe is widely used in various industries, including telecommunications, power and utility, electrical and oil and gas, according to information provided to the MAGIC Fund Screening Committee. The committee meets Friday at 7:30 a.m. in City Hall to review the request.

The production facility planned for the agricultural park in east Minot initially will be 50,000 square feet, expandable to 70,000 square feet. The initial facility investment is estimated at $2.5 million.

Minot Area Development Corp. is requesting a MAGIC Fund loan of $400,000 and a grant of $400,000. The loan would be forgivable based on 20 full-time employees or equivalents by March 31, 2014, and 35 full-time equivalents a year later. The company would be expected to have 50 full-time equivalents by March 2016. The cash grant also would be contingent upon meeting the initial employment target.

United Poly Systems grew from 21 to 35 employees after its first year in Springfield and is poised to reach 50 employees by the end of this year. It manufactures three pipe sizes in Springfield and would have three production lines in Minot as well.

United Poly Systems sees a growing market in North Dakota, having already attracted an oil-field customer who uses the pipe for transporting natural gas. Other potential markets exist with the growth of city water and sewer lines and telecommunication systems in the oil region.

The company also has a manufacturing agreement to produce a product that will compete with steel pipe. With the addition of production lines for that product, the total equipment investment at the Minot plant comes to about $4.5 million.

HDPE pipe is made from ethylene from either crude oil or natural gas. The company reports that its process for producing HDPE pipe is clean, safe and environmentally friendly. Any scrap or non-conforming product is recycled back into the production process. There are no measurable air emissions, and all raw materials are in the form of easily-contained pellets, the company states.