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At a glance
•Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream: Investing $6 million, adding seven jobs
•M&S Industrial Fabricators Inc.: Investing $550,000

2 Huntington plants updating

Ice cream maker adds 7 jobs; both to get tax breaks

Two Huntington plants are investing in equipment, and one is adding seven jobs.

The Good Humor-Breyers Ice Cream plant at 435 W. State St. is spending $6 million to moderniz the $9.7 million worth of equipment in the plant. It is also adding seven jobs to its workforce of 193, the company told the Huntington City Council on Tuesday.

M&S Industrial Fabricators Inc. is investing $500,000 in equipment at its plant at 5 Commercial Road.

The council voted unanimously to give both companies 10-year phase-ins of taxes on the new equipment.

The investment in the Good Humor-Breyers plant is especially good news for Huntington County, said Mark Wickersham, executive director of the Huntington County United Economic Development Corp.

“It’s among the largest investments made in northeast Indiana this year,” Wickersham said.

Faced with overcapacity, plant owner Unilever Corp. of London has been evaluating which U.S. facilities to modernize and which to close, Wickersham said.

A spokesman at Unilever’s U.S. headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. But Wickersham said that with the investment, he expects the company’s Huntington ice cream plant to keep operating for a long time.

“You don’t make that kind of an investment and easily walk away from it,” he said.

Good Humor-Breyers will add the seven jobs by February. In documents filed with the city, the company said it will pay $561,000 a year, or $80,000 on average.

Wickersham was unsure whether that figure includes benefits, and he speculated it includes a highly paid post that skews the average upward.

Companies don’t typically include the cost of benefits when applying for city tax abatements, Wickersham said. The Good Humor-Breyers application said payroll for its 193 current employees is $8.5 million a year, or $44,000 on average.

M&S Industrial’s application said payroll for its 71 employees is $1.82 million a year, or $26,000 on average. M&S fabricates metal products for several industries, including automotive, Wickersham said.