published Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Chattanooga's Chattem Chemicals to expand, add 50 jobs in St. Elmo

In its biggest expansion since the company was spun off from Chattem Inc., nearly two decades ago, Chattem Chemicals will build a fifth building on its St. Elmo campus this summer to boost production of the active pharmaceutical ingredients it makes for both consumer and industrial markets.

Chattem Chemicals, a division of Sun Pharma, announced Tuesday that it will invest $6 million and add 25 employees to the 80-employee Chattanooga operation in the next year. In the next several years, the company plans to again expand with another $10 million to $15 million addition that will add another 25 jobs.

"This is an expansion of our current portfolio," said Jason Paul Allen, vice president and general manager at Chattem Chemicals. "Chattanooga is a strong pro-business community and the quality of life here makes it favorable to recruit and retain employees."

Allen said the jobs created by Chattem Chemicals's expansion are chemical operations and chemical engineering positions, and the company plans to recruit graduates of Chattanooga State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Sun Pharma, a 31-year-old drug maker based in Mumbai, India, acquired Chattem Chemicals in 2008 from Elcat Inc., which had owned Chattem Chemicals since it was spun off in 1995 from Chattem Corp., the Chattanooga-based manufacturer of health and beauty products.

Last year, Sun Pharma generated sales of $403 million in the United States, or 61 percent of its total sales, and the company projects it will grow overall sales by 13 percent to 15 percent this year.

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke and Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger will recognize the expansion plans by Chattem Chemicals today at the Mayors' annual business appreciation breakfast.

"Chattem Chemical's commitment to two expansions in Chattanooga will create good, middle-class jobs for our citizens and support overall economic development for our community," Berke said Tuesday.

Coppinger said "it's great to see their interest in hiring local graduates" to fill the new jobs.

Chattem Chemicals currently operates four office and production buildings in St. Elmo that collectively have 81,851 square feet, according to the Hamilton County Assessor's Office.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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