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They're going to make eyeliners in Elgin after Rauner trade trip A German cosmetics manufacturer is opening a plant in Illinois with state incentives, giving Gov. Rauner a chance to credit a trade mission he took to Germany and Poland in April.

Crain's Chicago Business

Thursday, September 13, 2018  |  Article  |  Steven R. Strahler

Business (10)

A German cosmetics manufacturer is opening a plant in Elgin with state incentives, giving Gov. Bruce Rauner a chance to credit a trade mission he took to Germany and Poland in April.


The factory, operated by a unit of pencil maker Faber-Castell, will start with 10 to 15 employees and aim to expand to 50 within three years, a threshold for job- and investment-linked subsidies under the state’s revamped EDGE program.


The plant will make cosmetic pencils, beginning this fall.


Christina Zech, managing director of Faber-Castell Cosmetics, said other states, including Wisconsin, offered more money upfront, but Illinois won out, mainly because of its central-U.S. location and access to O’Hare International Airport. Under EDGE, companies can get a credit against income taxes equal to 50 percent of withholdings associated with each new job, up to the level of projected investment.


State economic development officials learned last summer of Faber-Castell’s interest at a Commerce Department conference in Washington, according to Mark Peterson, CEO of Intersect Illinois, a privately funded economic development office. “That set the table.” Rauner then scheduled a stop at corporate headquarters in Stein, Germany.




The Elgin facility is in an 18-year-old warehouse acquired out of foreclosure. Faber-Castell will invest $9 million and lease 45,000 square feet, with an option to expand to 60,000.


Zech put the plant’s annual revenue goal at $50 million, half of the nearly $100 million the unit produces now. It sells private label products to major cosmetics retailers, including Sephora, she said.


For its first U.S. facility and fourth worldwide, Faber-Castell wanted a location close enough to West Coast fashion trends but no more than seven time zones Germany, she said. O’Hare is crucial for quick shipments in a literal slave-to-fashion industry.


Midwest Industrial Funds in Oak Brook completed purchase this week of the 73,000-square-foot facility with Faber-Castell’s commitment in hand. A previous tenant, Hagen Metal Products, moved several years ago to a neighboring building, according to Midwest’s Jed Degnan, director of acquisitions.