Johnson Controls (JCI), the world's largest supplier of automotive batteries, has broken ground on a new 400,000 sq ft distribution centre in Middletown, Delaware. The company is spending over US$75m on the facility, which will perform the charging, packaging and distribution of automotive batteries for the northeast region of the United States.

The building, located in the Westown Business Park, is set for completion in August. It will have a capacity of 8.5m units per year with the capability of expanding to 14m. It will employ up to 225 employees at full capacity and the company will begin moving production to the facility throughout September and October.

Currently, JCI manufactures the complete battery at its existing Middletown facility. With the new distribution centre the process will be divided between the two plants. The battery core will be manufactured at the company's existing plant, and then sent to the new distribution centre as a dry battery for filling with electrolyte, charging, testing, packaging and shipping.

In February, JCI was awarded $2.06m from the Delaware Strategic Fund to assist with construction of the facility and to purchase new equipment. An additional $384,968 performance-based grant was awarded for jobs created and retained in Delaware.

The supplier also received a real estate tax abatement from the town of Middletown for the next 10 years.