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Essex expects to create 215 jobs in Marion

MARION, S.C. (AP) -- Essex Holdings Inc. says it's building a new plant in rural Marion, S.C. and creating 215 jobs.

The Miami-based global producer and trader of commodities announced Wednesday it's investing $54.4 million in the facility expected to open this summer. Hiring should begin in May.

President and CEO Navin Xavier says the new plant will support expansion of the company's food division. According to its Web site, that division consists of baby diapers and rice sold under the Max Star Choice brand.

Gov. Nikki Haley says the company's decision to locate in Marion is a big win for the state's rural areas.

Marion County consistently posts one of the state's highest unemployment rates. Its January rate was the state's worst, at 19.2 percent.