by Max Brantley
Georgia-Pacific announced today a $250 million upgrade at its Crossett mill. The work will create short-term construction jobs, naturally. A news release said it will contribute to job preservation at the 1,300-employee operation, but it's not immediately clear if the upgrade will have workforce impact, plus or minus.
UPDATE: GP will get sales and use tax credits for new equipment and a $435,000 grant from Ashley County to move equipment. The state will provide customized training, to be determined. If new permanent employees are hired, the company qualifies for tax credits. A spokesman for the state said 40 new jobs are expected.
Georgia-Pacific today announced that its mill in Crossett, Ark., has been selected as one of the locations for the company’s previously announced more than $500 million investments in advanced, proprietary tissue-papermaking technology.
The Crossett mill will receive investments of more than $250 million to upgrade one of its existing paper machines with the advanced technology and to install associated converting equipment. Engineering and related work is beginning immediately. Start up of the upgraded and new equipment is scheduled for 2012. The project will modernize the mill, improving its long-term competitiveness and helping to preserve existing jobs at the mill. Approximately 1,300 employees currently work at the mill. The project also will create significant construction-related jobs during the work.
Together, the investment at Crossett, Ark., along with a similar investment at a second Georgia-Pacific mill, will enable the company to produce an innovative, next generation of premium branded and top-tier customer branded bath tissue to meet the growing demands of consumers and customers.
“We are pleased to announce this major investment for our manufacturing location in Crossett,” said Kathy Walters, executive vice president — Georgia-Pacific Global Consumer Products. “This reflects our company’s strong commitment to our consumer products business, to the global competitiveness of skilled Georgia-Pacific employees, to the support of the Crossett community and to the state of Arkansas that supports the value we create.”
Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe added, “This tremendous investment in Crossett reflects Georgia-Pacific’s faith in the Arkansas workforce and the business support in our state. Along with securing long-term viability for this facility and the quality jobs it provides, this project will create as many as 400 construction jobs during the expansion.”
Jim Hannan, Georgia-Pacific chief executive officer and president, said, “This project is a portion of the approximately $12 billion Georgia-Pacific and other Koch companies have invested in our businesses during the last five years — even during difficult economic conditions. Koch companies have historically invested 90 percent or more of their earnings back into their businesses so that they can continue to grow, meet customer needs and create value for society.”
This proprietary technology meets consumers’ demanding needs for premium qualities in tissue products — including softness and absorbency — while reducing combinations of fiber use, energy use or water use versus alternative papermaking processes.
This investment in Arkansas is the latest in a long history of investment in the state by Georgia-Pacific and other Koch companies. In Arkansas, Koch companies employ more than 3,100 people with total annual compensation and benefits of approximately $190 million.
Headquartered at Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world’s leading manufacturers and marketers of building products, tissue, packaging, paper, cellulose and related chemicals. The company employs more than 40,000 people at approximately 300 locations in North America, South America and Europe. Georgia-Pacific creates long-term value by using resources efficiently to provide innovative products and solutions that meet the needs of customers and society, while operating in a manner that is environmentally and socially responsible and economically sound. The familiar consumer tissue brands of Georgia-Pacific Consumer Products LP include Quilted Northern®, Angel Soft®, Brawny®, enMotion®, Sparkle®, Mardi Gras® and Vanity Fair®. Dixie Consumer Products LLC, a Georgia-Pacific company, manufactures the Dixie® brand of tabletop products. Georgia-Pacific has long been among the nation’s leading manufacturers and suppliers of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers, with brands such as Plytanium® plywood, DryPly® water repellent plywood, Ply-Bead® panels and Wood I Beam™ joists offered by Georgia-Pacific Wood Products LLC and DensArmor Plus® interior panels, DensGlass® Sheathing and ToughRock® drywall offered by Georgia-Pacific Gypsum LLC. For more information, visit www.gp.com., www.facebook.com/georgiapacific or www.twitter.com/georgiapacific.