Gov. Jindal And KPAQ Industries CEO Bob Boschee Highlight Progress At Pulp And Paper Mill In St. Francisville
Tuesday, August 05 2014
With nearly 300 employees, KPAQ exceeds initial employment projections at revitalized paper mill
St. Francisville, LA -- Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and KPAQ Industries LLC President and CEO Bob Boschee highlighted the company’s growth and success in West Feliciana Parish since the company’s reopening of the paper mill in 2010. The company now employs 295 workers at the paper mill with an average salary of $64,000, plus benefits, eclipsing the initial hiring target of 233. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project is resulting in 919 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,200 jobs in the Capital Region and surrounding areas. To date, the company has invested more than $33 million in the mill facilities. Its total capital investment is expected to reach an estimated $38 million by the end of 2014.
Gov. Jindal said, “The success of KPAQ Industries here in St. Francisville truly is a testament to our state’s talented workforce and strong business climate. As a top economic driver in West Feliciana Parish, KPAQ is not only a leader in the paper and pulp industry, but a leader in the community as well. We congratulate KPAQ’s staff on their success and wish them the best as they continue to improve the paper mill and increase production. Today, more people are working in Louisiana than ever before because of companies like KPAQ, and we will continue working to support Louisiana businesses and help existing employers expand in our state.”
A subsidiary of Amzak Capital Management, KPAQ formed in July 2010 and announced the reopening of the St. Francisville paper mill. The mill had been idle after two previous owners – Tembec Inc. and West Feliciana Acquisition LLC – ceased operations. With a stabilized market and new leadership, KPAQ reopened the mill for commercial operations in late 2010. Today, the paper mill produces more than 250,000 tons of products annually.
“KPAQ has grown out of a startup from a bankruptcy to become a sustainable packaging manufacturer in the pulp and paper industry,” Boschee said. “The support of the State of Louisiana and the Louisiana Economic Development organization, including the Quality Jobs Program, has been instrumental in the company’s success and growth.”
With 295 employees, KPAQ ranks as one of the largest private-sector employers in West Feliciana Parish. KPAQ is the only independent paper mill in North America to manufacture its products completely from Southern softwood fiber. Products include lightweight linerboard, paper bags and unbleached market pulp. All of KPAQ’s finished products are recyclable and in full compliance with the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, an independent nonprofit focused on protecting the viability of forests and their resources.
To secure the project, LED offered KPAQ a competitive incentive package, which includes a performance-based grant of up to $16.75 million, payable in annual installments over eight years, along with the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart® – the nation’s No. 1-ranked state workforce development program. The company also is utilizing Louisiana’s Quality Jobs Program.
Through its parent company, KPAQ is continuing efforts to acquire a short-line rail route from the Illinois Central Railroad, a business unit of Canadian National Railway, through Geaux Geaux Railroad LLC, a logistics company affiliated with the mill. Reopening the rail line that runs from near St. Francisville through Slaughter, Zachary and on to Illinois Central’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana, yard will provide additional growth opportunities for KPAQ and other businesses along the route.
“KPAQ is one of the most significant private employers in West Feliciana Parish,” said Parish President Kevin Couhig. “The investment made by KPAQ, assisted by Louisiana Economic Development, has strengthened our community, and it is hard to overestimate the positive effects of their successful efforts to save this operation. In a country with less and less manufacturing each year, having KPAQ in our community provides a positive and lasting economic impact to the people of our parish.”
About KPAQ Industries
For more information, visit www.kpaq.com.