Canfor Corp. announced this week it will invest $160 million to build a new state-of-the-art sawmill near DeRidder. According to Louisiana Economic Development, the new bill will create 130 new direct jobs in Beauregard Parish with an average annual salary of $59,921.
The announcement came from Canfor Corp. President and CEO Don Kayne and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in press statements released June 8.
According to the press release, the new mill will have an annual production capacity of 250 million board feet on a two-shift basis and should be operational by the third quarter of 2022. Canfor's investment in the new mill is on top of its $300 million in capital spending in 2021, $100 million of which is for solid wood operations in the South.
"We are excited to grow our operating footprint with the greenfield project in Louisiana, which will increase our production capacity and allow us to meet the growing demands of our customers," said Kayne for the British Columbia, Canada-based company. "We also continue to invest significant capital in our British Columbia and U.S. South facilities to ensure we sustain our top quartile operations and strategically grow our global operating platform."
Canfor would locate the facility on an LED Certified Site at the Beauregard Regional Airport, near DeRidder, according to the release. The sawmill would process yellow pine from Louisiana forests, with the manufacturing capacity and flexibility to produce a wide variety of high quality wood products for Canfor’s customers.
“Canfor selected Louisiana for its first greenfield project in the United States because of the sustainable and high quality fiber supply, the skilled labor force and the long history of wood products manufacturing,” Canfor Southern Pine President Tony Sheffield said. “In addition, the significant incentives and support we are receiving from the State of Louisiana are helping to make this project possible.”
To secure the project, Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart® — "the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program for the past 11 years," according to the press release. Included in the package is a a $1.5 million performance-based grant, "subject to the company reaching specified investment and payroll benchmarks."
"Should the project move forward, the company also is expected to recognize significant value from the use of Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs," according to the press release.
In addition to the 130 direct jobs, LED said it estimates the project would bring in 386 new indirect jobs and anticipates 175 construction jobs.
“Agribusiness remains one of our key industries for growing Louisiana’s economy, and our state offers unique advantages that attracted Canfor here,” Edwards said in the release. “This major new manufacturing project can resonate across the region’s economy in a variety of ways. We welcome plans for this foreign direct investment in Louisiana by this industry leader, and we look forward to the good jobs this project is expected to create in Beauregard Parish for the region’s skilled workforce.”
With the decision to pursue the new mill in Louisiana, Canfor also announced it would not proceed with a greenfield project in Washington, Georgia that was announced Feb. 22, 2018.
Canfor is a leading integrated forest products company based in Canada with interests in British Columbia, Alberta, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Arkansas, as well as in Sweden. Canfor produces primarily softwood lumber, and the company’s shares are traded on The Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol CFP. For more information, visit canfor.com.
Louisiana Economic Development is responsible for strengthening the state’s business environment and creating a more vibrant Louisiana economy. LED cultivates jobs and economic opportunity for the people of Louisiana, and promotes business opportunity for employers of all sizes. In 2020, LED attracted 58 new economic development projects representing over 11,600 new jobs, 8,600 retained jobs and more than $12.7 billion in new capital investment. LED’s Small Business Services team, in conjunction with the Louisiana Small Business Development Center Network, assisted more than 17,500 Louisiana small businesses and entrepreneurs in 2020. For more information, visit OpportunityLouisiana.com.