Austria-based Kronospan, a leading manufacturer of wood-based panel products, said it plans to invest $362 million to expand its operations in Calhoun County, adding 160 jobs to its Alabama workforce.
Kronospan said the expansion consists of four separate projects:
· Two laminate flooring and decorative paper impregnation lines
· A particleboard and thermally infused laminate line
· An enlargement of the KronoChem resin plant
· Development of a furniture cluster
“I’m honored and pleased to see Kronospan embark on an expansion in Oxford that will create good jobs for the citizens of Calhoun County,” Governor Bentley said. “Job creation is my No. 1 priority because it means new opportunities for Alabama residents.”
Kronospan has been operating in Calhoun County since 2008. Once the expansion is complete, the company will have invested $650 million in Alabama and its workforce will number 270 people, according to the Calhoun County Economic Development Council.
“We sincerely appreciate the State of Alabama, acting through the Department of Commerce, the City of Oxford and Calhoun County for supporting our expansion project and making it a reality,” said Tim Pack, Kronospan’s chief financial officer.
Building on a Partnership
Calhoun County EDC Chairman Larry Deason said the expansion will make Kronospan the largest private capital investor in Oxford and one of the area’s largest employers.
“Kronospan is making a significant investment to expand its production center in Oxford, and we will work closely with the company to ensure that their project is successful,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“We look forward to building on the partnership we have developed with Kronospan since they began operations in Alabama around eight years ago,” he added.
The Alabama Career Center in Anniston will assist Kronospan as it recruits applicants for the jobs created by the expansion. Hiring for the expansions will be undertaken in phases. Once a date is set, a job fair will be conducted at the Career Center at 1731 Coleman Road.
Steven Waits, president of the Oxford City Council, said the manufacturer’s expansion will produce a substantial economic impact on the east Alabama city of 21,000 residents.
“Kronospan has continued to be a generous corporate citizen for our city, and we are looking forward to their continued presence in Oxford for generations to come,” Waits added.
“We are thrilled to witness the future impact this expansion with Kronospan will have in our community,” said Tim Hodges, chairman of the Calhoun County Commission.
NGC Industries Expansion
Kronospan’s is the second significant expansion in Calhoun County this month.
On June 7, gypsum paper producer NGC Industries announced plans to invest $26 million to expand its operations in Oxford. The project could create 14 jobs over time, according to the Calhoun County EDC.
The Oxford plant uses discarded cardboard, magazines and trimmings from print shops to produce gypsum board face and back paper. The expansion will modernize the plant and increase the efficiency of their output, according to EDC Chairman Deason.