Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Senior Vice President Wayne Morgan of Hood Container of Louisiana LLC announced the company’s paper mill in West Feliciana Parish will complete a $50 million efficiency upgrade and capacity expansion. With the project, Hood Container will retain 306 existing employees and a $23 million annual payroll at the mill on the Mississippi River, near St. Francisville, Louisiana. The expansion also is expected to support 75 construction jobs.
“Since acquiring this legacy paper mill in West Feliciana Parish, Hood Container has consistently upgraded the quality of its equipment and the efficiency of its manufacturing process,” Gov. Edwards said. “Those investments are also an important investment in people, with Hood Container now reaching the highest employment at the plant since it was closed by an international company more than a decade ago. This represents another important win for our economy in rural Louisiana.”
Hood Container acquired the 61-year-old former Crown Zellerbach and Tembec mill in 2015, after it emerged from federal bankruptcy protection filed by an interim owner. Since the acquisition, Hood has committed more than $100 million in capital investments to upgrade the facilities.
“I am pleased to announce the next step in the re-purposing of the St. Francisville Mill,” said Senior Vice President Wayne Morgan of Hood Container’s Mill Division. “Hood Container thanks the good people of West Feliciana Parish and the State of Louisiana for continuing to support our business and employees during this period of growth in our company.”
The project will increase the efficiency of Hood Container’s pulp-refining operation through the installation of two digester blow-line refiners. The expansion also will include installation of a secondary headbox and additional dryer cans, which will allow increased paper production with better paper quality.
“We welcome Hood Container’s commitment to modernize the St. Francisville paper mill,” said West Feliciana Parish President Kenny Havard. “Manufacturing is important to our economy. Hood Container’s operations stimulate local spending and provide good jobs for West Feliciana families. Through an investment in state-of-the-art technology, this project secures the future of the mill for our area.”
Louisiana Economic Development began discussions about the potential expansion with Hood Container of Louisiana in May 2019. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes a $200,000 Modernization Tax Credit, which will be allocated in equal amounts over a five-year period. Hood Container also is expected to utilize the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
In addition to linerboard for box packaging, Hood Container’s St. Francisville mill also produces kraft paper. LED estimates the mill’s economic activity yields 479 indirect jobs, for a total of 785 jobs that make Hood Container one of the Capital Region’s most significant economic driver companies.
“Hood Container’s continued investment in its operations is welcome news both for the Capital Region and the wood products sector, a core industry for the region and the state,” said President and CEO Adam Knapp of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. “Rural businesses like Hood are important drivers in their local economies, and we thank our partners at LED and in West Feliciana for supporting this expansion.”