Memphis, Tennessee based International Paper (IP) has announced plans to invest up to $52.2 million in capital to increase the efficiency of its mill in Bogalusa, Louisiana, which has been a manufacturing mainstay in the area for more than a century.
Through the project, IP plans to retain the mill’s 492 direct jobs that provide an average annual salary of more than $86,000, plus benefits. In Bogalusa, IP operates a paper mill and a corrugated box plant. The modernization program would enhance the paper mill’s efficiency by upgrading the recovery boiler system, along with filtration, condenser and acid system enhancements in the papermaking process.
The latest project plan would bring International Paper’s investment in capital upgrades at the Bogalusa Mill to $487 million since the company purchased the Washington Parish site in a 2012 acquisition of Temple-Inland Inc.
“Our planned investment represents the mill’s ongoing focus on maintaining safe and reliable operations, producing essential products that meet the needs of our customers and providing good jobs to the region,” said Bogalusa Mill Manager, Bernie Chascin. “We are grateful for the support of Louisiana leaders and our community partners who play an important role in our success,” he said. “The plentiful fiber resources and hardworking people of Louisiana have made doing business here a worthwhile investment for over a century, and that is why we continue to invest today.”
Since making an initial $44 million capital investment in crane and wood-chipping technology in 2012, IP has increased the number of direct employees in its Bogalusa workforce from 411 to 492, a nearly 20 percent gain.
Louisiana Economic Development began formal discussions about the Bogalusa Mill project plan with International Paper in March 2020. To secure the project, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes a $500,000 Modernization Tax Credit, and the company also is expected to utilize the Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
“Upon hearing the news of International Paper’s plans to invest millions of dollars into the mill and into our community, I was elated,” Bogalusa Mayor Wendy O’Quin-Perrette said. “This is a significant reinvestment by International Paper that will affect the lives of every citizen in the City of Bogalusa. By securing nearly 500 jobs, we look forward to the economic prosperity this investment will bring to our community for many years to come.”