Livingston Parish will be home to a $45.3 million advanced pipe fabrication plant and its 560 fulltime jobs and $31.7 million annual payroll, officials announced Wednesday.
EPIC Piping is a company formed last month by a team that includes former employees of The Shaw Group using investment advice and funding from Bernhard Capital Partners. That firm is one of several affiliated with former Shaw Chairman and founder J.M. “Jim” Bernhard Jr. that is listed in state records at the same address in downtown Baton Rouge.
The Shaw Group was sold in 2013 to CB&I for $3 billion. The Shaw Group was founded as pipe fabrication company.
“EPIC Piping is working with Bernhard Capital Partners as a registered investment adviser in providing capital and management advisory services to EPIC,” said Kent Shepherd, president of EPIC and a former Shaw executive.
In Livingston, EPIC will build its national headquarters on the same 70-acre site as its pipe plant, just southwest of the Interstate 12 interchange at La. 63.
The 200,000-square-foot plant will be an air-conditioned workspace that features robotic equipment to optimize production speed, accuracy and efficiency, Gov. Bobby Jindal said during the announcement at the recently completed Livingston Parish Courthouse. Plans call for completion of the plant sometime in the second quarter of 2016 and include provisions for eventual expansion to 300,000 square feet.
“EPIC Piping could have taken this state-of-the-art facility and headquarters to Texas, Mississippi or Tennessee,” Jindal said. “Instead, the company’s leadership recognized the great advancement and opportunities taking place in Louisiana today.”
EPIC also has obtained use of a 60,000-square-foot facility in North Baton Rouge at 1350 Choctaw Drive, according to its website.
Shepherd said that Baton Rouge site will be used for quick filling of smaller pipe orders from smaller companies.
Larger pipe orders filled in Livingston will serve the power and chemical industries, as well as refineries, Shepherd said. CB&I’s Sunland Fabricators pipe fabrication business has a location near EPIC, in Walker.
In Texas, EPIC has plans for development of a 350-employee pipe plant at San Marcos.
Louisiana Economic Development officials estimate the Livingston plant will spin off an additional 732 indirect jobs, for a total of more than 1,200 new jobs in the Capital Region and surrounding parishes. The company estimates the project will generate 385 construction jobs.
LED officials provided taxpayer-funded financial incentives for EPIC’s location in Livingston.
Those incentives include a performance-based $1.8 million economic development award for site infrastructure. To claim that money, EPIC must meet its payroll and jobs pledges. Those pledges are for 560 jobs with an average annual pay of $56,600, plus benefits.
EPIC also can use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
The Quality Jobs program would grant EPIC a cash rebate of 6 percent of its annual payroll for a decade.
The Industrial Tax Exemption would eliminate local property taxes for the new plant for 10 years after its completion.
Shepherd said the Livingston facility “will be the first of its kind built anywhere. We are committed to providing quality, high-paying jobs to this region, and we would like to thank our state and local economic development partners for making this possible.
“We chose this location because of the quality workforce available and the accessibility for our products and future growth,” Shepherd said. “As we expand and continue to grow, Louisiana was the perfect place to double-down to make that possible.”
EPIC Piping will begin recruiting employees immediately, with construction starting sometime between April 1 and June 30.