The Hood Container paper mill in West Feliciana Parish is undergoing a $50 million upgrade to boost its efficiency and capacity.
The project is expected to support 75 construction jobs but not add new permanent jobs to the mill's 306 existing employees, company, state and local officials announced Thursday. The mill has a $23 million annual payroll.
The announcement was made by Wayne Morgan, senior vice president of Hood Container of Louisiana LLC, and Gov. John Bel Edwards.
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 on the Mississippi River near St. Francisville, the Louisiana Economic Development department said.
The latest project involves installing equipment that will increase the efficiency of the mill's pulp-refining operation and allow increased paper production with better paper quality.
“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," Edwards said. "This represents another important win for our economy in rural Louisiana.”
Louisiana Economic Development began discussions about the project with the company in May 2019. The state offered the company an incentive package that includes a $200,000 Modernization Tax Credit spread over a five-year period. Hood Container also is expected to use 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 contributes to 479 indirect jobs.
Hood Container of Louisiana LLC is a subsidiary of Hood Cos. Inc., a privately owned, closely held holding company and is the parent to operating subsidiaries involved in the manufacture and distribution of forest and wood products, building and construction materials, and flexible and corrugated packaging products throughout North America.
The company acquired the St. Francisville paper mill from Amzak Capital Management LLC in October 2015. It complements Hood Container’s mill in New Johnsonville, Tennessee, and Hood’s converting operations across the Southeast. The Hood Container Corp. was established in July 2012 with its purchase of the New Johnsonville mill in Tennessee from International Paper.