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Foreign Investors Choose Louisiana

Louisiana’s reputation as a destination for Foreign Direct Investment grew in 2018, with billions of dollars in new FDI projects progressing in the state.

Companies from China, Japan, Germany, Australia and Argentina were among the international investors announcing projects in advanced manufacturing, green energy, food processing, petrochemicals and other sectors of the Louisiana economy.

Shintech drone imageWhat brought them here? Louisiana’s infrastructure, geography, a productive workforce and a business-friendly climate shaped the site selection decisions. The investments affirmed Louisiana’s No. 1 ranking in per capita FDI among U.S. states — more than $60 billion has arrived on Louisiana shores during the past decade.

Since 2010, FDI employment in Louisiana has grown 20.7 percent, according to the Organization for International Investment, or OFII.

More than $60 billion has arrived on Louisiana shores during the past decade.

Among 2018 FDI highlights was FG LA, a subsidiary of Formosa Chemical Corp. Describing its proposed $9.4 billion chemical complex as the Sunshine Project, FG LA bought 2,400 acres in St. James Parish. The company’s final investment decision, pending permits, is imminent for the ethylene production site that will be built on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Formosa’s complex will employ 1,200 people following a 10-year buildout and will result in 8,000 additional new indirect jobs.

Other international firms pledged billion-dollar investments in Louisiana during 2018. Wanhua Chemical Group Ltd. of China chose Louisiana for a $1.25 billion, chemical manufacturing project in St. James Parish that will result in 1,230 new permanent jobs.

Wanhua announcement stageWanhua’s 250-acre site with deep-draft Mississippi River access and rail service will produce MDI, or methylene diisocyanate, a product sought by automotive, appliance, textile and electronics makers.

Shintech Louisiana LLC, a subsidiary of Japan-based Shin-Etsu Chemical, announced a $1.49 billion investment in chlor-alkali and plastics production. Shintech’s latest Louisiana commitment will result in 700 new direct and indirect jobs and a cumulative $6 billion invested in the state.

Since 2010, FDI employment in Louisiana has grown 20.7 percent.

Additional 2018 international projects include:

  • Germany-based BASF’s $150 million MDI expansion in Geismar. The world’s largest chemical maker, BASF will generate 85 new jobs while retaining 1,500 direct and contractor jobs at the more than 2,000-acre Ascension Parish site.
  • Fuji Vegetable Oil Inc., the U.S. arm of Japan’s Fuji Oil Group, which broke ground on a $70 million palm, coconut and sunflower oil processing plant in Jefferson Parish. The project will result in 87 new direct and indirect jobs.
  • A $22.4 million capital investment by the U.S. subsidiary of Germany-based VEGA, which will build in Ascension Parish. There, VEGA will make intricate measuring devices for advanced manufacturers and directly employ 120 workers.
  • Latin America’s leading producer of flat steel, Ternium, selected The Port of Caddo-Bossier in Shreveport over potential sites in Mexico and elsewhere for a $14.7 million expansion of its Ternium USA steel plant.
  • Syrah Technologies of Australia chose Vidalia, Louisiana, for a $25 million facility that will process graphite for electric car batteries and result in 55 new direct and indirect jobs.
  • In New Orleans, LM Wind Power of Denmark, the world’s largest maker of turbine blades that power wind energy, announced it will develop a Technology Center for the Americas at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Center. Owned by GE Renewable Energy, the firm will retain 45 jobs and create 100 new professional jobs.

“The NASA campus offers world-class logistical support, including port facilities that enable the company to move large equipment into and out of our expanded research facility,” says LM Wind Power CEO Duncan Berry, who cites Louisiana’s workforce training partnerships as a key advantage.