BATON ROUGE, La. — Today, Gov. Bobby Jindal and President and Chief Financial Officer Roy O. Martin III of RoyOMartin-Martco Ltd. Partnership announced the company will invest $20 million to modernize and expand the Martco plywood facility in Chopin, La. RoyOMartin-Martco will upgrade drying equipment, add a production line and create 24 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $42,000, plus benefits. The company will retain 686 jobs, and LED estimates the expansion project will result in an additional 56 indirect jobs – for a total of 80 new jobs for the area.
Gov. Jindal said, "Over the past 90 years, RoyOMartin has become one of the leading industrial employers in Louisiana and a huge economic driver for Central and North Louisiana. We're proud that the company continues to modernize and expand its facilities in our state because of our strong business climate, world-class infrastructure, vast timber resources and skilled workforce. This expansion keeps RoyOMartin and Martco at the cutting-edge of the wood products industry and secures hundreds of valuable existing jobs while creating new career opportunities for our people."
Founded in 1923, RoyOMartin and its family of companies manage 582,000 acres of timber and related resources while manufacturing wood products as one of the largest independent lumber companies in the South. RoyOMartin's Chopin and Oakdale mills employ a combined 847 workers, and employment statewide totals more than 1,000 people.
"Through the dedication and skill of our great employees and their ability to produce quality wood products, RoyOMartin has survived one of the worst housing markets in recent memory," company President Roy O. Martin III said. "Now, as we begin to experience a resurgence in the construction industry and a renewed demand for our products, we are expanding our manufacturing operations to meet the anticipated need for wood products while continuing to build upon our 90-year commitment to Central Louisiana."
LED's Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, began discussions with the company about potential expansion opportunities in February. To secure the project, the state offered RoyOMartin-Martco a $1 million Modernization Tax Credit, to be claimed over five years. In addition, the company is expected to utilize Louisiana's Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
"We are very pleased that RoyOMartin will be expanding its Chopin Plant facility, which is already the largest of its kind in North America," Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin said. "RoyOMartin plays a major role in the economic condition of Natchitoches Parish, and this expansion will mean additional job opportunities for our people. The company is also an outstanding corporate citizen and supports numerous community programs throughout Central Louisiana. We appreciate the company's contributions to our parish and congratulate it on its success."
Project construction will begin in mid-2013 and be completed in the second quarter of 2014, with the majority of hiring taking place shortly before production begins on the new timber line next year.
"This modernization project demonstrates RoyOMartin's continued commitment to keeping its Natchitoches Parish facility competitive," said President Scott Martinez of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership. "The upgrade will ensure the company remains one of Natchitoches' largest employers. North Louisiana Economic Partnership is proud to have worked with state and local partners to assist RoyOMartin."
In April, RoyOMartin received the Best Overall Business Award at the inaugural Central Louisiana Chamber of Commerce business awards ceremony.
"RoyOMartin's new investment in its Chopin facility is great news for Central Louisiana," said President and CEO Jim Clinton of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. "It is very gratifying to see one of your largest employers and best corporate citizens make a decision to invest even more in your region. This is further confirmation that Central Louisiana is attracting new private sector investment and creating new jobs at a rapid pace."
RoyOMartin is the brand name of Martin Companies LLC, a group of family-owned, professionally managed forest-products and forestland-management companies based in Alexandria, La. Founded in 1923 as Roy O. Martin Lumber Co., the company operates four manufacturing facilities in Central Louisiana and Alabama. RoyOMartin also owns 582,000 acres of timberland in Louisiana, making it one of the largest private landowners in the South. RoyOMartin's family-owned forestlands are certified as well-managed according to the principles and criteria of the Forest Stewardship Council®, or FSC®, an independent, nonprofit conservation organization. RoyOMartin's wood products are also available FSC®-certified. For more information, visit www.royomartin.com.