Boise Cascade Company announced new investments in Alabama and Louisiana in support of its engineered wood products (EWP) growth strategy.
In Alabama, the company is adding I-joist production capabilities to its Thorsby EWP mill and converting a plywood layup line to a parallel laminated veneer line at the Chapman plywood facility. The Chapman investment adds to its important integration into the company's EWP growth plans. In addition, the Chapman plywood facility extended employment opportunities to approximately 50 of the 80 associates affected by the recently announced Chapman lumber operations curtailment. At its Oakdale, Louisiana facility, major projects planned include the upgrade and redesign of the log utilization center, a new veneer dryer and press, and modification of an existing veneer dryer. These investments are expected to take place over a two-year period.
"We are looking forward to these major expansions and upgrades to further solidify our market position in EWP," said Chris Seymour, SVP, Wood Products Manufacturing Operations. "We have great teams in the southeastern U.S. and are pleased to further invest in our meaningful asset bases in Alabama and Louisiana."
On a total company basis, the current estimate of capital expenditures for 2024 is $250 million to $270 million. This range includes the investments above and spending on the previously announced greenfield distribution centers in Hondo, Texas and Walterboro, South Carolina in company's Building Materials Distribution segment.
News release from Louisiana Economic Development office
OAKDALE, La. - Boise Cascade Wood Products announced it plans to invest $75 million to expand and modernize key machine centers at its Oakdale facility in Allen Parish. These projects will increase veneer production capacity by 30 percent and allow the facility to produce up to 400 million square feet of dry veneer annually.
The company expects to create 30 direct new jobs, while retaining 370 current positions. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 77 indirect new jobs, for a total of 107 potential new jobs in the Southwest Region.
"Louisiana's thriving agribusiness industry has been a stronghold in the economy throughout our state's storied history, creating jobs and opportunities in every region," Gov. Jeff Landry said. "I applaud Boise Cascade for reinvesting in Louisiana and our skilled manufacturing workforce."
The projects include upgrade and redesign of Oakdale's log utilization center, installation of a new six-deck veneer dryer and press and modification of an existing veneer dryer. The upgraded technology is designed to increase productivity and will allow Oakdale to supply additional veneer to Boise Cascade's engineered wood products (EWP) facility in central Louisiana. The company also operates a plywood and veneer facility in Florien, La.
"Boise Cascade has a long history of doing business in Louisiana, and in fact, mill capacity at our EWP mill near Alexandria is the largest in North America," Boise Cascade Wood Products Executive Vice President Mike Brown said. "This major investment in Oakdale reflects our ongoing commitment to invest in job sustainability and the state's economy."
Boise Cascade anticipates construction to start in the second half of 2024, with an estimated completion date in mid-2025. Construction is expected to generate 238 jobs at peak construction.
"We want to congratulate and thank Boise Cascade for its commitment to Allen Parish," Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance Vice President of Economic Development Jonathan Dean said. "This $75 million investment in the Oakdale facility is a testament to the quality workforce we have in our communities."
To secure the project in Oakdale, the state of Louisiana offered Boise Cascade a competitive incentives package that includes the comprehensive workforce development solutions of LED FastStart. It also includes a $750,000 performance-based forgivable loan from the Economic Development Award Program for infrastructure and equipment repairs, contingent upon board approval and meeting investment and payroll targets. The company is also expected to participate in the state's Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
"The Allen Parish Police Jury is excited that Boise Cascade has decided to expand on its current investments in Allen Parish," the Allen Parish Police Jury said in a statement. "We are thankful Boise Cascade continues to value the unique assets of our parish. The wood products industry has been vital to Allen Parish families and the local economy throughout its history, and Boise Cascade's upcoming project helps ensure that the industry remains alive and continues to grow in our area."
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