CHOPIN, La. — One of Natchitoches Parish’s largest employers announced on May 20, 2103 a $20 million dollar expansion and modernization project at its Chopin, La., facility. President and Chief Financial Officer Roy O. Martin III of RoyOMartin-Martco Ltd. Partnership, along with Governor Bobby Jindal, announced the company will upgrade drying equipment and add another production line at the Martco plywood facility. The project will create 24 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $42,000, plus benefits and generate an additional 56 indirect jobs for a total of 80 new jobs. The company will also retain 686 jobs.
“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,” said company President Roy O. Martin III. “Now, as we begin to experience 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.”
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. Employment statewide totals more than 1,000 people.
“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,” said Governor Jindal.
LED’s Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, along with regional partner, North Louisiana Economic Partnership, met with company officials 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,” said Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin. “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 begins in mid-2013 and will be completed in the second quarter of 2014. The majority of hiring will take 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 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.
The North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) is a public-private partnership dedicated to the positive and sustainable economic development of the 14 parishes it serves in North Louisiana. The NLEP and its many partners work with both existing and prospective companies to facilitate the attraction and retention of capital investment and meaningful job opportunities in our region. For more information, visit www.nlep.org