Bunkie: Governor Bobby Jindal and CEO Dan Feibus of Gulf Coast Spinning Company LLC announced the firm will invest $130 million in a new cotton spinning facility in Bunkie, with construction beginning in mid-2014. The announcement – which is the second phase of a project that launched four years ago with a Lacassine, La., mill – will lead to the creation of 307 new direct jobs averaging more than $30,100 per year, plus benefits. LED estimates an additional 722 new indirect jobs will result, for a total of more than 1,000 new jobs.
Gulf Coast Spinning is a new venture and follows the first-phase opening of a Zagis USA spinning facility that employs 79 people in Jefferson Davis Parish. That project was announced as the first of two mills that would attract a $75 million capital investment to the state. The Zagis mill in Lacassine represented a capital investment of nearly $20 million. Including the new facility to be built on 43.5 acres at the Bunkie Industrial Park, the two mills will represent a combined capital investment of approximately $150 million – or twice the originally announced investment. Together, both mill projects will create 386 new direct jobs and result in 1,040 new indirect jobs.
Gov. Jindal said, “Today’s announcement proves what the extensive agricultural resources of Louisiana can produce, when combined with our state’s incomparable workforce and the investment of technology in state-of-the-art facilities. The Zagis project in Lacassine has shown the value of Louisiana’s cotton resources and our ability to add tremendous value to those resources through agribusiness investments. This new cotton spinning facility in Bunkie will bring hundreds of jobs to Avoyelles Parish and the Central Louisiana economy, providing great career opportunities for Louisiana families for many years to come.”
Gulf Coast Spinning expects to ship the majority of its cotton yarn overseas in similar fashion to the Zagis USA mill in Lacassine, where 85 percent of the spun yarn is exported. When both mills are running, the facilities will tap about 15 percent to 20 percent of Louisiana’s total cotton crop.
“The continued investment in Louisiana represents our belief that this state has the critical infrastructure, energy, and workforce advantages that will allow us to grow and prosper in the future,” Feibus said. “With the great support at every point in the process – from civic leaders in Bunkie, CLECO and the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry – we have been fortunate to be able to work with LED and its world-class, business-savvy team lead by Secretary Stephen Moret. LED’s commitment to rural economic development and its focus on helping existing businesses grow and prosper has been a critical help in making this a reality.”
To secure the original Zagis project in Lacassine, as well as the second-phase project in Bunkie, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that includes a portion of the $2.4 million Economic Development Loan Program award given to Zagis in conjunction with the original project. The loan will be forgiven upon Zagis USA and Gulf Coast Spinning achieving their respective payroll targets. In addition, the Bunkie project will receive the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart® – the No. 1-ranked state workforce development program in the nation – at no cost to the company. Gulf Coast Spinning also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.
After completing front-end engineering and design work, Gulf Coast Spinning will begin construction of the Bunkie project in mid-2014. The company targets hiring more than 200 employees by the end of 2015 and reaching full employment of 307 people in 2016. At 500,000 square feet, the Bunkie cotton spinning mill will be about four times the size of the first plant.
“The announcement of the partnership between the City of Bunkie and Gulf Coast Spinning is a historic economic development milestone for the City of Bunkie, Avoyelles Parish and Central Louisiana,” Bunkie Mayor Mike Robertson said. “This announcement changes the future of our community and Central Louisiana. This is the day we have worked so hard to achieve: This partnership allows Bunkie to participate in bringing work opportunities to Central Louisiana.”
“Congratulations to Mayor Robertson, the City of Bunkie and the Parish of Avoyelles,” said President and CEO Jim Clinton of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “Central Louisiana continues to create manufacturing jobs, and this announcement provides further evidence that we are a region where good people make good things.”