•$23 million in Oakdale
•$2.2 million in Chopin
•1,031 employees retained
•38 new jobs
Gov. John Bel Edwards and Chairman Roy O. Martin III of forest products company Martco LLC announced the company will invest a combined $25 million to modernize its production facilities in Louisiana. The facilities, which operate under the trade name RoyOMartin, include an oriented strand board site in Oakdale that will receive a $23 million capital investment, and a plywood manufacturing site in Chopin, which will receive a $2.2 million capital investment.
With the projects, the company will retain 1,031 employees in Louisiana and create 10 new direct jobs with an average annual salary of $40,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the projects will result in 28 new indirect jobs, for a total of 38 new jobs. “RoyOMartin is a prime example of a Louisiana-based company that is committed to supporting our state, our economy and our people,” Gov. Edwards said. “The company’s continual reinvestment in Louisiana facilities is a testament to the strength of our natural resources, our highly skilled workforce, and our welcoming business community.
This latest investment reaffirms RoyOMartin’s stance as a community partner dedicated to Louisiana’s future.” The modernization of the Oakdale facility includes the installation of two cyclones on a dryer line and the installation of a new rotary drum dryer to replace an aging dryer. Additionally, the Oakdale facility will see the replacement of an existing water-cooled fuel furnace with an air-cooled furnace, and an upgrade to the site’s exhaust damper.
The facility also will gain two 35-ton cranes to replace 15-ton cranes, with an upgrade for ground control of the cranes using the latest GPS technology. The modernization will decrease inefficiencies, lower fire hazards and enhance air quality.
“RoyOMartin believes in our team members and strives to give them the best tools and equipment to safely meet product demand and remain competitive and economically sustainable in our markets,” said Martin, who also serves as CEO and chief financial officer. “The replacement of our Oakdale facility’s log-crane system, with two high-capacity cranes that can be safely operated from the ground – along with new dryer capacity – will add years of service to the plant. Furthermore, our Chopin plywood mill has upgraded its scanning and control systems, which in addition to replacing its log-infeed systems will help sustain the facility for many years. These newest long-term commitments reflect RoyOMartin’s ongoing determination to maintain its reputation for having the safest, most technologically advanced and efficient wood-products facilities in North America.”
In Chopin, the company’s modernization will feature plantwide upgrades, including the installation of new programmable logic controllers for the site’s manufacturing process. The facility also will receive new equipment to improve safety and upgrade existing equipment.
“As the RoyOMartin plant in Oakdale is a leading employer in Allen Parish, this announcement of new capital investment and workforce expansion is a win-win for both the company and the community,” said President and CEO George Swift of the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “For 97 years, RoyOMartin has been a valued part of the South Central Louisiana community, employing generations of workers. The SWLA Economic Development Alliance congratulates and applauds RoyOMartin for their commitment as a Louisiana-based industry continuing to grow their business locally.”
Founded in 1923, the Martin family business and its subsidiaries manage 550,000 acres of timber and related resources while manufacturing wood products as one of the largest independent lumber companies in the South. In addition to the facilities in Chopin and Oakdale, the Texas subsidiary of RoyOMartin operates a Corrigan, Texas, plant that produces oriented strand board, or OSB. “RoyOMartin’s investment in modernizing its Martco plant will have a big economic impact for Chopin, Natchitoches Parish and the region,” said President Scott Martinez of the North Louisiana Economic Partnership. “The company’s commitment to the Chopin community is a testament to the region’s robust wood basket, great business climate and dedicated workforce.”
To secure the investments in the Chopin and Oakdale facilities, the State of Louisiana provided a competitive incentive package that includes a $300,000 Modernization Tax Credit to support the Oakdale facility. Additionally, the company is expected to participate in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Enterprise Zone programs for both facility upgrades. “Allen Parish benefits tremendously from the presence of the RoyOMartin facility in Oakdale, and the reinvestment in this facility will continue RoyOMartin’s successful history in the parish,” said President Matthew Fontenot of the Allen Parish Police Jury.
“Not only is the company a responsible business partner in our community, but they provide valuable jobs to many of our people, close to home. We are grateful for all RoyOMartin does for our community, and I congratulate them on this new investment.” Headquartered in Alexandria, RoyOMartin has completed a series of capital investment projects in recent years, including an $8 million kiln drying-equipment project and a $20 million production line expansion in Chopin.
“We congratulate RoyOMartin for its success in the forest products industry and thank them for the planned upgrades to the facility at Chopin,” said Natchitoches Parish President Rick Nowlin. “RoyOMartin has been a vital component of our parish’s economy for many years, and we are pleased to see this new investment in our parish. This means continued success for RoyOMartin and increased job opportunities for our citizens.” “Congratulations to RoyOMartin for its latest investments in the Central Louisiana economy,” said President Jim Clinton of the Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. “The company’s deep roots in our region provide jobs and opportunities for thousands of our residents. We are very happy to see this continued growth.”