By JACK WEATHERLY
Tissue paper manufacturer Sofidel America Corp. announced on Thursday that it bought a building just constructed by another company in Hattiesburg and will hire 230 to 260 workers.
Sofidel acquired the new 400,000-square-foot building in the Hattiesburg-Forrest County Industrial Park From Green Bay Converting Inc., which had intended to set up expanded operations there.
Green Bay will maintain operations at its current 150,000-square-foot Hattiesburg location, which has about 100 workers.
It will continue to contract out of its Hattiesburg plant for Sofidel and other tissue makers, said Chad Newell, president of the Hattiesburg Area Development Partnership.
Green Bay announced in July 2014 plans to build the plant for $48 million and hire 300 over five years. Green Bay takes large rolls of paper and converts them into various products.
Tammy Craft, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Development Authority, said in an email that the $120 million price put on the deal by Sofidel also includes the “amount . . . they will be investing over the next five years as they add production lines and expand their operations. The company will also be investing substantially in new machinery that offers more sophisticated advanced manufacturing technologies.”
Sofidel, which is a privately held company based in Italy with operations in 13 countries, also said in its release that it has bought an 800,000-square-foot converting plant in Wisconsin from Green Bay.
Sofidel expects to begin local recruiting immediately in order to start production by December.
Sofidel America Chief Executive Tony Curtis said in a prepared statement that the decision was made because of the plant being ready for “immediate occupancy, the pro-business environment found here, and the skilled work force. . . . Certainly proximity to our customer base was another key consideration.”
The manufacturer recently established headquarters in Philadelphia.
State and local tax incentives valued at $9.57 million awarded by Mississippi Development Authority to Green Bay will be transferred to Sofidel, according to the MDA. However, that value is subject to change, depending on valuation of assets.
Also transferring are training provided by MDA and valued at $405,000 and a federal Economic Development Administration grant for $700,000 for a looped water system.
“MDA salutes the leadership at the city of Hattiesburg, Forrest County and the Area Development Partnership who helped bring Sofidel to Mississippi,” said MDA Executive Director Glenn McCullough.
Founded in 1966 in Pocari, Italy, Sofidel is a global leader in sanitary and domestic paper production. Sofidel America was established in 2012 through the acquisition of the Cellynne tissue company.
Sofidel also has operations in Haines City, Fla.; Henderson, Nev.; Tulsa, Okla., and Columbus, Ohio.