New Orleans City Business
By: City Business staff
December 23, 2019
Forest products company Martco says it’s spending $25 million to modernize its production facilities in Louisiana.
The Alexandria-based company, which operates under the trade name RoyOMartin, is investing $23 million to upgrade an oriented strand board site in Oakdale and $2.2 million to modernize a plywood manufacturing site in Chopin, a news release said.
The company will retain 1,031 employees and create 10 new direct jobs with average annual salaries of $40,000 plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates another 28 new indirect jobs.
In Oakdale, the company plans to install two cyclones on a dryer line and a new rotary drum dryer to replace an aging dryer. They will also replace an existing water-cooled fuel furnace with an air-cooled furnace, and upgrade the site’s exhaust damper. The facility will get 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, the news release said.
The Chopin project will include 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.
The state offered a $300,000 Modernization Tax Credit to support the Oakdale project. The company also is expected to take advantage of the Industrial Tax Exemption and Enterprise Zone programs for both facility upgrades.
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. The Texas subsidiary of RoyOMartin operates a Corrigan, Texas, plant that produces oriented strand board, or OSB.
In recent years, RoyOMartin has completed an $8 million kiln drying-equipment project and a $20 million expansion of its production line in Chopin.