Today, Governor Bobby Jindal and Jon M. Huntsman, Founder and Executive Chairman of Huntsman Corp., announced a $78 million investment at Huntsman's Geismar chemical facility. Huntsman's investment will yield a 50-kiloton increase in the facility's output of methylene diphenyl isocyanate, or MDI -- a key component of polyurethanes used in car seating, furniture, and energy-saving insulation products. The investment will also fund extensive modernization of the facility's operations.
The Huntsman expansion will create 17 new direct jobs, with an average salary of $92,000, plus benefits. LED also estimates the project will result in 60 indirect jobs, for a total of 77 new jobs. In addition, the project will retain 397 existing jobs at the Geismar facility. An additional 100 construction jobs are expected to result from the project. The state's strong business climate, Geismar site's competitiveness, its access to U.S. shale gas reserves, and the Louisiana location's strong logistical base provided an advantage over competing sites internationally.
Governor Jindal said, "Today's project is a great win for Louisiana. Huntsman evaluated its other facilities for this investment, but chose Louisiana because of our strong business climate, incomparable workforce, energy infrastructure and access to shale gas reserves. Indeed, Huntsman is yet another company that will benefit not just from Louisiana's rich natural resources, but from our increasingly competitive business climate and world-class pool of workers. Louisiana is centered in the middle of a natural gas boom because of our access to shale gas reserves, and it's helping to create thousands of opportunities for our people."
Huntsman Corp., based in The Woodlands, Texas, operates 75 facilities in 27 countries and serves customers in more than 100 countries. The specialty chemicals company supports more than 12,000 employees worldwide, including 700 in Louisiana, where it has a facility in Lake Charles.
The Geismar expansion is part of a global investment to support Huntsman's production of MDI, which is used in energy-saving insulation products, cushioning for car seating and furniture, footwear adhesives and other applications. With strong ongoing demand for MDI, Huntsman evaluated its polyurethane business and is increasing efficiency and production at its U.S. facility in Geismar, as well as at its facility in the Netherlands.
"The benefits of U.S. shale gas have significantly improved the economics of investing in U.S. facilities, and Huntsman has a number of other investments planned, which will take advantage of lower-cost natural gas," said Jon M. Huntsman. "In making these investments, Huntsman has benefited from the support of Louisiana Economic Development and Ascension Parish Economic Development. We thank them for their cooperation and support."
Using improved process technology developed by Huntsman, the facility in Geismar will increase output to 500 kilotons of MDI, helping to support the company's position as the leader in MDI production in the Americas region. The facility's process improvement is under way, and Huntsman expects the upgrade to be completed by the end of 2014.
"We know that Huntsman was looking at alternative locations for this project and we sincerely appreciate their continued investment in the Geismar complex," Ascension Parish President Tommy Martinez said. "Huntsman has been a superior corporate citizen of Ascension Parish and we look forward to many more years of mutual cooperation with their employees and management."
LED's Business Expansion and Retention Group, or BERG, and regional economic development officials joined the company in initial discussions about the project in October 2012. To support Huntsman's expansion, the state offered an incentives package that includes a $1.5 million Modernization Tax Credit, payable over five years. In addition, the company is expected to utilize the state's Industrial Tax Exemption Program.
"It's a clear testament to the quality of our state and local business climate and the productivity of our workforce when companies that are already here continue to invest and add employees," said Ascension Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Mike Eades.
Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals through operating companies that manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging. Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman has approximately 12,000 employees and operates from multiple locations worldwide. The company recorded 2012 revenues of more than $11 billion. For more information, visit www.huntsman.com.