Governor Steve Beshear today announced U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company LLC plans to build a new facility and expand its current plant in Hopkinsville. The company will invest approximately $118 million and create 42 new jobs.
U.S. Smokeless Tobacco and its predecessors have had a presence in Kentucky for more than 70 years. The company currently employs 90 full-time workers in the Commonwealth.
"U.S. Smokeless Tobacco's investment will make a significant economic impact on the state and bring more jobs to the region," said Gov. Beshear. "The company has found great success in the Commonwealth for decades, and this expansion is further proof that Kentucky is a great place to grow a business."
The new 230,000-square-foot facility will be used to process aged tobacco, including shredding, drying and flavoring. U.S. Smokeless also plans to add approximately 80,000 square feet to its existing tobacco fermentation plant in Hopkinsville. Both facilities in Christian County will be operational in 2016.
"As our smokeless tobacco business continues to grow, U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company is looking toward our future," said Brian W. Quigley, USSTC President and CEO. "We are pleased to continue investing in Kentucky and to partner with the state for this project. This new facility will complement existing production, provide jobs and investment in the local economy, and will offer additional expansion opportunities as business grows in the future."
U.S. Smokeless is the leading producer and marketer of moist smokeless tobacco, one of the fastest growing tobacco segments in the United States. U.S. Smokeless is owned by Altria Group.
To encourage the investment and job growth in Christian County, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $4.5 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets. The City of Hopkinsville and Christian County also contributed an incentive package of $1.4 million to secure this project.
"U.S. Smokeless Tobacco has long since had an active presence in Hopkinsville, and it serves one of most important agricultural industries in the region," said Sen. Whitney Westerfield, of Hopkinsville. "I am delighted to see an expansion of their services to the tobacco farmers across western Kentucky but also the opportunity for new jobs for Hopkinsville -- from the kind of corporate citizen any Kentucky community would love to have."
"This announcement speaks volumes about all of the great things our community and workforce have to offer, and I'm certainly pleased to see U.S. Smokeless Tobacco put deeper roots in Christian County," said Rep. John Tilley, of Hopkinsville. "I want to thank its leaders as well as our local and state economic development officials for working together to help make this possible. This investment and the new jobs it brings will give our economy a welcome boost."
"U.S. Smokeless Tobacco is a valued partner in our community, and we are thrilled they have chosen to locate their new manufacturing and distribution facility in Hopkinsville," said Hopkinsville Mayor Dan Kemp. "The new facility will be a significant investment and create quality jobs, providing a tremendous economic impact for the city and the region."
"U.S. Smokeless Tobacco has been an important part of our community for more than 35 years," said Christian County Judge-Executive Steve Tribble. "We couldn't be happier for the growth of a tremendous agriculture partner. We congratulate U.S. Smokeless on their successes and look forward to continuing that partnership."