Gov. Jindal: Hundreds of jobs could be coming

Published 11:45 pm Friday, May 2, 2014

By Monique Roth


RESERVE — News that nearly 800 new jobs, some with an average salary of more than $50,000 plus benefits, could be coming to St. John the Baptist Parish was announced Thursday by Gov. Bobby Jindal.

Jindal and Etimine USA President and CEO Gokhan Yazici announced at the Port of South Louisiana that Etimine is studying the feasibility of building a $200 million boron manufacturing facility at the Robert Farms site in Edgard on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. John Parish.

The project would lead to the creation of 200 new direct jobs, with an average annual salary of $50,000, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project would result in another 590 new indirect jobs in the region, for a total of nearly 800 new jobs.

The proposed facility would manufacture and process boron compounds for chemical and construction products, such as glass, as well as for other customers primarily in the North American market.

If Edgard is chosen as the site for the plant, Etimine would purchase 1,300 acres of the Robert Farms site near the Gramercy Bridge for $25 million, and the company would develop its manufacturing operations on approximately 200 acres of that site.

Etimine will make a final investment decision on going forward with the project in the first quarter of 2015.

Pending a final investment decision, Etimine USA could begin construction during the first quarter of 2015, with the facility to open in late 2017 or early 2018.

“Etimine USA is part of a growing international company that would be establishing its fourth location in the United States right here in Louisiana,” Jindal said. “Etimine’s potential decision to build its new manufacturing facility in our state is further proof that Louisiana is leading the way for major new business investments, including world-scale projects in the chemical manufacturing sector because of our strong business climate and skilled manufacturing workforce.”

Jindal said Etimine would be joining a long list of companies choosing to expand in Louisiana and create high-paying jobs for residents.

Part of a 79-year-old company, Etimine USA produces boron compounds for a wide span of applications, including agriculture, oilfield chemicals, biocide and pesticide chemicals, wood industries, glass and ceramics, construction products, adhesives and sealants, metallurgical products, catalysts, military use, pharmaceuticals, fire protection and textiles.

“As a U.S. operational unit of the world’s largest boron compound producer, Eti Maden Works General Management in Turkey, we believe our destiny has already chosen our destination — St. John the Baptist Parish, where we have found our hopes and promises,” Yazici said.

Yazici said the proposed construction is like planting a tree of opportunities that would grow bigger and bigger, serving many industries for high-end applications of national interest.

“Where can one find a country in the world like the United States, where opportunities are ample, scope of imagination is boundless and progress is without limit?” Yazici said. “Knowing our strength and potential, with all our optimism, I am extremely hopeful to be a great contributor to the U.S. economy and to the economic prosperity of Louisiana for many years to come.”

LED began working with Etimine USA to facilitate the company’s expansion to Louisiana in November. To secure the project, Louisiana offered the company a $3 million performance-based grant to offset site-acquisition costs. Etimine will receive the comprehensive workforce solutions of LED FastStart, ranked as the No. 1 state workforce training program in the nation. The company also is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption incentives.

“We’re extremely excited about this announcement of the first large manufacturing project for the west bank of St. John the Baptist Parish,” St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom said. “As with all great accomplishments, this win was the result of a cooperative effort, and we look forward to working with Etimine USA to make their investment in our community a success for everyone involved.”