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“Largest industry” announcement in St. James history; 1,200 new direct jobs promised

ST. JAMES — Gov. John Bel Edwards and Formosa Petrochemical Corp. executive Keh-Yen Lin announced today (April 23) the company has selected St. James Parish for a $9.4 billion chemical manufacturing complex.

The announcement include the purchase of a 2,400-acre site along the West Bank of the Mississippi River.

Located just downriver from the Sunshine Bridge, the complex would be built in two phases and produce ethylene, propylene, ethylene glycol and associated polymers. Formosa plans to operate the complex under its subsidiary and Louisiana registered company, FG LA LLC, and is branding the site as “The Sunshine Project.”

Pending the completion and approval of permits, FG could begin construction as soon as 2019 in what projects to be a 10-year building and development process in two phases.

The Sunshine Project would create 1,200 direct jobs, averaging $84,500, plus benefits. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project also would result in 8,000 new indirect jobs in the River Parishes and surrounding regions of Louisiana.

“As a major global manufacturer based in Taiwan, Formosa has operated in Louisiana for several decades, and we applaud the company’s responsible and thorough approach to developing this project,” Edwards said.

With over 100,000 employees worldwide, Formosa Plastics Group operates three Louisiana facilities with 410 employees in East Baton Rouge and Pointe Coupee parishes. Years in the making, the St. James Parish complex will create one of the world’s most innovative, single-site ethylene hubs.

Production at the Louisiana complex will support a host of plastic goods, ranging from sports equipment and food packaging to clothing and healthcare and technology products.

“We will work to keep the community updated and informed at each stage of this project,” said Formosa’s Keh-Yen Lin, who is CEO of the FG LA LLC project and executive vice president of Formosa Petrochemical Corporation.

“We welcome questions and concerns, and encourage nearby residents and anyone interested in the project to visit our website at SunshineProjectLA.com.”

To secure the project, Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package that would include a $12 million performance-based grant to offset infrastructure costs. Following company performance in building the complex, FG would receive the grant in four annual installments of $3 million beginning in 2021, the projected first year for hiring permanent jobs.

FG also would receive the services of the nation’s No. 1 state workforce development program, LED FastStart®, and the company expects to utilize Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

“Given the history of St. James Parish, this will be the largest industry ever welcomed,” Parish President Timmy Roussel said. “This plant alone will almost double the present tax base. Assisting our unemployed and underemployed residents of the community is a priority in St. James Parish. Thus, a company like Formosa, of this magnitude, surely can help to remedy a lot of our community’s needs. Such an operation will offer St. James Parish residents and businesses unheard of opportunities: St. James Parish is a great place to live, work, play and grow.”

An economic impact study completed by LSU economist James Richardson forecasts the 10-year FG construction period will yield $362 million in new state and local tax receipts, with an additional yield of $313 million in new state and local taxes during the initial 10 years of operation, beginning in 2025.

Through 2035, combining both periods, Richardson estimates the project will yield $4.7 billion in new personal earnings and $18.5 billion in new business transactions.

In developing its site within the Port of South Louisiana District, FG will join the largest port, by tonnage, in the Western Hemisphere.

“The Port of South Louisiana welcomes Formosa to our district and we look forward to assisting them in constructing and operating their facility,” port Executive Director Paul Aucoin said. “As one of the most important investments within the Port of South Louisiana, we appreciate the many jobs the project brings to our community.”