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On October 26, 2012, Gov. Bobby Jindal and Benteler Steel/Tube CEO Matthias Jaeger announced a $900-million, two-phase facility that will be built on 330 acres at The Port of Caddo-Bossier. The new plant will create 675 new direct jobs and will be one of the largest manufacturing projects in Northwest Louisiana’s history. Benteler selected Louisiana after a lengthy, competitive site-selection process that included more than a dozen states and 100 potential sites.
An economic-impact analysis performed by Louisiana State University (LSU) indicates that the Benteler project will have a huge impact on Northwest Louisiana. Specifically, LSU estimates that the 675-job project will lead to the creation of approximately 1,540 new indirect jobs, resulting in a total of more than 2,200 new, permanent jobs in the area as a result of the project. Additionally, during the term of Benteler’s contract with LED, which runs through 2035, LSU estimates that the project will result in total new earnings of $2.7 billion (approximately $150 million per year at full employment) in Northwest Louisiana and a total, cumulative economic impact of $16.2 billion in the region.
Gov. Jindal said, “This is a huge win for our state as it will be one of the largest industrial projects in the history of Northwest Louisiana that will change the face of this area’s economy. Benteler considered building this new project in a dozen other states, but chose Louisiana because we are in the heart of America’s energy corridor, have one of the best business climates in the country, have a world-class transportation infrastructure, and because we have the best workers in the world. This project will bring valuable foreign direct investment to Louisiana, help increase our country’s energy independence, and create thousands of new career opportunities for Louisianians.”
Benteler Steel/Tube GmbH, based in Paderborn, Germany, is a business unit of privately held Benteler International AG, which is based in Salzburg, Austria. The seamless steel tubes produced by the facility will be used for the exploration and transportation of oil and gas, as well as for the generation of power and mechanical applications.
To secure the project, LED offered Benteler a customized incentive package that includes performance-based grants totaling $57.4 million to reimburse site development, infrastructure and equipment costs incurred by the port and the company over the next few years of construction and operations; a performance-based grant of $12.75 million to reimburse certain relocation and internal training expenses; and the development of a new training facility and specialized equipment focused on manufacturing technology to be built on the campus of the Bossier Parish Community College.
The Red River Waterway Commission will contribute $6 million, The Port of Caddo-Bossier will contribute $3 million, and the Caddo Parish Commission will contribute $2.6 million, all for infrastructure improvements at the port required to support the new facility.
In addition, Benteler Steel/Tube Manufacturing Corp., the U.S. entity operating the Shreveport site, will receive the services of LED FastStart™. The company also is expected to use Louisiana’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption incentive programs.
The new training center initially will focus on meeting the training needs of Benteler; once Benteler’s initial needs have been met, the facility will serve the broader needs of growing manufacturers throughout the region. The total value of the new training center will be approximately $22 million, including land, infrastructure, building and equipment. The Greater Bossier Economic Development Foundation, the City of Bossier City and the Bossier Parish Police Jury will contribute a combined $1 million, of the $22 million total, to provide road and other infrastructure improvements needed for the new training center.
“Our employers in this regional economy depend on a productive workforce to be competitive,” said Bossier Parish Community College Chancellor Jim Henderson. “We at Bossier Parish Community College take pride in delivering programs that meet the needs of these employers and provide our citizens pathways to rewarding careers. The training center will allow BPCC and FastStart to provide Benteler Steel/Tube a well-trained team on day one and will enhance our ability to develop talent for the manufacturing, construction, and energy sectors for decades to come.”
Benteler will begin construction of the first phase of the plant in 2013, and the project will create more than 1,000 construction jobs. The first tubular mill phase of Benteler’s Shreveport complex is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015, followed by the opening of a steel production mill within the next four years. The bulk of the full-time employee hiring for the first phase of the project is anticipated to occur in 2014. Together the two phases of this huge project will be 1.35 million square feet in size.