FRANKFORT, Ky. (August 16, 2018) – Gov. Matt Bevin today announced Global Win Wickliffe LLC, a Chinese-owned paper products manufacturer, will reopen the former Verso Corp. mill in west Kentucky’s Ballard County with a $150 million investment expected to create 500 full-time jobs.
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in a special meeting on Thursday preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $25 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.
Executives of Global Win Wickliffe signed a purchase agreement today with representatives of Verso to buy the facility for approximately $16 million. The sale is expected to close around the beginning of the third quarter of this year. The new owners plan to refurbish the mill with new equipment and updated technology. Global Win Wickliffe executives anticipate reopening the mill by the end of 2018, with the facility producing pulp and brown paper packaging. The paper mill will be the buyer’s first US facility.
Verso, based in Miamisburg, Ohio, idled the facility in November 2015, furloughing 310 employees, as demand diminished for the mill’s coated paper products. The company closed the mill in July 2016 and worked alongside state and local economic developers to identify and vet potential buyers.
When the deal closes, the Wickliffe mill will become Kentucky’s eighth Chinese-owned facility. Currently, Chinese-owned operations employ approximately 8,200 people statewide, including about 6,000 at the GE Appliance Park in Louisville and 1,600 at Lexmark International in Lexington.
China ranks among Kentucky’s top export destinations, placing fourth through June 2018. Exports to China increased by 60 percent in 2017 thanks in large part to rising demand for Kentucky-made vehicles, the Lincoln Navigator and MKC in particular.
In addition to their tax incentives, Global Win can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Through the Kentucky Skills Network, companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives. In fiscal 2017, the Kentucky Skills Network provided training for more than 120,000 Kentuckians and 5,700 companies from a variety of industry sectors.
A detailed community profile for Ballard County can be viewed here.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at ThinkKentucky.com.