Irving Consumer Products continues to make significant investments in its production facilities in New Brunswick, even though it plans to build $400-million tissue manufacturing facility in Georgia, a J.D. Irving, Limited spokesperson said Friday.
Earlier this week, Irving Consumer Products president Robert Irving was in Macon, Georgia, to announce the new plant, which will employ more than 540 people in the construction phase and 200 when it’s up and running.
In an e-mail response to questions from Huddle, Mary Keith, vice president of communications for J.D. Irving, said the company chose the Georgia location for many reasons.
“First and foremost, none of our existing facilities could easily accommodate the new TAD (Through Air Drying) machine,” she said. “Building a new plant in Macon [also] allows Irving Consumer Products to expand our footprint to the Southeastern United States, which represents key markets for future growth.”
Keith also said Macon-Bibb County and the State of Georgia helped fund the upfront cost of infrastructure required for the plant.
Even though the facility is being built in Georgia, Keith said it’s still a good thing for New Brunswick, saying it will create a new customer for another J.D. Irving business in Saint John.
“For New Brunswick, this expansion to new U.S. markets means a new and secure customer for Irving Pulp & Paper and the New Brunswickers who produce quality pulp in Saint John,” she said.
“Expanding in the U.S. was a strategic business decision and will further grow the company overall – in the U.S. and Canada.”
Keith said the company is making a significant investment in Georgia, but said they continue to make investments in New Brunswick too, and the province remains the base of their operations.
“For 135 years and counting, New Brunswick proudly remains home to our head office,” said Keith. “Irving Consumer Products operates Canadian plants in Dieppe and Toronto. These two Canadian plants have and continue to realize major investments – more than $275-million dollars over the past five years.
“We have also spent over $45-million at Lake Utopia in St George and $15-million at Irving Tissue in Saint John that are in addition to [investments] announced in 2014. Over 400 workers of local contractor workers on site at Lake Utopia. Over 1,200 local contractor workers at Irving Tissue SJ.”
Keith said Irving continues to hire most of its people here, with forecasted job growth of 3,800 people in the province between 2017 and 2019.