~ Finland-based glass fiber tissue producer plans $70 million investment in Hopkins County ~
Frankfort, KY — Ahlstrom-Munksjö, which manufactures fiber-based materials, will build a second facility in Madisonville with a $70 million investment expected to create 51 well-paying jobs.
“I want to thank Ahlstrom-Munksjö for this significant new commitment to Madisonville, Hopkins County and the commonwealth,” Gov. Beshear said. “The company’s current facility has long been an important part of the community, and its new operation is outstanding news for the region’s residents. As Kentucky builds a stronger post-pandemic economy, Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s commitment to create more than 50 high-quality jobs couldn’t be better timed. This project promises a brighter future for families in the area and positions the company for even more success in the years ahead.”
Leaders of Ahlstrom-Munksjö noted ongoing North American market growth as the primary driver for the project. The new facility will house a glass fiber tissue production line to make luxury vinyl tiles and vinyl sheet materials. Its smooth, homogenous glass fiber tissue also will be marketed for building panels, energy storage and thermoplastic molding for the transportation industry. The company’s current 133-employee facility in Madisonville produces filtration materials for automotive and industrial applications. Customer deliveries from the new operation are expected to start in mid-2023.
“The investment in this new line is an important step in our global growth strategy in the glass fiber tissue market,” said Willy Bordignon, the company’s vice president of Filtration & Performance Americas. “We will use Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s extensive know-how and experience in glass fiber tissue manufacturing in responding to the North American flooring market needs. This new line allows us to better serve our customers in this region and provides us additional capacity in flooring but also in other applications.”
Ahlstrom-Munksjö, headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, was formed in April 2017 through the merger of Ahlstrom and Munksjö. Its products include décor paper, filter media, release liners, abrasive backings, nonwoven materials, electrotechnical paper, glass fiber materials, food packaging and labeling, tape and medical fiber materials. The company has operations in Europe, North America, South America and Asia and employs approximately 7,800 people across 45 plants globally. Prior to the merger, Ahlstrom had been located in Hopkins County since 1974.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s new Madisonville facility will join more than 500 internationally owned manufacturing, service and technology facilities located in Kentucky. Collectively, those operations employ over 111,000 people statewide.
Ahlstrom’s announcement adds to a wave of recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Fitch Ratings improved the state’s financial outlook to stable, reflecting the commonwealth’s solid economic recovery. The state’s April sales tax receipts set an all-time monthly record at $486.5 million, as did vehicle usage tax receipts at over $64 million.
In March, Site Selection magazine’s annual Governor’s Cup rankings for 2020 positioned Kentucky atop the South Central region, and third nationally, for qualifying projects per capita. The commonwealth also placed seventh overall in total projects, the highest of any state with a population under 5 million.
Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton lauded the team effort making the new operation possible.
“We are very excited about the incredible opportunity the Ahlstrom-Munksjö expansion is providing to our community. The company has been a fantastic community partner for many years,” Mayor Cotton said. “This announcement will directly affect not only the Ahlstrom-Munksjö team but also the families of those team members and our community as a whole. I am so appreciative of all that have worked so hard to make this expansion a reality. I am certainly aware that this expansion resulted from the hard work, dedication and devotion of many hands. Those many hands are the hands of our families, our neighbors and our friends that hope and work for nothing more than the good and well-being of our community. It’s exciting to see the momentum continuing on expansion and growth in the manufacturing and logistics field here in Madisonville. This is a huge day for our community and one that I am proud to play a small part.”
Hopkins County Judge/Executive Jack Whitfield said the investment highlights the need for cooperation between industry and local leadership to achieve a common goal.
“This project just goes to show you the confidence Ahlstrom-Munksjö has in Madisonville and Hopkins County,” Judge/Executive Whitfield said. “I’m not surprised a company with such deep roots in the coalfield would choose to embed them even further. We have an abundant workforce willing to produce for any enterprise that believes in Hopkins County, and we have great leaders who are more than willing to facilitate the growth of business operations that benefit this community and its workers. When we work together, we get things done.”
Ray Hagerman, president of the Madisonville Hopkins County Economic Development Corp., thanked the company for its commitment to the community.
“This is a great day for the Madisonville and Hopkins County community. We are delighted to have been selected for the Ahlstrom-Munksjö state-of-the-art glass fiber facility,” Hagerman said. “We are grateful for the confidence they placed in our community by investing $70 million in capital improvements to ensure a bright economic future and high-quality jobs for our citizens. Many thanks to the Ahlstrom-Munksjö team led by Juhani Piispa and Gary Blevins. We also very grateful to the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development and the Beshear Administration, who along with local officials including Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton and Hopkins County Judge/Executive Jack Whitfield, were able to make this possible.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December 2018 preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1 million in tax incentives based on the company’s initial planned investment of $62.8 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 51 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $30 including benefits across those jobs.
By meeting its annual targets over the agreement term, the company can be eligible to keep a portion of the new tax revenue it generates. The company may claim eligible incentives against its income tax liability and/or wage assessments.
In addition, the company 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.
For more information on Ahlstrom-Munksjö, visit Ahlstrom-Munksjo.com.