WICKLIFFE, KY (From news reports) -- Phoenix Paper, which runs a paper mill in west Kentucky, is expanding with a new facility that represents a $200 million investment.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin announced the company's investment Friday during a conference call with west Kentucky leaders at Wickliffe City Hall. Local leaders at the meeting included Ballard County Judge-Executive Todd Cooper, Wickliffe Mayor David Phillips, and Paducah Mayor Brandi Harless. A representative with Phoenix Paper was also there.
The company took over the site of the former Verso paper mill in Wickliffe. Phoenix Paper announced the completion of its first roll of paper there in May.
The commercial investment announced Friday is to build a paper recycling facility on the grounds of the Wickliffe mill, Bevin said. The governor said there will be 150 employees at the recycling facility, which will open in 18 months.
Phoenix Paper is owned by Chinese manufacturer Shanying International, and the new facility will process recycled paper and send it to China to be used for packaging.
The governor said, while the United States and China are going through trade tensions at the national level, no state is working harder with China "at the sub-national level" than Kentucky.
"You are showing what good sub-national cooperation looks like," Bevin told the local leaders.
In August 2018, the state preliminarily approved a 15-year incentive agreement with the company to provide up to $25 million in tax incentives. According to the governor's office, that agreement is based on the company's original $150 million investment into the mill and two performance targets. Those targets are to create and maintain 500 full-time jobs to Kentucky residents over that 15-year period and pay an average hourly wage of $33 including benefits across those jobs.
The company has to meet those targets to get the state tax incentives.