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Wanhua Chemical Seeks Site For Louisiana Chemical Plant

04/10/2017
China-based Wanhua Chemical will develop a chemical manufacturing complex in Louisiana. The company plans for the $1.12 billion project leading to a specific site selection later this year.

Wanhua will produce methylene diphenyl diisocyanate, or MDI, in the project, which will combine a $954 million capital investment by Wanhua with a $166 million capital investment by project partners. The project will create 170 new direct jobs, according to Louisiana Economic Development.

Wanhua’s project will be the second-largest foreign direct investment in Louisiana by a company based in mainland China, following the $1.85 billion methanol complex under development by Yuhuang Chemical in St. James Parish, LED officials said. Immediate access to an abundant supply of natural gas and other feedstocks, along with deepwater transportation via the Mississippi River made Louisiana a natural fit for Wanhua’s investment.

Last month, LED Secretary Don Pierson led a Louisiana contingent to Wanhua Chemical’s global headquarters in Yantai, China, where he, Chairman & CEO Zengtai Liao, and other officials completed final plans to move the project forward.

“Louisiana takes pride in attracting yet another major foreign direct investment project to our state,” Pierson said. “Wanhua Chemical carefully executed its long-term MDI strategy and selected Louisiana as the best place in the world for its investment in this fast-growing category of chemicals. Not only is Louisiana home to an existing $68 billion chemical manufacturing sector that supports more than 135,000 jobs, we are attracting next-generation investments that assure our leadership in the 21st century.”

Once in place, the Louisiana facility will be a major component of Wanhua’s global development of MDI. An intermediate chemical, MDI is among the fastest-growing categories of chemical production. MDI is commonly used for polyurethane foams and elastomers. For industrial applications, MDI is commonly used in the development of rollers, packing, vibration insulators and synthetic leather.

“Wanhua looks forward to being part of the Louisiana business community and the local community where we will build our operations,” Liao said. “Our desire to be a good industry neighbor will be evident in our focus on workforce development, local hiring and our commitment to safe and environmentally responsible operations. Our employees will be fully engaged in the local community and we will communicate regularly and openly.”

To secure Wanhua’s investment, the State of Louisiana offered the company a competitive incentive package that includes the comprehensive solutions of LED FastStart, the state’s workforce development program. The state also offered the company a performance-based grant of $4.3 million to offset site infrastructure costs, and Wanhua is expected to use the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs.

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