Company supports Kentucky agritech initiative with production of corrugated boxes for food and beverage sector
FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 27, 2021) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear congratulated Canada-based Kruger Packaging on its anticipated $114.2 million investment to establish a state-of-the-art packaging manufacturing operation in Hardin County, a project that will create at least 150 quality jobs in the coming years.
“This is a significant project for Elizabethtown and the commonwealth, and furthers the mission of the Kentucky agritech initiative to build a better future with higher paying jobs for Kentuckians,” Gov. Beshear said. “Kruger Packaging is creating nearly 150 quality job opportunities for our residents, and I want to thank the company for this commitment to our state. Kruger Packaging will be a strong employer in Central Kentucky for years to come, and I look forward to watching the company grow and help build a better future for Kentuckians.”
The new 400,000-square-foot facility to be located at T.J. Patterson Industrial Park in Elizabethtown will operate under the name Kruger Packaging (USA) LLC and represents the company’s first corrugated box plant in the U.S.
“Kentucky’s pro-business climate was instrumental in our decision to invest in Hardin County, and we are grateful for the support we received from Gov. Beshear, Team Kentucky and Elizabethtown-Hardin County to make today’s announcement a reality,” said Michael Lafave, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Kruger Packaging.
Kruger Packaging’s announcement is among four economic development projects Gov. Beshear is announcing today. Cumulatively, today’s announcements represent nearly $273 million in investments that will bring 505 well-paying jobs to Whitley, Shelby, Hardin and Fulton counties, furthering the Governor’s commitment to broad economic development in every region of the commonwealth.
Founded in 1904, Kruger Packaging’s parent company, Kruger Inc., is headquartered in Montréal, Canada, and produces 100% recycled containerboard products, corrugated packaging, tissue products, publication and specialty papers, renewable energy, cellulosic biomaterials and wines and spirits. The company also is a major North American recycler of paper and paperboard. Kruger operates 19 facilities across 10 sectors in Canada and the U.S., including locations in Maine, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Virginia.
Kruger Packaging will join 38 Canadian-owned facilities already operating in Kentucky. Since the start of 2020, Canada-based companies have announced projects that would create over 430 full-time jobs in Kentucky with over $250 million in new investment.
Kruger Packaging also adds to Kentucky’s growing agritech sector. The Kentucky agritech initiative includes a number of midstream technologies, including innovations in processing, packaging and distribution. The company’s commitment to its people and sustainability aligns with the goals of the Kentucky agritech initiative, particularly as state leaders continue to develop and support packaging and distribution services for a range of sectors, including the food and beverage industry.
This new location announcement from Kruger Packaging also adds to recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Last week, Moody’s Analytics published a positive economic outlook for Kentucky, noting mass vaccination as the driving force behind a sustained recovery in consumer services. The state’s recovery, Moody’s said, benefited from earlier reopening efforts and increased demand for manufactured goods over services. The report also found Kentucky’s manufacturing industry outperformed the nation’s since the national downturn last year.
Fitch Ratings earlier this month 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.
Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry said the project highlights the community’s ability to support growing industry.
“We look forward to welcoming Kruger Packaging to our community,” said Hardin County Judge/Executive Harry Berry. “This announcement is a testament to the strength of Hardin County’s manufacturing sector and will bring new jobs at a critical time in pandemic recovery.”
Elizabethtown Mayor Jeff Gregory welcomed the company to Central Kentucky following an extensive site selection process.
“We are grateful to Kruger Packaging for investing in our community after several months of site considerations in multiple states.” Mayor Gregory said. “We look forward to welcoming Kruger to our business community and supporting their continued success as they bring new job opportunities to our residents.”
Greg Pawley, board chairman for the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, said the project supports a larger effort to create well-paying jobs for local residents.
“At the Elizabethtown-Hardin County Industrial Foundation, we continue to focus our economic development efforts on jobs and wage growth,” Pawley said. “The announcement of Kruger Packaging’s new facility in Elizabethtown is a major step toward that goal and will have an enormous impact on our region. I would like to offer Kruger Packaging a warm welcome to our community and thank all of our economic development partners for making this exciting announcement possible.”
Louisville Gas and Electric Co. and Kentucky Utilities Co. helped develop the project.
“We welcome the Kruger family to Kentucky and are proud to serve their newest facility with safe and reliable energy well into the future,” said LG&E and KU President and CEO Paul W. Thompson. “This is a great new opportunity for Kentucky, and we appreciate the tremendous work from Gov. Beshear, the Cabinet for Economic Development and the Elizabethtown Industrial Foundation, all working together to bring new jobs and investment into the commonwealth.”
To encourage the investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) on Thursday preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $3.45 million in tax incentives based on the company’s investment of $114.2 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 147 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $32.50 including benefits across those jobs.
Additionally, KEDFA approved Kruger Packaging for up to $1.58 million in tax incentives through the Kentucky Enterprise Initiative Act (KEIA). KEIA allows approved companies to recoup Kentucky sales and use tax on construction costs, building fixtures, equipment used in research and development and electronic processing.
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 Kruger, visit Kruger.com.
A detailed community profile for Hardin County can be viewed here.
More information on the Governor’s AgriTech Initiative is available at AgriTech.ky.gov.
Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at www.CED.ky.gov. Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at facebook.com/CEDkygov, on Twitter @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.
Read about other key updates, actions and information from Gov. Beshear and his administration at governor.ky.gov, kycovid19.ky.gov and the Governor’s official social media accounts Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.