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UPDATED: Chinese Company Plans To Reopen Wickliffe Paper Mill By The End Of 2018

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin says hundreds of jobs are promised to return to Ballard county in far west Kentucky as Chinese company, Global Win will purchase of the shuttered Verso Paper Mill in Wickliffe. 

Global Win Wickliffe LLC, a paper products manufacturer, signed a purchase agreement Thursday with Verso Corp, buying the facility for $16 million. The company plans to invest $150 million and create 500 jobs.

Global Win Wickliffe executives anticipate opening the facility by the end of 2018. Global Win Director of Strategy Tom Lawson said at the press conference on Thursday that they expect the mill to be operational by early 2019. 

The mill will produce pulp and brown paper packaging. The new owners plan to refurbish the facility with new equipment and updated technology.

The paper mill will be Global Win’s first U.S. facility. When the deal closes around the beginning of the third quarter for this year, the mill will be Kentucky’s eighth Chinese-owned facility. According to the Governor’s office Chinese-owned operations employ approximately 8,200 people in the Commonwealth.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives of up to $25 million through the Kentucky Business Investment program in a special meeting on Thursday.

The performance-based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the agreement term through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.  

In addition, Global Win can receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network. Companies can receive no-cost recruitment and job placement services, reduced-cost customized training and job training incentives through the network.

Verso, based in Miamisburg, Ohio, idled the facility in November 2015, furloughing 310 employees, as demand diminished for the mill’s coated paper products. The company closed the mill in July 2016 and worked alongside state and local economic developers to identify and vet potential buyers.

County leaders previously said Ballard County would lose $500,000 in payroll taxes from the mill's idling. A University of Kentucky study estimated a direct economic impact of $350-400 million to purchase area.

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