ROCKINGHAM — Cascades Inc., an international paper company with two facilities in Rockingham, announced Monday plans to expand its converting operations into Wagram.
The company with more than 100 production units in North America and Europe selected the Wagram site for two main reasons, said Hugo D’Amours, vice president of communications and public affairs.
“The first is the whole community,” D’Amours said. “Everybody came together to support this. We receive $6.4 million in incentives from governmental agencies, and the community college (Richmond Community College) has provided training for our work force. Duke Energy, the county and the state governments have all contributed, and that is one reason we chose to expand in this area rather than another state or country.
“The other reason, the very important one, is the work force here in Rockingham. Our Rockingham assets in terms of human resources are among the best we have in the U.S., Canada and even in Europe. We wanted to be as close to the facility in Rockingham as possible in order to improve our logistics.”
State Rep. Ken Goodman, D-Richmond, said Cascades’ continuing investment in the district is good for Richmond County and Scotland County.
“The number of jobs Cascades will create, about 64 I believe was the number, are additional new jobs,” Goodman said. “There’s an opportunity for people from Richmond County to work over there. Cascades is highly appreciative and complimentary of the workforce here.”
Goodman said the $50-60 million Cascades will invest in Scotland County is good for this part of the state.
D’Amours said that between 50 and 60 existing jobs in Rockingham will progressively be transferred to Wagram, but the people currently performing those jobs are not expected to lose them. He explained that there are two distinct operations in Rockingham — making paper and converting the paper.
“We have outgrown the converting facility,” he said. “That is why we are opening a larger one in Wagram, and we wanted to remain as close as possible to Rockingham.”
He said that the paper would be manufactured in Rockingham, then taken to Wagram for converting.
In addition to employees whose positions will move to the new facility, D’Amours said the company plans to hire “another 60-plus workers over there.”
According to the company’s corporate website, the Midway Road plant began operations in 1983 and has 130 employees.
Gov. Pat McCrory on Monday put the expansion forward as evidence of a growing state economy with strong manufacturing potential.
“This investment in the Sandhills region of North Carolina not only provides much needed jobs, but also confirms a global company’s commitment to Scotland County in the years ahead,” McCrory said in a statement. “Today’s jobs announcement shows that by working together and effectively leveraging our state’s talent and resources, North Carolina will continue to lead in manufacturing.”
Cascades Tissue Group produces paper towels, bathroom tissue and napkins. Its wide range of products are available to consumers under the Cascades brand and other private labels, according to a release from McCrory’s office.
Salaries will vary by job function, but the annual average salary is about 47 percent above the average wage in Scotland County. The annual payroll for the new positions is estimated at nearly $3.2 million.
The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $402,000. The One NC Fund provides financial assistance, through local governments, to attract business projects that will stimulate economic activity and create new jobs in the state.
Companies receive no money up front and must meet job creation and investment performance standards to qualify for grant funds. These grants also require and are contingent upon local matches.
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @melonieflomer.