FRANKFORT, Ky. — Ahlstrom-Munksjö, which manufactures fiber-based materials, will build a second facility in Madisonville with a $70 million investment expected to create 51 well-paying jobs.
Leaders of Ahlstrom-Munksjö noted ongoing North American market growth as the primary driver for the project. The new facility will house a glass fiber tissue production line to make luxury vinyl tiles and vinyl sheet materials. Its smooth, homogenous glass fiber tissue also will be marketed for building panels, energy storage, and thermoplastic molding for the transportation industry. The company’s current 133-employee facility in Madisonville produces filtration materials for automotive and industrial applications. Customer deliveries from the new operation are expected to start in mid-2023.
The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, was formed in April 2017 through the merger of Ahlstrom and Munksjö. Its products include décor paper, filter media, release liners, abrasive backings, nonwoven materials, electrotechnical paper, glass fiber materials, food packaging and labeling, tape, and medical fiber materials. The company has operations in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia and employs approximately 7,800 people across 45 plants globally. Prior to the merger, Ahlstrom had been located in Hopkins County since 1974.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s new Madisonville facility will join more than 500 internationally owned manufacturing, service and technology facilities located in Kentucky. Collectively, those operations employ over 111,000 people statewide.
Ahlstrom’s announcement adds to a wave of recent economic momentum in the commonwealth, as the state builds back stronger following the effects of the pandemic.
Earlier this month, Fitch Ratings 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.
To encourage investment and job growth in the community, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) in December 2018 preliminarily approved a 10-year incentive agreement with the company under the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance-based agreement can provide up to $1 million in tax incentives based on the company’s initial planned investment of $62.8 million and annual targets of:
- Creation and maintenance of 51 Kentucky-resident, full-time jobs across 10 years; and
- Paying an average hourly wage of $30 including benefits across those jobs.
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.