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Third industrial plant downsizing in Zachary area

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ZACHARY - Thompson Pipe Group plans to close its facility on Scenic Highway by the end of the year, according to Zachary Mayor David Amrhein on Wednesday. The company is consolidating its operation in Texas, a move which would affect about 120 employees at the Louisiana plant.

"Our pinch is going to be if families need to relocate," said Amrhein. He's concerned the loss of employment will affect the city's businesses.

Thompson makes plastic pipe used in drainage and sewage systems. Of the 120 workers, Amrhein says all but 35 have jobs lined up, with many transferring to Texas.

Wednesday's announcement is the third major downsizing of an industrial company in the Zachary area in less than two weeks.

The Georgia-Pacific paper mill in Port Hudson announced last week it would soon layoff 650 employees as the company shifts away from making office paper supplies. Also, German chemical company BASF announced Tuesday it would close its Zachary facility later this year affecting about 50 employees.

The East Baton Rouge Mayor-President's Office is leading an effort to help employees find new work, including a job fair in the near future.

The Zachary Community School District is still estimating the loss of tax revenue from the closures, according to Superintendent Scott Devillier.

WBRZ reached out to the Baton Rouge Area Chamber Wednesday for comment, but have yet to get a response.

Secretary Don Pierson with the Louisiana Department of Economic Development made the following statement:

“The announced operational shutdowns in East Baton Rouge Parish are unfortunate, and we are working with our partners at the Louisiana Workforce Commission and the City-Parish to provide new job opportunities for the employees affected at Georgia-Pacific, BASF and Thompson Pipe Group – as are the companies themselves, judging by their own public statements regarding subsequent job relocation offers. 

 “In each case, it appears the companies faced changing market conditions by making difficult business decisions. These actions are not reflective of our economy, business environment or workforce. Louisiana’s economy and the Capital Region economy continue to be strong, stable and growing, and we’re encouraged by how we ended 2018 and what’s developing in the first quarter of 2019. 

 “Since Thanksgiving, we have announced seven economic development project wins representing over $2.2 billion in new capital investment and 1,139 new jobs for the state. That’s in just the past 60 days. For the past three years, we’ve attracted over $30 billion in new capital investment, 27,000 new jobs and 19,000 retained jobs associated with more than 110 project wins.

 “We believe our manufacturing economy, and our overall economy, remain poised for considerable growth in 2019.”

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