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June 20 10:44 AM

SB International to make $32.5 million investment at Bossier City company

 Inquisitor News

North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP) and SB International announced a 32.5 million dollar capital investment Wednesday to renovate and expand the Northwest Pipe facility in Bossier City.

Dallas-based SB International formed Centric Pipe, which purchased the Bossier City facility in March. The project will create 82 new direct jobs and will retain 52 existing jobs at the Bossier City plant. In addition, another  209 new indirect jobs will result, according to Louisiana Economic Development estimates, for a total of more than 290 new jobs. The company also estimates 32 construction jobs will be created.

The new jobs will have an average of $50,000 per year, plus benefits.

“This acquisition ensures that the Bossier pipe mill will remain open and profitable for years to come,” said Bruce Roberts, NLEP board chairman.

The capital investment will go toward renovation and expansion of the plant and adding the equipment, Roberts said. The renovations will start in the first quarter of next year.

“We are really excited to be here,” said Satish Gupta, SB International president. “This is a new step in our organization producing pipes in the U.S. Bringing jobs back to the United States, that’s been our agenda for the last couple of years. So this fulfills the first leg of our objective: bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.”

Why was Bossier City selected? “Actually it’s a combination of several things,” Gupta said. “One, there was an existing operation here, which was having some challenges so it makes it more convenient for us.

“Bossier City is a very convenient location to serve Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and up north,” he said. Gupta also mentioned the convenient highways and wonderful labor force.

Has the slowdown of the Haynesville Shale been a topic of concern? “Yes and no,” Gupta said. “The Haynesville Shale is more focused on natural gas, but now the activities are very strong in the oil part of it, and we think the Haynesville will come back up once the Cheniere Sabine Pass Terminal gets going at the end of next year, so we are very optimistic and excited that. hopefully by 2016 onward, the Haynesville should start coming back.”

Gupta said that the jobs coming to northwest pipe will be of high-quality “because the products that we produce here is a very high-quality product.” The oil and gas industry, he said, demands a much higher quality product than any other industry because the cost of drilling a well is so high.

Centric Pipe will manufacture and supply welded-steel pipe and tubular products for domestic clients in the oil and gas industry. It will also add new equipment and a rail spur to the Bossier City facility.

Hiring has already begun at the Bossier City facility. “We started production in the early part of May, and we are already in a mode of expanding of production.”

All improvements are expected by the end of 2017.

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