Honeywell plans plant projects in BR, Geismar

Honeywell International Inc. plans to invest more than $200 million in new manufacturing projects at four Louisiana production facilities, including two in Baton Rouge and one in Geismar.

Andreas Kramvis, president and CEO of Honeywell’s performance materials and technologies division, and Gov. Bobby Jindal announced the projects at a joint news conference at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center on Monday morning.

The investment will create 42 new direct jobs with an average salary of $68,300, plus benefits, according to company officials.

“Two years ago, we announced Honeywell’s $33 million investment to manufacture new, environmentally preferable products here in Baton Rouge because the company took notice of the work we were doing to improve Louisiana’s business climate,” Jindal said. “Our partnership continues today through an additional round of projects in Ascension, Caddo and East Baton Rouge parishes.”

Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company headquartered in New Jersey, has a subsidiary, UOP, formerly known as Universal Oil Products, with facilities in Baton Rouge and Shreveport. Honeywell also has fluorine plants in Baton Rouge and Geismar.

Of the company’s investment, $169 million will be used for engineering and new production capacity for new products, while $39 million will be used to support ongoing operations of catalysts, refrigerants and absorbents.

“The technologies we are discussing today are cutting edge,” Kramvis said.

The biggest share of the money earmarked for new projects — $89 million — will go to the Shreveport facility, said Joe Coussan, spokesman for Louisiana Economic Development. The two Baton Rouge plants will receive $76 million, while the Geismar facility will receive $4 million.

The $39 million for ongoing operations will be used for upgrades at all four sites, Coussan added.

Kramvis said products made at the Louisiana facilities are used by companies throughout the world.

The Geismar facility is the world’s largest producer of hydrofluoric acid, while the Baton Rouge fluorine plant produces the world’s most advanced and environmentally-preferred refrigerants, company officials said.

“Because of the global impact of our products, we can say with pride that the work Honeywell is doing here in Louisiana is making the world better,” Kramvis said.

In addition to the $208 million Honeywell has committed, Kramvis said the company also is exploring the possibility of an additional $1 billion in investment over the next decade that would bring approximately 150 more direct jobs to the state.

Public officials from all three regions, in addition to Jindal, touted Honeywell’s investment and the importance of its presence throughout the state.

“We could not be happier with Honeywell and their decision to invest in the company’s Baton Rouge facilities,” East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Kip Holden said in a news release. “They are a perfect example of the kind of industry-leading, innovative employers we want here in the capital city, and we are proud that they have chosen us as a location to develop cleaner, more efficient products and processes. They are a great asset for our city, our region and our state.”

While all praised Honeywell for the $200-plus million it pledged on Monday, local officials also said they had their eye on the potentially bigger prize down the road.

“We are proud to see existing businesses deepening their commitment to East Baton Rouge Parish with an eye to even bigger growth in the future,” said William Daniel, Holden’s chief administrative officer.

“We certainly have great designs for that $1 billion you mentioned and hope you will invest it somewhere in Louisiana,” Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover said.

Editor’s note: This story was modified on July 16, 2013, to correct the name of the Shreveport mayor. He is Cedric Glover, not Cedric Richmond. The Advocate regrets the error.