Pratt vows $2 billion in US investments

Chair of Australian paperboard producer expresses confidence in U.S. market and manufacturing sector.

Appearing with President Trump at a World War II commemoration ceremony and then later on Fox News television, Visy/Pratt Industries Global Chairman Anthony Pratt stated he is preparing to invest some $2 billion to expand his North American recycling, containerboard and box making operations.


Conyers, Georgia-based Pratt Industries, the United States subsidiary of Visy/Pratt, started operating in the U.S. in the 1990s and now runs four recycled-content containerboard mills and a network of more than 15 recycling plants and more than 40 converting operations.


The company spent $260 million to build its fourth U.S. containerboard plant, which opened in Valparaiso, Indiana, in 2016. Thus, a $2 billion investment is likely to include additional mills and considerable expansions in the recycling and converting sectors.


“We have 7,000 people that we employ at our 68 factories in America,” Pratt said of his current operations In the Friday, May 5, 2017, interview with Fox News.


“We’re going to invest $2 billion in 5,000 high-paying manufacturing jobs, mainly in the Midwest,” he said of the company’s expansion plans.


Pratt also expressed gratitude toward his firm’s business history in the U.S., saying, “America’s been very good to us, and we’re very grateful for the generosity of America.” He continued, “We have tremendous faith in President Trump; he’s creating jobs [and] he’s supporting manufacturing, and that’s why we’re doubling down on our investment in America.”


The containerboard sector in the U.S. may offer room for growth, using American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) statistics as a gauge. According to the Washington-based AF&PA, “The containerboard [mill] operating rate for December [2016] increased to 97 percent, while the year-to-date operating rate was 0.1 percent higher compared to year-to-date 2015.”


Containerboard output in the U.S. also was 7.2 percent higher in December 2016 compared with December 2015, according to the AF&PA.

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