Drax Biomass moving corporate HQ to Monroe

MONROE, La. (KTVE) - Drax Biomass, which operates two Louisiana wood pellet manufacturing facilities as well as a shipping operation in the Port of Baton Rouge, will move its corporate headquarters from Atlanta to Monroe.

Company President Pete Madden said the move allows Drax "to shift to a more operationally focused business model."

"The relocation will position our headquarters closer to our three pellet plants and port facility in the gulf region of Louisiana and Mississippi," said Madden, who is also the CEO. "This decision is the logical next step to maximize cost efficiency and enhance our ability to operate in the U.S. Gulf states."

Governor John Bel Edwards hailed the announcement.

"Louisiana aggressively pursued Drax Biomass and today those efforts have paid off," he said. "This is a testament to our state’s ability to attract new business opportunities and create jobs.

"I’m grateful to Drax Biomass for believing in Louisiana and the Monroe region, and I look forward to working with them as they make this move to Louisiana. I also want to thank the legislative delegation from northeastern Louisiana for their support."

State Sen. Mike Walsworth, R-West Monroe, said the "company's commitment to northeastern Louisiana is a true shot in the arm to our economy and our community."

Drax operates Louisiana pellet plants in Morehouse Parish and LaSalle Parish and a regional office on Tower Drive in Monroe. The company also has a pellet manufacturing plant in Gloster, Miss.

Drax already employs about 150 workers in the state.

A spokesman said the company hasn't made a final decision on the location of the corporate headquarters in Monroe. Nor could he say how many jobs will be created at the headquarters.

"By sustaining good quality jobs, our industry is playing an important role in the communities in which we operate," Madden said. "This is a core principle for us — and our relocation strengthens that commitment. We look forward to being closer to the forests we depend upon, our suppliers and partners in the community.”

Drax Biomass manufactures compressed wood pellets produced from sustainably managed working forests, supplying fuel used by Drax Power Station in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom.

It earned a 2017 Lantern Award from the Louisiana Department of Economic Development recognizing the company's contribution to economic and community development.

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said the city will welcome the company with any assistance it can provide.

"This is great news for our city and the state," Mayo said. "Our goal is to provide an economic atmosphere that fosters growth and success."

The Morehouse plant, which the company began building in 2013, employs about 68 full-time workers and supports another 150 jobs across the forestry, hauling and transportation sectors.

Drax bought an existing plant in LaSalle Parish last year that mirrors those employment numbers.

The company also announced in 2017 a multi-year partnership with the American Forest Foundation that will invest in the future of small family landowners around the Morehouse facility.

The five-year, $1.1 million project — the "Morehouse Family Forests Initiative" – will provide landowners with the tools and resources to implement forest management practices that can increase the commercial, recreational and ecological value of their lands while maintaining crucial habitat for the region's diverse wildlife.

Drax said the project will encourage habitat improvements, forest biodiversity and certification in the American Tree Farm System and will serve the northeastern Louisiana parishes of Morehouse, Ouachita, Union and Winn, and the southeastern Arkansas counties of Ashley, Bradley, Drew and Lincoln.


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