Paper manufacturing

Italian Tissue Manufacturer Plans June Opening for Enormous Plant in Rogers County

Article by Rhett Morgan for Tulsa World

Italian tissue manufacturer Sofidel Group anticipates an early June grand opening for its $360 million plant in Inola, Okla., a spokesman for the company said.

A total of 350 people will be employed at the 1.8 million-square-foot facility, which is expected to be fully operational by sometime this summer, spokesman Enrique Garay said.

In terms of sheer size, Sofidel’s footprint is among the most spacious in the state. It is smaller than the four-story Amazon fulfillment center (about 2.5 million square feet of workspace) scheduled to open in Tulsa late this year. But the Rogers County facility is 38% bigger than the Macy fulfillment center built just north of Tulsa in 2015.​

In addition, Sofidel’s Oklahoma facility represents the largest manufacturing investment in the state in recent years, surpassing the Durant’s Commercial Metals Co. (about $350 million) in 2015, according to Leslie Blair, spokeswoman with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

Inola will be Sofidel’s second greenfield investment in the United States and the group’s largest greenfield investment in this country, in terms of surface. A greenfield investment is a project “where foreign investors establish a new business or expand an existing business on U.S. soil,” according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The Rogers County campus is an integrated facility, incorporating both the paper mill, where pulp is transformed into paper, and a converting plant, which produces the finished product. The site will be capable of producing 120,000 tons of tissue annually. Spread out over 240 acres within the Inola River Rail Industrial Park, the site could double its capacity in a phase two, which could increase the job total to 600, the company said.

From its Italy headquarters, Sofidel coordinates the activities of 19 companies throughout Europe and the United States. Founded in 1966, it is among the global leaders in tissue production for items such as toilet paper, napkins, paper towels and handkerchiefs.

The company’s best-known brand is Regina.

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