CONWAY — Canfor Southern Pine will invest about $4 million and add a second shift at its Conway mill in an expansion formally announced Wednesday morning.
The expansion will create 56 new jobs, and people can apply now at the mill at 1283 U.S. 501 Business in the Red Hill section of Conway.
The company is in need of electricians, millwrights, truck drivers and qualified machine operators, but also will consider applications from unskilled workers.
“If people want to get their foot in the door and then start and move up, they can,” said Debbie Sand, head of human resources for Canfor Southern Pine.
Horry and Georgetown counties agreed to create a multi-county business park at the mill’s site so the company will be eligible for an additional $1,000 state tax credit for each new job. Brad Lofton, president of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corp., said Canfor also will get a $1,750 state tax credit per job.
The EDC will pay the company a $135,000 incentive when all the announced jobs have been filled.
Doug Warstler, president of Canfor Southern Pine, said the expansion will up the mill’s production capacity from 157 million board feet per year to 180 million board feet per year.
He said that during the Great Recession, housing starts nationwide dropped below 1 million for the first time in 30 years. The market began picking up significantly last year, and the company expects that construction will start on 900,000 to 1 million new houses in 2013.
Canfor Southern Pine, headquartered in Myrtle Beach, was formerly known as New South until it was acquired by Canfor in 2006. Canfor, headquartered in British Columbia, Canada, sells its milled wood worldwide.
Warstler said that the roughly $400,000 in state tax credits from the multi-county business park and EDC incentive are important to the company. Combined, they represent about 10 percent of what the company will invest in the expansion.
The creation of the business park also allows the company to pay a fee in lieu of taxes, but Lofton said that there will be no loss of income from the Canfor fee. He said it will equal the $233,000 in local taxes the company paid in 2012, and that the value of the new equipment for the expansion will add about $40,000 to that.
Georgetown County, Horry’s partner in the multi-county park, will get about $2,300 per year for its participation.
The expansion is expected to be completed by July.
Contact STEVE JONES at 444-1765.