GILBERTSVILLE– Westlake Chemical announced a $40 million reinvestment in its Calvert City plant in a press conference at Kentucky Dam Village State Park Lodge Monday.
Gov. Steve Beshear remarked on the bright news on a cold, rainy day.
“Here is why the sun is shining bright on our old Kentucky home,” Beshear said, commenting that the investment will ensure the retention of 380 jobs at the Calvert City plant.
The investment was incentivized by the Kentucky Reinvestment Act, which Beshear said has resulted in some $380 billion in incentives for 370 companies, including several in the Calvert City industrial area.
“That [the decision to modernize the Calvert operation] is a great vote of confidence in this community,” Beshear said.
The governor noted that Westlake has operations in various locations, but chose to reinvest in this plant.
Albert Chao, president and CEO of Houston-based Westlake Chemical Corp., also made reference to the gloomy weather.
“An old Chinese saying goes that when there is rain during a ceremony, it means prosperity,” Chao said with a smile.
Chao noted that his late father founded Westlake in 1986, with a single plant in Lake Charles, La.
“For over 21 years, Westlake Chemical Corporation has been proud to be a corporate citizen of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and an active member of the local community in and around Calvert City,” he said.
“We extend our appreciation to Gov. Beshear and his cabinet for the state’s investment in our future in Kentucky. Our Calvert operations are an important part of our overall business strategy, and we remain committed to building a strong and successful future at the site.”
Westlake Chemical Corp. is an international manufacturer and supplier of petrochemicals, polymers and building products.
The company’s Westlake Vinyl subsidiary, located on Industrial Parkway in Calvert City, has been operating for 21 years.
The company has indicated that without assistance of tax incentives, the improvements in both process and technology would not have been economically feasible and the alternative would be to produce additional ethylene at a sister plant out of state.
Calvert City Mayor Lynn Jones was one of several community leaders on hand for the announcement. Jones lauded Westlake as more than merely a provider of jobs.
“They have taken on the job, in partnership with the EPA, to remedy environmental problems not of their making” on their plant site, Jones said.
“As we move forward, becoming a greener community, we have a corporate partner,” Jones said.