Tak investing $60M into facility

Published 11:24 am Wednesday, August 1, 2012

RICHMOND—Gov. Bob McDonnell Monday announced that Tak Investments would invest $60 million to establish a recycled tissue plant at International Paper’s Franklin mill.

The company subsidiary, ST Tissue, will recycle waste paper into tissue for napkins and towels and will create 85 jobs. Virginia competed against Wisconsin for the project.

ST Tissue Vice President Sahil Tak said the company is about midway through converting its portion of the mill and plans to begin operating by late September or early October.

The company has hired 25 percent of its workers and are looking for machine operators. He didn’t say how much the jobs paid.

“We have found a lot of talent here and have hired many people that used to work at the mill,” he said.

Tak in April signed a lease with IP that would allow the company to use a converted paper machine, office space, a sheeting warehouse and recycled fiber facility for 33 years at more than $882,000 a year.

Tak paid a recording tax of $97,389 on the lease. Of that, $24,273 was collected by the county. The tax is based on the value of the lease and added to any document where money is exchanged.

“Isle of Wight County is on a positive economic upswing, as this project brings the total jobs the region has gained since 2011 to more than 1,000,” McDonnell said. “Not only will Tak Investments bring significant investment and 85 new jobs to the region, the company will repurpose and put into use a vacant portion of the International Paper mill.”

“It is a perfect fit, as ST Tissue has the opportunity to modify certain paper-making machinery already in the plant to produce its tissue products,” he continued. “The available infrastructure and high-quality machinery, trained workforce and nearby abundant supply of natural resources put Virginia and Isle of Wight County ahead of the competition.”

Headquartered in Gaithersburg, Md., Tak Investments is owned by Washington, D.C.-area entrepreneur Sharad Tak, who got his start in providing computer-programming services to the federal government. Sharad Tak owns companies in several lines of business, including power generation, engineering and information technology.

“We enjoy the challenge of helping rebuild communities that we do business in,” said Sharad Tak, president and chief executive officer of Tak Investments. “A few years ago we acquired a struggling tissue mill in Oconto Falls, Wis., and with help from the workforce and the surrounding community, we transformed the facility into a successful business. We envision the same sort of success here in Franklin because the community has been incredibly supportive of our project and the talent base here is also exceptional.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Isle of Wight County to secure the project. McDonnell approved a $200,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist with the project.

The company is eligible to receive state benefits from the Virginia Enterprise Zone Program, administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.

Through its Virginia Jobs Investment Program, the Virginia Department of Business Assistance will provide funding and services to support the company’s recruitment, training and retraining activities.

“We welcome ST Tissue and Tak Investments to our corporate community,” said Al Casteen, chairman of the Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors. “We are both honored and pleased to receive the great help from the state to attract this fine company. We are especially pleased that it involves repurposing a portion of the original International Paper property and again provides an opportunity for our very skilled paper mill employee labor pool to demonstrate their real talent at producing paper-related products in an effective and efficient manner.”

Those interested in applying for a job can send a resume and cover letter to the ST Tissue office at 34050 Union Camp Drive, Franklin, Va., 23851, or go to stpaperllc.com.

Tidewater News staff writer Dale Liesch contributed to this report.