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Italian manufacturer breaks ground on paper plant that will create 300 jobs in Inola

INOLA — Sofidel, an Italian manufacturer of tissue paper, broke ground Friday on a $360 million investment that will include construction of a facility that will support 300 jobs.

“Sofidel will build here a new modern, integrated plant to serve the south-central and central-western areas of this great country, where we have been operating since 2012,” Luigi Lazzareschi, CEO of Sofidel Group, said in a statement.

“I am glad to announce this new greenfield investment — the second one, after the first made in Ohio. This new investment will support our growth in the U.S. significantly.”

Expected to be operational by 2020, the Inola facility will be able to produce 120,000 tons of tissue paper each year. The 1.8-million-square-foot plant is almost 40 percent larger than the Macy’s Fulfillment Center in north Tulsa County.

“We have been growing year after year at a very fast pace,” Lazzareschi said. “I would like to thank all the partners who have supported us in making this new project. They have played an integral role in helping us achieve this goal.”

Among those attending the ceremony Friday at Public Service Company of Oklahoma’s Inola River Rail Industrial Site, 8972 E. 620 Road, were Gov. Mary Fallin and representatives PSO, the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Rogers County and the city of Inola.

PSO, along with Rogers County and Inola leadership, recently invested in site preparation for the 1,100-acre area to make it available for industrial development. The site was previously the location of a canceled nuclear power plant.

“We are excited that Sofidel has continued confidence to make this tremendous investment in Oklahoma,” Fallin said. “This global company has seen the advantages Oklahoma provides in its current operation, and now will double down with a state-of-the-art production facility in Inola. This is another example that our economic pro-business policies are diversifying Oklahoma’s economy.”

Sofidel Group was founded in 1966 and is among the world leaders in the tissue paper production market for items such as toilet paper, napkins, paper towels, handkerchiefs and tissues.

“PSO is very pleased to work with state and local partners to bring this game-changing project to northeast Oklahoma,” Stuart Solomon, president and CEO of PSO, said in a statement. “Sofidel’s investment will bring much-needed jobs and an economic boost to Inola and the entire region.”

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Partners involved in the project include utility companies, tribal nations and state and federal agencies.

“We welcome the arrival of Sofidel to northeast Oklahoma for its latest United States expansion,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in a statement. “An international company like Sofidel locating here is a tribute to Oklahoma’s talented manufacturing workforce.”

Mike Neal is president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber.

“Sofidel’s investment is a great achievement for both the company and northeast Oklahoma, and a laurel for the Chamber’s economic development efforts,” he said in a statement. “I commend all the partners involved for their hard work and diligence to secure this project. The direct result is the largest capital investment in our region in decades.”

Coordinated by Tulsa’s Future, a chamber-led regional economic development plan supported by public and private investors, the project involves more partner entities than any in the plan’s 12-year history. Tulsa’s Future has now facilitated more than $675 million of capital investment in northeast Oklahoma since 2016, with a goal of $1.1 billion by 2020.

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