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Chinese company to invest $2 billion, create 2,000 jobs in Chesterfield

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Print this page By Veronica Garabelli
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Photo by Woody Carr.

A Chinese pulp and paper company plans to invest $2 billion and create 2,000 jobs in establishing its first U.S. advanced-manufacturing facility in Chesterfield County.

State and county officials describe the move as the largest Chinese investment and job creation project in Virginia’s history.

Shandong Tranlin Paper  Co.’s newly formed U.S. subsidiary, Tranlin Inc., expects to hire 2,000 workers by 2020. It will locate its organic paper and organic fertilizer manufacturing plant on an 850-acre campus at the James River Industrial Center. Plans call for the company to finish construction on the Chesterfield site by the end of 2019.

Plant jobs, which will have an average annual salary of $45,663, will include executives, engineers, shift workers, sales and human resources.

Tranlin, which started its site selection process about a year ago, also has plans to go public.

“We hope, and we are confident it will become a publicly traded company,” says Jerry Z. Peng, the company’s chairman and CEO.

Peng received his master’s in business administration from the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business; hence the project was dubbed “Project Cavalier” during the planning stages, says Will Davis, Chesterfield’s economic development director.

“This is the largest single economic development announcement we’ve had in Chesterfield,” Davis says.

The company will produce its paper products using agricultural field waste, such as wheat straw and corn stalks. It will convert residue from the manufacturing process into organic fertilizer, which also will be sold to consumers.

Shandong Tranlin, founded in 1976, is based in Liaocheng, China. Its products include toilet paper, napkins, and paper cups and plates. They are sold in China and have been exported to the U.S., Europe, Japan and South Korea.

McAuliffe approved a $5 million grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Chesterfield with the project. The company also may be eligible for a Major Employment and Investment (MEI) custom performance grant, which must be approved by the General Assembly.

Officials project the economic benefit to farmers in the region could be more than $50 million per year once the project is operating at full capacity.

Farmers will be paid to collect and supply Tranlin with the agricultural field waste, Peng says. They may also benefit from using the company’s fertilizer, which can reduce the water consumption in farming and improves the output and quality of the crop, he says.

Virginia competed against a number of states in winning the project.

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