Procter & Gamble plans $150 million addition

Friday, December 13, 2002

A new $150 million paper machine will be built at Procter & Gamble's Cape Girardeau plant to boost the facility's tissue- and towel-making capacity by 80,000 tons a year. This will help meet increased demands and to facilitate the launching of several new products, the company said Thursday.

The announcement will officially be made today at the plant in front of local officials, media and others who were invited to the ground-breaking ceremony. Details about the machine were not released by the company, which said that information is "proprietary."

"It's basically a machine that will make paper that is then converted into Bounty and Charmin products," said company spokesman Larry Stahlman. "It's similar to a machine we already have, but it's new and improved."

The new machine won't be operational at the plant located at 14484 State Highway 177 until the second half of 2004. The Cape Girardeau plant was selected as a site for the new machine due to its proximity to growing markets, Stahlman said. The expansion will also involve converting and adding equipment to work compatibly with the machine.

Cincinnati-based P&G markets 300 brands, including Pampers, Tide, Bounty, Charmin and Crest. The company said it has been expanding its tissue and towel business over the past few months through the launch of several new products, including an improved Charmin Ultra and Charmin Fresh Mates pre-moistened wipes.

"By building new capacity at a continuous pace, we can keep introducing innovative products to better meet the needs of today's consumers," said Nancy Swanson, vice president and general manager of P&G's North American Family Care business.

But the extra capacity won't mean P&G has to hire more workers, said human relations manager Mike Jennewein.

"Our intention is to not hire, but to staff it from efficiency gains that we've made," Jennewein said. "We want to get more productivity out of our people and our machines."

Charmin Paper Products, a subsidiary of P&G since 1969, opened the Cape Girardeau plant with 10 acres under roof and 300 employees. But expansion about every three to four years, including a $350 expansion four years ago, has led to more than 2 million square feet under roof, and 1,700 employees. P&G is one of the largest employers in Southeast Missouri, with an annual payroll exceeding $50 million.

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