Pratt Secures $112M in Financing for New Louisiana Paper Mill

Pratt Industries U.S.A., one of the country’s largest paper and packaging companies, has secured $112 million through GE Commercial Finance Corporate Lending to fund the development, construction, and operation of a greenfield recycled containerboard facility in Shreveport, La. Once operational, The project will use 100 percent recycled fiber input to produce approximately 360,000 tons of containerboard per year. A Pratt spokesperson told CPN that GE’s knowledge of the corrugated packaging manufacturing industry coupled with its project finance expertise allowed the firm to get the capital it required for the Louisiana mill. The mill will open late this year and is planned to supply the company’s growing internal demand for more paper. In a recorded explanation on the GE website, Jonathan Rager, a pulp, paper and packing industry leader for GE Corporate Lending, stated that the industry faces many structural challenges due to cyclical product pricing, slow demand growth due to mature markets and the very capital-intensive nature of the manufacturing base of the forest products industry. “The opportunities in the industry are many,” Rager said. “Producers have streamlined opportunities to reduce cost, stepped up to aggressively manage product supply to market demand and pursued industry consolidation among major grade lines.” Based in Conyers, Ga., Pratt Industries is America’s seventh largest paper and packaging company with annual sales approaching $1 billion. The firm employs 3,500 people nationwide. With $17 billion in assets, GE Commercial Finance Corporate Lending is one of North America’s largest providers of asset-based, cash flow, structured finance and other financial solutions for mid-size and large companies. With more than 30 offices throughout the United States and Canada, GE Corporate Lending specializes in serving the needs of borrowers seeking $20 million to $2 billion and more for working capital, growth, acquisitions, project finance and turnarounds.