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Sun Paper will add $500 million to the $1.3 billion it already has committed to building a bio-products plant near Arkadelphia, the company said Monday.

The increased investment will result in a total of 350 people the Chinese pulp and paper manufacturer likely will employ at the company's first facility in the United States.

The decision to expand the size of the facility came "as part of a new focus after extensive feasibility studies have just recently been completed," according to the statement, which was issued by Mullenix and Associates, a lobbying firm in Little Rock.

Sun Paper's Li Hongxin, the chairman of what is reportedly China's largest privately held company, also decided after studying world markets and other available facilities that the mill will produce linerboard, one of the types of paper that make up corrugated cardboard, the statement said.

"Chairman Li's $1.8 billion investment is a terrific vote of confidence for Arkansas," Gov. Asa Hutchinson said in the company's statement.

-- Noel Oman

Fort Smith approves grading at plant site

Silgan Plastic Food Container Corp. has approval to begin grading work on a Fort Smith site where the company intends to build a 100,000-square-foot production plant that will eventually employ 150 people.

The company, based in Union, Mo., obtained the grading permit for property at 7101 Arkansas 45, which is just south of Geren Road in a industrial area in the southeast section of the city, said Jimmie Deer, the building official for Fort Smith.

Construction plans also have been submitted, he said Tuesday. Those plans are being reviewed, Deer said.

In November, Fort Smith city directors voted to issue $38 million in industrial development revenue bonds to Silgan if the company would build and operate a 100,000-square-foot facility employing 150 people.

-- Noel Oman

State index off 6.34 in slide's second day

The Arkansas Index, a price-weighted index that tracks the largest public companies based in the state, tumbled 6.34 to 423.80 Tuesday.

"U.S. stocks fell for the second-straight day as health care stocks and rising bond yields weighed on all three major U.S. indexes," said Chris Harkins, managing director with Raymond James & Associates in Little Rock.

Total volume for the index was 21.5 million shares.

The index was developed by Bloomberg News and the Democrat-Gazette with a base value of 100 as of Dec. 30, 1997.

Business on 01/31/2018

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