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Food maker to spend $43.9M to re-equip Lebanon facility

October 8, 2014

Skjodt-Barrett Foods, a Canada-based specialty food manufacturer, plans to invest $43.9 million to install new equipment at its U.S. headquarters in Lebanon and hire up to 97 more workers by 2017.

The firm intends to introduce new equipment on its 55-acre campus in Lebanon Industrial Park, including high-speed, high-efficiency operating lines and advanced aseptic manufacturing, according to an announcement from the firm and state officials Wednesday.

Skjodt-Barrett already has started hiring workers for engineering and administrative positions, as well as machine operators, quality-control professionals and equipment mechanics.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Skjodt-Barrett up to $550,000 in tax credits and $102,000 in training grants based on the firm’s job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, meaning the firm cannot claim them until workers are hired.

“The ability to rely on support from the state of Indiana contributes to Skjodt-Barrett’s ability to invest in cutting-edge technologies and expansion opportunities,” said Mike Brannan, general manager of Skjodt-Barrett’s U.S. operations, in a prepared statement.

The Lebanon facility opened in November 2011 as the firm took over a 214,000-square-foot facility formerly occupied by M&I Windows. At the time, it committed to hiring 300 workers for the facility. The IEDC offered the company $1.6 million in performance-based tax credits and $275,000 in training grants based on its job-creation plans.

The company now employs 325 people at the Lebanon facility, which is its only location outside Canada, according to Wednesday’s announcement. The U.S. headquarters manufactures baby food and fruit purees in spouted pouches for distribution across North America.

After a tornado hit the Lebanon facility in November 2013 and caused more than $18 million in damages, Skjodt-Barrett’s plant was operational again in only 21 days. Currently, the firm's two buildings on its campus total 325,000 square feet, according to Director of Marketing Mike Bell.

Lebanon Industrial Park sits along the west side of Interstate 65, about 10 miles north of Indianapolis.

“Skjodt-Barrett Foods has become an essential part of the fabric of Lebanon. Skjodt-Barrett provides good jobs, and gives back to the community,” said Lebanon Mayor Huck Lewis in a prepared release. “The fact that the company has chosen Lebanon as the place to expand its operation, bringing new technology to North America with it, is outstanding.”

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